You can follow the evolution of the work being done at the new Vanier Sugar Shack by looking up the behind the scenes online photo album.
Less than 5 km away from Downtown Ottawa, the Vanier Sugar Shack is one of the few active urban sugar shacks. It is in a sugar bush located on a 17.5 acre land, in the middle of the nation’s capital, that the Museopark proudly preserves the tradition of maple sugar production.
Since 1998 the success of the sugar shack relies heavily on the help of generous volunteers who help us with multiple tasks, such as tree tapping, collection of maple water, and service of meals at the sugar shack restaurant.
Did you know that 40 L of maple water are needed to make 1 L of syrup?
Each year, our team of volunteer sugar farmers, lead by Marc Madore, transforms the sap from our maple trees into our precious amber treasure. We make between 600 and 1,000 taps the old-fashioned way to produce between 400 and 600 litres of maple syrup.
Besides its own production, the Vanier Sugar Shack also has the pleasure of transforming the maple sap from the Governor General’s gardens.
The tradition of producing maple syrup in Vanier did not appear out of nowhere. In fact, it was the missionary White Fathers of Africa who began the production of maple syrup on the grounds of their scholasticate located in Richelieu Park. The very first sugar shack was built 1939, and older Vanierois still remember helping the White Father to collect maple water in exchange for syrup. To modernize their settings the White Fathers built a second shack around 1960, in the same spot where the original once stood.
After the departure of the White Fathers in 1976, the exploitation of the sugar bush stopped until mid-1990. The group Action Vanier takes charge of the sugar shack’s management and the organisation of the Sugar Festival, created a few years earlier by the City of Vanier. Today’s sugar shack was opened in 1999, the year following a great ice storm. The trees decimated by the storm were recycled and used in the construction of the shack’s ceiling as well as the tables and benches.
Since winter 2012, the Vanier Museopark is the owner of the sugar shack and responsible for its management. We continue to preserve a community spirit, uniting us especially around the sugar season.
Located at 300 des Pères-Blancs Avenue, the Sugar Shack is an hidden-gem in the heart of an urban maple forest, beside the municipal library and to the left of the estate’s entryway.