There’s much to celebrate when the mercury begins its gradual ascent. The snow banks slowly recede, the smell of spring wafts through the air, and friendly faces emerge from behind woolly scarves. But most of all, maple syrup lovers rejoice at the thought of the sap starting to flow, ready for another batch of that sweet liquid gold.
And what better way to enjoy maple syrup than at a sugar shack’s pancake house, poured with a heavy hand over a steaming hot stack of pancakes? Read on to find out where you can get a delicious meal you can smother with real maple syrup.
About 2.5 hours northeast of Toronto near Minden, you’ll find an iconic red-roofed barn with steam billowing out the top, beckoning you to stop in and celebrate the start of spring with a hearty breakfast. Indulge in the classics like pancakes, French toast, sausages, and baked beans, plus an array of sweets like homemade pie or angel food cake. Wintergreen is open weekends throughout March and April, the prime syrup-making months.
If you’re coming from Ottawa, one of the closest options is Fulton’s, a family farm where the trees have been tapped since the mid-1800s. The pancake barn, in operation since 1969, welcomes visitors looking to fill their bellies with the trusted classics, plus gluten-free options allowing Celiacs to join in the fun. Follow it up with a hike, sledding, or a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the sugar bush. Fulton’s is open daily from February 15 to April 19.
Venture down Highway 7 just beyond Carleton Place to find Temple’s Sugar Bush, a less than one-hour drive from Ottawa. Inside their beautifully crafted timber frame barn is a restaurant, which serves an all-you-can-eat Sugarmaker’s Buffet on weekends and holidays throughout March and April. This is a menu you won’t want to miss, with items like maple-glazed smoked ham, roasted potatoes, frittata, and sweet favourites like pancakes, biscuits, and granola. And don’t worry, you can still order your favourites a-la-carte on weekdays! Temple’s is open Wednesdays through Sundays in March and April.
Pancake cravings aren’t always restricted to maple season, and that’s where Wheelers comes in. This maple destination is open 364 days a year – closing its doors only on December 25 – so you can stop by any time to have a bite to eat at their pancake house. Budget some extra time to wander the grounds, meet the farm animals, and visit the maple heritage museum, the Guinness World Record holder for the largest collection of maple syrup artifacts!
If you like your pancakes with a history lesson on the side, stop in to O’Hara Mill Homestead on Saturday, March 21 for the annual 1800s Sugar Bush event. Tucked away off Highway 7 almost halfway between Toronto and Ottawa in a historic homestead from the 1800s, you can watch blacksmith demonstrations, see how maple used to be made, and make your own maple taffy. You’ll also be able to enjoy wagon rides, entertainment, and of course, pancakes and syrup.