The end of winter means we are not only welcoming spring into our Canadian hearts, we're also saying a long-awaited "Eh, hello there" to the sweet nectar of the gods that is maple syrup. Lucky for us, tapping maple trees means plenty of pancake breakfasts and taffy tastings at events across Ontario.
Get your toques and taste buds ready -- here are six Ontario maple syrup festivals you won't want to miss this spring:
1. Elmira Maple Syrup Festival (April 2)
2016 marks the 52nd anniversary of the annual Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, which is recognized by Guinness World Records as the "world's largest single-day maple syrup festival." Attractions like craft booths, local music, pony rides and even a chance to meet the festival mascot, Flapjack, makes this event a must-visit. With all the proceeds from the festival's attractions and activities going to support community organizations, it's a win-win for everyone!
2. Maple in the County (March 19-20)
Pancakes, taffy, s'mores and a lumberjack show are all offered this month in Prince Edward County for the first harvest of 2016. Aside from the festival staples -- barbecues, sugarbush visits and petting zoo activities -- you can stop by various wineries in the area for some maple-inspired pairings and treats. In all, 19 local businesses and sites will be participating in the festival, including restaurants, farms, historic sites, breweries, inns, and a equine-assisted therapy and learning centre which will be hosting pony rides.
3. Muskoka Maple Festival (April 23)
This spring, head down to downtown Huntsville to partake in Muskoka's premier family-friendly event celebrating all things maple. The day promises activities to please all your senses including arts and crafts, live music, a live wood carving demonstration, and a schmorgesborg of maple-tinged cuisine and treats for sale. For out-of-towners, overnight packages are available to extend and enhance the Muskoka maple experience.
4. Sweetwater Harvest Festival (March 19-20)
Celebrate the history of maple syrup and the role it plays in our heritage and culture at this annual Wye Marsh festival. There will be woodcarving demonstrations, chickadee feedings, wilderness survival demonstrations, live music and, of course, maple-flavoured treats from local vendors as far as the eye can see.
5. Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival (April 2-3)
This festival will mark its 21st year of celebrating the ooey, gooey sweet stuff at participating local farms across Sunderland. No maple syrup festival worth its salt is complete without a buffet of pancakes, and this one is no exception. Visitors can expect to be delighted by hot dogs on the barbecue, live music, bathtub races and a show given by a master illusionist.
6. Purple Woods Maple Syrup Festival (March 12-20 and 26-27, April 2-3)
Oshawa's sweetest annual festival lasts just long enough for both locals and visitors to revel in all things maple syrup and will celebrate its 40th anniversary this spring. Horse-drawn wagon rides, maple syrup production demonstrations, and stilt walking for kids are just a few of the activities offered at this year's festival.
SEE ALSO: Find a maple syrup festival near you