Ever been to a Sugar Shack? This is one activity that’s on our family’s “to do” list each year. It’s part of an eastern Canada tradition – signaling the end of winter and the promise of sunny days to come! The ‘sugaring’ runs from around mid February to late April depending on the weather but, like the fall colours, there’s really no way of knowing the exact dates.
Once it’s in full swing, sugar bushes throughout Quebec and Ontario are filled with families experiencing a traditional pancake breakfast, savouring maple taffy made in the snow and enjoying sleigh rides through the maple forest. Buckets hung from the trees show you how the maple syrup was traditionally collected – a throw-back to more simple times. Nowadays, technology does the job with pipes running into a central collection area from the trees but the kids still like to peek into the buckets, hoping to see the sap running. There are a number of sugar shacks close to Ottawa open to the public during the sugaring.
Maple taffy, a sweet delight.
In May we like to head to Ottawa for the Canadian Tulip Festival. Here we truly wake up to spring surrounded by more than one million tulips in bloom across the city, lining the pathways of the Rideau Canal, all around Parliament Hill, and in Commissioners Park - there’s no escape from them. It’s truly a welcome sea of colour after long months of snow on the ground. The kids always enjoy the Tulip treasure hunt and we just like to soak in the sights, sounds and smells of the freshly awakened landscape. If you want the freedom to drink in all this beautiful scenery, consider an RV rental
that will allow you to explore the citywide festival at your own pace.
Annual Tulip Festival, Ottawa.
After traipsing through the tulips and reveling in the carnival atmosphere of the city in springtime, it’s time for a nature hit. Our favourite “back to nature, close to the city” destination is just across the river in Gatineau Park with a hike to Pink Lake. Despite its name, the lake is actually a brilliant emerald green, but was named Pink Lake after the family who settled the land back in the early 1800s.The lake is “meromictic” - this means that its upper and lower water levels never mix and there is no oxygen at the deepest seven metres of the lake. The trail is a 2.5km round trip making it ideal for families with young children.
Gatineau Park, Ontario.
Back on the Ontario side of the river, a stroll through Byward Market offers kid-friendly venues, shopping , entertainment and eats for every taste and temptation. When your tummy starts to rumble, Byward Market is the place to be. Enjoy some of the oldest traditions of Central Canada and create long-lasting memories with friends and family when you take a spring vacation in an RV, motorhome or trailer
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