MAPLE FOREST

Parks Canada Designation of Maple Syrup as a Historical Event

Known and valued by Aboriginal peoples long before the arrival of European settlers, products from sugar maple trees have a rich history in Canada. Their production and trade have played an important role in the economy of the Maple Belt, notably by providing supplementary income that helped ensure the survival of many family farms. After breaking into the international market in 1929, Canada became the world's leading maple products producer and exporter. With the tradition of sugaring-off in the spring, maple syrup symbolizes the end of winter and is associated with Canada's national identity and way of life at home and abroad.

Since purchasing the property in 1999 Don and Mary Helen Deakin have embarked on the mission of restoring their over 100 year-old maple forest to its state of former glory. The tapping of maple trees for syrup production resumed in 2007 after a forty-year hiatus. To date the flow of sap has been modest compared to that produced by 1900 taps in 1906. Though many of the over 100 year-old trees no longer produce great quantities of sap, they have reseeded the 76 acre forest and the moderately aged trees are beginning to yield sap of excellent quality.

Restoration activities have included the establishment of a maple tree plantation and the transplanting of saplings to more suitable locations in the forest. In 2000 Don completed a new sugar house, built on the same site as a replica of the original 1910 shack.