Bronte Creek Maple Syrup Festival

This was not the ol’ fashioned, trek in the woods, maple-ly experience that I envisioned when I think of ‘maple syrup festival’.

We arrived at the Bronte Creek Maple Syrup Festival at 2pm on a Saturday during March Break.  It cost $17 to get in and we were told the festival closes at 3pm.  Really, 3pm? On a Saturday? During March Break?  Yes I know I should have planned our arrival time better and the times are clearly displayed on their website….

With the clock ticking, we raced to park in section D which is where the “pancake house” was located.

**EDIT:  Please take a look at the comment from Sheila @ Ontario Parks below this post.  She offers some good tips to get the most out of this experience!

Maple Syrup Festival – Fantasy vs. Reality

When I think of ‘maple syrup festival’ I imagine:

Maple Syrup Festival image from Google
Maple Syrup Festival image from Google
Maple Syrup Festival image from Google
Maple Syrup Festival image from Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reality….

You park in a bland gravel lot and then walk across a bland field to get to the snack shop which is doubling as the pancake house.

Walking from the parking lot to get the pancakes.
Walking from the parking lot to get the pancakes.

As you come around the corner you see the line up.  It’s a long line up, snaking all the way through the building and outside the door.

While you wait in the cold concrete surroundings, you can enjoy the view of the park’s garbage wagon to your left, or the recycling bins to the right.

The view, while we wait in line for pancakes.
The view, while we wait in line for pancakes.
More of the view as we wait for our pancakes.
More of the view as we wait for our pancakes.

After 30 minutes, out of our ONE precious hour before closing, we reach one of only TWO cashiers.  We paid around $20 for our pancakes, sausages, juice boxes and a hot chocolate.

More lineup as we made it inside the building.
More lineup as we made it inside the building.

 

Pancake prices.
Pancake prices.

After ordering you have to endure another line up to get your food. The servers plunked our pancakes and sausages on the plate with about as much enthusiasm that my husband had when arriving for root canal day.

There are two outdoor eating areas with picnic tables (one area was covered) and when we finally sit down to eat we realize we picked up 4 knives and 1 fork.  I went back to get some extra napkins and forks only to find that the doors shut and lock behind you.  If you want back into the building then you have to go to the main door and squeeze and snake your way past the long line of people…

Eating area with picnic tables.
Eating area with picnic tables.

So how did they taste?

Pancakes were good, sausages were good, syrup was good.  Everything was good.  But so are the pancakes I make every weekend for about 50 cents worth of ingredients 🙂

Kids eating pancakes.
The kids seemed to enjoy the pancakes.

Activities For Kids

After the long wait to eat we had to rush to see the rest of the festival.  We had to go back across the bland field and get in our car to drive to another parking area.

There were booths selling different items, pony rides (for a fee), maple taffy (or whatever it’s called – for a few and the line up was too long so we didn’t get to try).  If you wanted to eat or drink anything, it’s an extra cost.  This was a big disappointment.

There is a barn with some old fashioned games, my kids enjoyed (free).

Kids playing wooden games.
Old fashioned games, my kids enjoyed them.

Cows and hay bales to see (free).

Hay bales for jumping.
Hay bales for jumping.

 

Checking out the cows.
Checking out the cows.

 

More cows.
More cows.

There were a couple of gift shops but we didn’t go in them.

Image of gift shop entrance.
Gift shop, due to festival closing, we didn’t have tome to go inside.

My kids enjoyed opening the lids of the maple sap buckets.

Kids looking inside maple syrup buckets.
Taking a peek inside the buckets.

The Bottom Line

My kids enjoyed themselves, so I guess that’s all that matters right 😉  But they would have probably enjoyed themselves on any regular day at Bronte Creek Provincial Park as well.  I didn’t find this experience to be all that much different from any other day at that park.  We showed up right before closing so maybe we missed a number of demonstrations and other events?

My husband and I wanted more of an actual maple syrup festival feel (see images above 🙂 ) and we don’t feel we got that here.

What maple syrup festivals have you been to in the Hamilton/Oakville/Burlington/Milton area?  How do they compare?

  • The park areas we visited were stroller friendly
  • Washrooms in a few places throughout
  • Your park entrance fee doesn’t include any of the food or drinks
  • Pancakes and sausages were good, but nothing spectacular
  • Free parking with admission
  • The other park areas, not a part of the festival are still open (play barn, slides)

 

2 thoughts on “Bronte Creek Maple Syrup Festival

  • April 6, 2018 at 2:03 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you for your review of your experience at the Bronte Creek festival. It is really too bad that you did not plan your trip better so that you could experience the full festival! Then you would have had a more “maple festival feeling”.

    I always recommend them at people start at parking lot F and begin with a guided tour of Maple Lane where Tour guides dressed in Victorian attire guide you through about 8 interpretive stops. They interact with the group and educate them as to the whys and how’s of maple sap and syrup production. This is where you see how a tree is tapped and how the First Nations made syrup! It really is fascinating.

    At the end of the tour you are left to discover the other 10 attractions at your own pace: farm animals, family activity centre, candy making demonstration, gift shop, Maple Taffy demonstration and sales, farmhouse tours, hay bales, cross cut saw activity, marshmallow roasting—-followed by the wagon ride to the pancake house (and back). Yes, the pancake house does not “fit” the Victorian theme that we try to adhere to… the pancake serving area has needed to expand faster than the funds have allowed us to build an appropriate building. The festival attracts @40 000 visitors each year.

    All in all the full festival experience takes 3 hours. Something we are clear about in many advertiments and web listings. Again it saddens me to think that you missed a great experience due to poor planning. And now many people will read this and think twice about attending our festival.

    Entry into the park is per vehicle. Then anything you purchase or consume is extra. We say budget $60 for a family of 4 for the day adventure.

    There are many things to do without paying anything more than the $17 if you have the willpower.

    13km of trails, playbarn etc.

    I do hope that you will give us another try. Appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback on this blog/ review.

    Reply
    • July 7, 2018 at 12:35 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks for taking the time to provide a comment! I appreciate your suggestions and I’ve made a note above for readers to take a look at this comment so that they can get the most out of this experience. Have a great day!

      Reply

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