35th Anniversary – Lanark County Genealogical Society

lanark-county-genealogical-society35-years

Maple leaves displaying a kaleidoscope of colour, and crisp fall air set the scene for the 35th Anniversary celebration of the Lanark County Genealogical Society.  As we drove along Highway # 7, the bright signs along the way reminded us that we’re entering the ‘Maple Syrup Capital’ of Canada, although the spectacular scenery leaves no doubt in our minds.

 

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The much-anticipated event was held in the Beckwith Township Hall, near Carleton Place, –  the perfect setting to mark this milestone for the genealogy society.

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A beautifully decorated cake served as the centerpiece for the buffet table, generously laden with all sorts of delicious choices for the celebratory luncheon.

After lunch, LCGS President Jayne Munro-Ouimet opened the program, welcoming one and all to the celebration.

Honoured to be the invited guest speaker, my presentation focused on ‘Genograms’, and how they can be used in addition to vital statistics, to illustrate patterns and traits in a family tree.

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LCGS member Mary Kerfoot spoke briefly on the Kerfoot family, and their proud history in Lanark County.

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The Historical Artifact Committee of the LCGS presented a Kerfoot Family Bible, featuring entries going back to the earliest times in the township.  The members of the committee recounted the story of how the family bible was rescued from a Salvation Army thrift shop in Victoria, British Columbia, and transported safely back to Lanark County.

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L to R:  Jennifer Irwin, Rosemary Campbell, Beckwith Township Councillor Tim Campbell,  LCGS President Jayne Munro-Ouimet, Mary Kerfoot, and Brian Dowdall.

(Mary Kerfoot is a direct descendant of pioneer George Kerfoot)

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Several presentations were made to distinguished members for their years of service and their dedication to the Lanark County Genealogical Society.  Below, Frances Rathwell and George Stewart receive their well-deserved recognition from the Society from Jayne Munro-Ouimet, LCGS President.

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At the conclusion of the formal presentations, a book-signing and ‘meet and greet’ was held at the book table.

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A special highlight of the day was a gift from the LCGS of the heavenly liquid gold produced in the Lanark County maple trees each spring.  This particular bottle was produced at  Wheelers Maple Syrup near McDonald’s Corners.

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It was a day to remember in Beckwith Township!  A proud and important milestone for the Lanark County Genealogical Society, marking 35 years of continual service in helping people far and wide connect with their family roots.

“On March 27, 1981, twenty-four genealogy enthusiasts met near Smiths Falls Ont., to discuss the formation of a local genealogy society. This group grew in scope and number to become the Lanark County Genealogical Society in 1982. In 35 years the organization has grown to include members from all over the world . The mandate of the Lanark County Genealogical Society is to assist members in researching family histories, and in the gathering, recording and preserving of genealogical information pertaining to Lanark County.”

Congratulations on 35 great years!

……..

To find out more about the Lanark County Genealogical Society LCGS

To discover the family history collections, land records, wills, and research aids held at the Lanark County Archives Archives Lanark

For information on Wheeler’s Maple Syrup Wheelers

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Festival of the Maples

Festival of the Maples Poster for article

With over 160 vendors, live entertainment, and the finest tasting maple syrup produced in the world, the Festival of the Maples in Perth is the place to be on Saturday, April 30th, 2016!

You may not know that Lanark County is the maple syrup capital of Ontario, and you may not know some of the history leading up to the very first festival that was held back in the 1970s.

The story that follows is dedicated to the Lanark County families who played such a significant role, back in the early days, leading up to this annual festival in Perth: Andrew and George Korry, Bowes family of Glen Tay, Ernie and Evelyn Miller family of Glen Tay, Robert McEwen of Prestonvale, Ken VanAlstine of Maberly, Leonard and Tom Adam of McDonald’s Corners, Brien and Marion Paul west of Hopetown, Lanark, James ‘Carman’ and Edna Gibson of Dalhousie Township, Don and Marion Dodds of Clayton, George Coutts of Rideau Ferry, Wheeler family of McDonald’s Corners, and Fulton family of Pakenham to name a few.

Taffy on the Tay

Years ago, many of the local farmers produced maple syrup. Some just made enough for their families and for some it was a supplement to their farm income at a time of year that was less busy than during the summer months. There were also a few dealers in the area that sold sugar bush supplies – Max Miller of Snow Road, Percy Drysdale of McDonald’s Corners, and W.J. Ballantyne in Lanark. James Brothers Hardware and the Co-Op also sold supplies for maple production. Labels for the bottles were often printed by ‘The Perth Courier’.

The Korry family across the road from us had a medium sized sugar bush and they produced not just enough for the family, but enough to sell locally. Andrew’s son-in-law John Chaplin sold it through his dairy to the local customers on the milk routes. Andrew Korry and his son George spent a few very busy weeks making syrup each spring and my brother Tim worked with them in the bush one year. They used a team of horses with a tank mounted on the sleigh to draw the sap back to the evaporator at the sugar shack; typical of many other producers at that time.

The Bowes and the Miller families near Glen Tay also produced their own syrup. I remember that Art Bowes used to tap quite a number of trees in the mid-sixties. Their farm was known as Tayview farm and it straddled the Tay River and was very picturesque. At that time they had about 300 acres which included hay fields, pastures and of course maple bushes. His son Doug was on our school bus and he used to talk about helping his Dad back in the bush each spring.

The Miller family’s farm, known as Tayside was owned by Ernest ‘Ernie’ Miller and his wife Evelyn (Mather). The Miller family arrived from Scotland in 1809 and their farm was purchased by Ernie’s great grandfather Dodds in 1858. Their kids were Diane, Nancy, John and Ruth. Evelyn was a lovely, soft-spoken lady and she was my first 4H club leader. I also remember that Ernie was tapping about 1,500 trees back in the sixties and had about 30 acres of maple woods. Ernie was a forward thinker and one of his ideas at that time was that sap should be gathered by trucks from each farm and taken to a large central evaporator – similar to the way that milk was trucked to cheese factories. It seemed through the years that Ernie was into everything. When he wasn’t farming he wrote history books, he researched genealogy, he worked with young people and it was no surprise to me when he was inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2003.

The McEwen clan in Ferguson Falls was another family who made their mark in the maple syrup business back in the 60s. In 1966 Robert McEwen of Prestonvale opened up the first pancake house in the area. Originally, Robert made his syrup the old fashioned way out in the bush and boiled a cauldron of sap over the fire. Later, in the 1970s I remember that he was one of the first to use plastic pipelines to bring the sap from the trees to one main location. Dad knew the McEwen family well, having grown up in that area and said that Robert often spoke of the difficulties involved in syrup production. There were always problems like getting reliable labour and often the lack of capital to purchase new equipment. Robert was very active in the local industry and at one time was the President of the Lanark and District Maple Syrup Association.

Ken VanAlstine in Maberly had over 2,000 trees tapped when I was a kid and he was among the first to use pipelines. He experimented at first and tapped just 200 trees using the pipeline system but the rest was collected in buckets the traditional way and transported to the evaporator by horse and sleigh.

Ken, like other producers in the area found the cost of hiring labour prohibitive and that distributers wanted too much money per gallon. Ken was well known in the area for his excellent quality maple syrup and said on his best day at that time he gathered 3,300 gallons of sap.

Another local family of producers was the Adam family of McDonald’s Corners. Leonard Adam and his brother Tom tapped an average of 2,250 trees and had about 500 acres of land between them. They were hard workers and spent many days sawing, chopping and stacking the 20 cords of wood required for their evaporator and were one of the first to use a brand new style of evaporator which was 4 by 14 feet. They produced enough to sell locally and the remainder was shipped out West.

Brien and Marion (McLaren) Paul of R.R #3 Lanark had a 575 acre farm about three miles west of Hopetown and began maple production in 1953. Marion was raised on a farm near the village of Lanark, was known locally as the ‘First Lady of Maple’ and became a maple judge at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Their kids Kathy, Wayne and Darrell were also very involved and provided additional labour for the family business. In 1972 Kathy was even crowned Maple Queen in the local competition.

Back in the 1960s they used two sleighs, one pulled by a tractor and the other by a team of horses. Brien’s father Raymond Paul often tended the evaporator, keeping a watchful eye as the steam boiled off into the air. Russell Foster and Raymond Watt often assisted the Paul family with the production. They tapped an average of 4,000 trees at that time and produced about 700 gallons of syrup and used approximately 30 cords of wood during the season.

The Paul’s were pioneers in the maple industry and were very modern in their approach. They were one of the first to install plastic tubing and an oil fired evaporator. The plastic pipes were attached to the tree spiles and the sap flowed through the pipes and emptied into a storage reservoir located behind the evaporator. Brien and Marion were inducted into the International Maple Hall of Fame and were members of the Ontario Maple Producers and the Lanark and District Maple Producers Association.

Gibson was a name known for their excellent syrup. James ‘Carman’ Gibson and his wife Edna (Rodger) had a maple business in Dalhousie Twp at R.R. # 4, Lanark. The nearby areas of Hoods and Poland were also known for their fine quality maple syrup. The Gibson family began tapping trees in 1821 with the arrival of James Gibson from Lanark, Scotland. He was the first pioneer settler in the area and named their new home Lammermoor after the Lammermoor Hills in Scotland. Their five children Verna, Beatrice, Norma, Carol and Earl all helped out with the operation. They also raised beef, dairy on their busy farm and hauled milk to the Middleville cheese factory.

When locals think of a long running maple operation, the name Dodds comes to mind. They had a substantial sugar bush at R.R. 2 Clayton in the Lanark Highlands. The Dodds family has owned Springdale Farm for generations and Don and Marion Dodds and their sons Bryan and Stephen helped with production through the years. The family has won many awards for being long term maple producers and as recently as last year Stephen Dodds won Grand Champion Trophy at Perth Festival of the Maples for 2011. Their long, long, list of awards include trophies for World Champion Maple Syrup, Sugar Maker of the Year, and a meeting with HRH Prince Charles at the Royal Winter Fair.

One of the maple syrup families that I remember fondly was the Coutts family on the Rideau Ferry Road. I’ll never forget how George Coutts used to invite the local kids to visit his sugar shack and he would take the time to patiently explain how the maple syrup was made. Miss Norma Devlin from the North Elmsley School was invited each year to bring her grade one class to visit the Coutts farm. George along with his son Kenneth showed the children how syrup was made and even provided the kids with some maple taffy at the end of the tour. At that time the Coutts family was tapping about 1,300 trees and produced more than enough syrup for both the family and for area sales.

The ancestors of the current Fulton family began to tap their maple trees back in the 1840s. Their large 370 acre farm is located between Almonte and Pakenham and they have tapped their huge 4,000 tree sugar bush for generations. Well known for their high quality syrup they have also operated a pancake house for many years and their sugar camp has been a popular attraction for both area families and visitors.

With these and so many other excellent producers in Lanark County, it’s not surprising that back in the 1970s there were talks of having a maple festival in the town of Perth. It was Vic Lemieux, owner of Norvic Lodge at Christie Lake, who first came up with the idea and presented it to the Perth Chamber of Commerce. Vic was successful in his campaign to launch the first festival, with the hopes that it would bring people out to celebrate the spring season after a long, cold, winter.

On April 19, 1975 the very first Festival of the Maples was held in Perth and it was quite an event!

When we arrived at the Festival that Saturday, they had closed part of Gore Street and Foster Street and the local maple vendors had set up their displays. At 10 a.m. the Festival was officially opened by the Ontario Minister of Industry Claude Bennett. The Legion ladies and the ladies from St. Andrew’s church had home baking for sale, and there were also side-walk sales on Gore Street and many arts and craft exhibits.

There were a tremendous number of district producers and many of them offered syrup for sale in various sized containers. Pancakes were available for purchase and free samples of Balderson cheese were given away and I recall we went back a couple of times to that booth! One of the oddest things was to see a wood burning evaporator set up on one of the main streets of Perth. I’ve seen a few of those out in the bush, but I never thought I’d see one in town!

Fiddling and step-dancing competitions were held that year and I remember Dawson Girdwood saying that some of the best fiddlers from Eastern Ontario were competing in the open and junior fiddling classes. Jimmy Heney, one of our neighbours won the fiddling prize hands down, as he often did and Karen Grey of Perth was the top step-dancer that night.

The folks in Perth were always up for a good beauty competition and so part of the evening program at the arena that night was the crowning of ‘The Sweetest Girl in Lanark County’. Miss Perth 1975 Michelle Hughes crowned the winner, Maple Queen Susan Thompson of Perth.

Over the years we always attended the Festival and each spring it seemed to grow by leaps and bounds. Every year it seemed that there were more vendors selling their maple goods, more artisans displaying their crafts and an increasing number of booths and displays. We also noticed a steady growth of tourists who had come from Ottawa, Kingston and even as far away as the States to visit.

People in Lanark County, understandably, have always taken their maple syrup very seriously. Because of this, it was devastating to many when January of 1998 brought the most destructive ice storm in Canadian history. From January 4th to 10th Lanark County was severely affected by freezing rain and ice pellets that fell and accumulated on tree branches day after day. This ice created a thick, heavy coat, damaging both the maple trees and the pipelines in the sugar bushes. Millions of tree branches were caked with the build-up of ice and became so heavy that they split right off of the trees; severely affecting the sap flow. At the time, there were speculations that it could take forty years for production to return to normal.

Many of us, have participated in making maple syrup at one time or another and know from experience that it’s extremely labour-intensive. We also have a clear understanding of the enormous amount of sap it takes to make a very small quantity of syrup. No matter how modern the equipment or methods, it still takes forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.

Now, add in the hours of labour for the tapping, transporting from the tree to the evaporator, the boiling down, the straining, the bottling and the labeling. Next, factor in the cost of equipment such as the spiles, the pails or tubing, the evaporation tank, fuel, the straining equipment, the bottles, cans and cost of transporting to market. Fifty dollars a gallon really doesn’t sound like all that much anymore now, does it?

So, the next time you pass by the maple syrup display in the grocery store aisles, or visit a maple vendor at his farm or at a festival, please remember how it’s produced. Remember the proud, hard-working families who settled in Lanark County and passed down their knowledge through the generations. Think of the enormous quantity of sap required to make a very small container of syrup. Most of all please stop and consider the origin of your syrup and take it from this Lanark County kid – you won’t find any better, more flavourful syrup, than from the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario.

(an excerpt from “Lanark County Chronicle: Double-Back to the Third Line”,
ISBN 978-0-9877026-2-3 , available at local book stores)

http://www.staffordwilson.com

A Sure Sign of Spring

robin in snow    crocus in the snow

If there’s one consolation after a long, cold, Eastern Ontario winter, it would have to be our first taste of Lanark County maple syrup in the spring.  Long known as the ‘Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario’, Lanark County has the highest quality syrup to be found not just in Ontario, but possibly on the entire planet.

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Our frigid nights, when the temperatures drop down well below zero are the perfect complement to the gradual onset of spring weather where the mercury rises slowly but surely into the single digits during the late mornings and afternoons.  This combination of freezing at night and thawing in the daytime creates the ‘perfect storm’ for the precious, sugary sap to drip in a constant stream from our maple trees.

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It takes no less than 40 gallons of this light, watery fluid to produce just one gallon of maple syrup, after a long steady boil in a large tank or cauldron.  It’s a lot of effort, labour and raw materials combined to produce a sweet, flavourful maple syrup, but not many would argue that the challenging and costly process is well worth it.

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2016 marks the 200th anniversary of our pioneer settlers in Lanark County, and so this year’s annual Festival of the Maples in Perth will feature even  more vendors, music, and events.

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Some think of maple syrup as a ‘guilty pleasure’, but did you know that this tasty treat contains over 54 antioxidants and has many health benefits?   Recent studies done in Canada and the U.S. state that the botanical compounds found in maple syrup actually protect the brain cells from the kind of damage found in Alzheimer’s disease.  Article on health benefits of maple syrup

Whether you are a native of Lanark County or just a visitor looking for a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, a visit to the Festival of the Maples in the historic town of Perth is sure to delight everyone in the family. From the tiny tot enjoying maple taffy on the snow, to the grown-ups sampling some of the local maple beer there’s something for everyone at this annual celebration of all things maple!

Join us at The Book Nook between 1 pm and 4 pm!

Festival of the maples 2016

http://www.staffordwilson.com

For more information on Lanark County maple producers and the history of maple production:   “Taffy on the Tay”  from Lanark County Chronicle  ISBN 978-0-9877026-23, available in local book stores.

Easy, mouth-watering recipes for Maple Butter and Maple Fudge at the conclusion of this article.

Contact information listing vendors known for their premium quality maple syrup; many are award winners:

Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush
Address: 291 6th Conc Rd., Pakenham, On
Phone: 613-256-3867 Email: info@fultons.ca Website: http://www.fultons.ca

McFarlane’s Maple Syrup
Grant & Gail McFarlane
1550 Prestonvale Rd
Lanark, ON K0G 1K0
Phone – 613-259-5410
Email – grantandgail@storm.ca

Paul’s Maple Products
Brien Paul
267 Sugar Bush Way,
Lanark, ON K0G 1K0
Phone – 613-259-5276
Email – dpaul@storm.ca

Coutts Country Flavours
Address: 1230 Port Elmsley Rd. RR5 Perth, Ontario K7H 3C7
Phone: 613-267-0277 Email: couttscountryflavours@live.ca
Website: couttscountryflavours.ca/

Jameswood Maple
3231 Wolf Grove Road
Dwight James
249 Purdy Rd,
Lanark, ON K0G 1K0
Phone – 613-256-4466
Email – jameswood@storm.ca

Temple’s Sugar Camp
Address: 1700 Ferguson’s Falls Rd. (CR#15) Lanark, On
Phone: 613-253-7000 Email: TemplesInfo@xplornet.com
Website: http://www.templessugarcamp.ca

Dorian Heights Maple Products
3631 Watsons Corners Rd,
RR 1 McDonalds Corners, ON K0G 1M0
Phone – 613-278-2177
Email – dorian75@live.ca

Springdale Farm
Don & Marion Dodds
Home – 1790 Galbraith Rd, RR 2
Clayton, ON K0A 1P0
Sugar Shack – 1699 Galbraith Rd.
Clayton, ON K0A 1P0
Phone – 613-256-4045
Email – info@springdale@.ca
Web site – http://www.springdalemaple.ca

Fairbairn Farm
1827 Wolf Grove Rd,
Almonte, ON K0A 1A0
Phone – 613-256-5047
Email – dfairbairn@hughes.net
Web site – http://www.fairbairnmaple.com

Wheeler’s Pancake House & Sugar Camp
Address: 1001 Highland Line Lanark Highlands (McDonalds Corners), On
Phone: 613-278-2090 Email:webinfo@wheelersmaple.com Website:http://www.wheelersmaple.com

Ennis Maple Products Ltd
848 Ennis Rd,
Balderson, ON K0G 1A0
Phone – 613-267-3491
Email – ennismaple@yahoo.com
Web site – http://www.ennismaple.com

Ryan & Glenn Stead
5692 Hwy 511,
Lanark, ON K0G 1K0
Phone – 613-259-2578
Email – steadmaplesyrup@gmail.com

Sugar Maple Farms Ltd.
David & Paul Chant
3187 Thousand Acre Rd,
RR 2 Portland, ON K0G 1V0
Phone – 613-272-2616

 

Two of our favourite Maple Recipes:

Maple Butter

Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup softened butter
• 1/4 cup maple syrup

Preparation Time 5 minutes:

Mix butter and maple syrup with electric mixer until blended. Serve on toast, cracker or warm muffins. This is so tasty and could not be easier to make. Use this creamy maple butter spread on bread, pancakes, muffins, toast, and biscuits.

Yield: about 3/4 cup

Maple Cream Fudge

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cream (I use Heavy cream/whipping cream)
1/3 cup of butter
1/4 cup of maple syrup
pinch of salt
vanilla

Add the two sugars, butter and cream, maple syrup and salt into a sauce pan. Place over medium heat. Stir while bringing to a boil. Lower the heat and continue to stir slowly while the mixture cooks. After about 7 minutes, test by pouring a small amount into some cold water. You want it to form a soft ball. You might need to cook it for another minute or two. Remove from the heat, add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla and start stirring. It takes about 14 or 15 minutes for the fudge to cool and thicken. Pour into buttered dish. TIP: If you let the fudge sit for 10 minutes after removing from the heat and allow it to cool slightly this will reduce the stirring time. Option: Replace the cream and cup of white sugar with one can of Sweetened Condensed Milk and increase the maple syrup to 1 cup

Arlene Stafford-Wilson http://www.staffordwilson.com

 

Perth Festival of the Maples April 26 2014

James Brothers edit

With over 160 vendors, live entertainment, and the finest tasting maple syrup produced in the world, the Festival of the Maples in Perth is the place to be on Saturday, April 26th, 2014.

You may not know that Lanark County is the maple syrup capital of Ontario, and you may not know some of the history leading up to the very first festival that was held back in the 1970s.

The story that follows is dedicated to the Lanark County families who played such a significant role, back in the early days, leading up to this annual festival in Perth: Andrew and George Korry, Bowes family of Glen Tay, Ernie and Evelyn Miller family of Glen Tay, Robert McEwen of Prestonvale, Ken VanAlstine of Maberly, Leonard and Tom Adam of McDonald’s Corners, Brien and Marion Paul west of Hopetown, Lanark, James ‘Carman’ and Edna Gibson of Dalhousie Township, Don and Marion Dodds of Clayton, George Coutts of Rideau Ferry, Wheeler family of McDonald’s Corners, and Fulton family of Pakenham to name a few.

Taffy on the Tay

Years ago, many of the local farmers produced maple syrup. Some just made enough for their families and for some it was a supplement to their farm income at a time of year that was less busy than during the summer months. There were also a few dealers in the area that sold sugar bush supplies – Max Miller of Snow Road, Percy Drysdale of McDonald’s Corners, and W.J. Ballantyne in Lanark. James Brothers Hardware and the Co-Op also sold supplies for maple production. Labels for the bottles were often printed by ‘The Perth Courier’.

The Korry family across the road from us had a medium sized sugar bush and they produced not just enough for the family, but enough to sell locally. Andrew’s son-in-law John Chaplin sold it through his dairy to the local customers on the milk routes. Andrew Korry and his son George spent a few very busy weeks making syrup each spring and my brother Tim worked with them in the bush one year. They used a team of horses with a tank mounted on the sleigh to draw the sap back to the evaporator at the sugar shack; typical of many other producers at that time.

The Bowes and the Miller families near Glen Tay also produced their own syrup. I remember that Art Bowes used to tap quite a number of trees in the mid-sixties. Their farm was known as Tayview farm and it straddled the Tay River and was very picturesque. At that time they had about 300 acres which included hay fields, pastures and of course maple bushes. His son Doug was on our school bus and he used to talk about helping his Dad back in the bush each spring.

The Miller family’s farm, known as Tayside was owned by Ernest ‘Ernie’ Miller and his wife Evelyn (Mather). The Miller family arrived from Scotland in 1809 and their farm was purchased by Ernie’s great grandfather Dodds in 1858. Their kids were Diane, Nancy, John and Ruth. Evelyn was a lovely, soft-spoken lady and she was my first 4H club leader. I also remember that Ernie was tapping about 1,500 trees back in the sixties and had about 30 acres of maple woods. Ernie was a forward thinker and one of his ideas at that time was that sap should be gathered by trucks from each farm and taken to a large central evaporator – similar to the way that milk was trucked to cheese factories. It seemed through the years that Ernie was into everything. When he wasn’t farming he wrote history books, he researched genealogy, he worked with young people and it was no surprise to me when he was inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2003.

The McEwen clan in Ferguson Falls was another family who made their mark in the maple syrup business back in the 60s. In 1966 Robert McEwen of Prestonvale opened up the first pancake house in the area. Originally, Robert made his syrup the old fashioned way out in the bush and boiled a cauldron of sap over the fire. Later, in the 1970s I remember that he was one of the first to use plastic pipelines to bring the sap from the trees to one main location. Dad knew the McEwen family well, having grown up in that area and said that Robert often spoke of the difficulties involved in syrup production. There were always problems like getting reliable labour and often the lack of capital to purchase new equipment. Robert was very active in the local industry and at one time was the President of the Lanark and District Maple Syrup Association.

Ken VanAlstine in Maberly had over 2,000 trees tapped when I was a kid and he was among the first to use pipelines. He experimented at first and tapped just 200 trees using the pipeline system but the rest was collected in buckets the traditional way and transported to the evaporator by horse and sleigh.

Ken, like other producers in the area found the cost of hiring labour prohibitive and that distributers wanted too much money per gallon. Ken was well known in the area for his excellent quality maple syrup and said on his best day at that time he gathered 3,300 gallons of sap.

Another local family of producers was the Adam family of McDonald’s Corners. Leonard Adam and his brother Tom tapped an average of 2,250 trees and had about 500 acres of land between them. They were hard workers and spent many days sawing, chopping and stacking the 20 cords of wood required for their evaporator and were one of the first to use a brand new style of evaporator which was 4 by 14 feet. They produced enough to sell locally and the remainder was shipped out West.

Brien and Marion (McLaren) Paul of R.R #3 Lanark had a 575 acre farm about three miles west of Hopetown and began maple production in 1953. Marion was raised on a farm near the village of Lanark, was known locally as the ‘First Lady of Maple’ and became a maple judge at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Their kids Kathy, Wayne and Darrell were also very involved and provided additional labour for the family business. In 1972 Kathy was even crowned Maple Queen in the local competition.

Back in the 1960s they used two sleighs, one pulled by a tractor and the other by a team of horses. Brien’s father Raymond Paul often tended the evaporator, keeping a watchful eye as the steam boiled off into the air. Russell Foster and Raymond Watt often assisted the Paul family with the production. They tapped an average of 4,000 trees at that time and produced about 700 gallons of syrup and used approximately 30 cords of wood during the season.

The Paul’s were pioneers in the maple industry and were very modern in their approach. They were one of the first to install plastic tubing and an oil fired evaporator. The plastic pipes were attached to the tree spiles and the sap flowed through the pipes and emptied into a storage reservoir located behind the evaporator. Brien and Marion were inducted into the International Maple Hall of Fame and were members of the Ontario Maple Producers and the Lanark and District Maple Producers Association.

Gibson was a name known for their excellent syrup. James ‘Carman’ Gibson and his wife Edna (Rodger) had a maple business in Dalhousie Twp at R.R. # 4, Lanark. The nearby areas of Hoods and Poland were also known for their fine quality maple syrup. The Gibson family began tapping trees in 1821 with the arrival of James Gibson from Lanark, Scotland. He was the first pioneer settler in the area and named their new home Lammermoor after the Lammermoor Hills in Scotland. Their five children Verna, Beatrice, Norma, Carol and Earl all helped out with the operation. They also raised beef, dairy on their busy farm and hauled milk to the Middleville cheese factory.

When locals think of a long running maple operation, the name Dodds comes to mind. They had a substantial sugar bush at R.R. 2 Clayton in the Lanark Highlands. The Dodds family has owned Springdale Farm for generations and Don and Marion Dodds and their sons Bryan and Stephen helped with production through the years. The family has won many awards for being long term maple producers and as recently as last year Stephen Dodds won Grand Champion Trophy at Perth Festival of the Maples for 2011. Their long, long, list of awards include trophies for World Champion Maple Syrup, Sugar Maker of the Year, and a meeting with HRH Prince Charles at the Royal Winter Fair.

One of the maple syrup families that I remember fondly was the Coutts family on the Rideau Ferry Road. I’ll never forget how George Coutts used to invite the local kids to visit his sugar shack and he would take the time to patiently explain how the maple syrup was made. Miss Norma Devlin from the North Elmsley School was invited each year to bring her grade one class to visit the Coutts farm. George along with his son Kenneth showed the children how syrup was made and even provided the kids with some maple taffy at the end of the tour. At that time the Coutts family was tapping about 1,300 trees and produced more than enough syrup for both the family and for area sales.

The ancestors of the current Fulton family began to tap their maple trees back in the 1840s. Their large 370 acre farm is located between Almonte and Pakenham and they have tapped their huge 4,000 tree sugar bush for generations. Well known for their high quality syrup they have also operated a pancake house for many years and their sugar camp has been a popular attraction for both area families and visitors.

With these and so many other excellent producers in Lanark County, it’s not surprising that back in the 1970s there were talks of having a maple festival in the town of Perth. It was Vic Lemieux, owner of Norvic Lodge at Christie Lake, who first came up with the idea and presented it to the Perth Chamber of Commerce. Vic was successful in his campaign to launch the first festival, with the hopes that it would bring people out to celebrate the spring season after a long, cold, winter.

On April 19, 1975 the very first Festival of the Maples was held in Perth and it was quite an event!

When we arrived at the Festival that Saturday, they had closed part of Gore Street and Foster Street and the local maple vendors had set up their displays. At 10 a.m. the Festival was officially opened by the Ontario Minister of Industry Claude Bennett. The Legion ladies and the ladies from St. Andrew’s church had home baking for sale, and there were also side-walk sales on Gore Street and many arts and craft exhibits.

There were a tremendous number of district producers and many of them offered syrup for sale in various sized containers. Pancakes were available for purchase and free samples of Balderson cheese were given away and I recall we went back a couple of times to that booth! One of the oddest things was to see a wood burning evaporator set up on one of the main streets of Perth. I’ve seen a few of those out in the bush, but I never thought I’d see one in town!

Fiddling and step-dancing competitions were held that year and I remember Dawson Girdwood saying that some of the best fiddlers from Eastern Ontario were competing in the open and junior fiddling classes. Jimmy Heney, one of our neighbours won the fiddling prize hands down, as he often did and Karen Grey of Perth was the top step-dancer that night.

The folks in Perth were always up for a good beauty competition and so part of the evening program at the arena that night was the crowning of ‘The Sweetest Girl in Lanark County’. Miss Perth 1975 Michelle Hughes crowned the winner, Maple Queen Susan Thompson of Perth.

Over the years we always attended the Festival and each spring it seemed to grow by leaps and bounds. Every year it seemed that there were more vendors selling their maple goods, more artisans displaying their crafts and an increasing number of booths and displays. We also noticed a steady growth of tourists who had come from Ottawa, Kingston and even as far away as the States to visit.

People in Lanark County, understandably, have always taken their maple syrup very seriously. Because of this, it was devastating to many when January of 1998 brought the most destructive ice storm in Canadian history. From January 4th to 10th Lanark County was severely affected by freezing rain and ice pellets that fell and accumulated on tree branches day after day. This ice created a thick, heavy coat, damaging both the maple trees and the pipelines in the sugar bushes. Millions of tree branches were caked with the build-up of ice and became so heavy that they split right off of the trees; severely affecting the sap flow. At the time, there were speculations that it could take forty years for production to return to normal.

Many of us, have participated in making maple syrup at one time or another and know from experience that it’s extremely labour-intensive. We also have a clear understanding of the enormous amount of sap it takes to make a very small quantity of syrup. No matter how modern the equipment or methods, it still takes forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.

Now, add in the hours of labour for the tapping, transporting from the tree to the evaporator, the boiling down, the straining, the bottling and the labeling. Next, factor in the cost of equipment such as the spiles, the pails or tubing, the evaporation tank, fuel, the straining equipment, the bottles, cans and cost of transporting to market. Fifty dollars a gallon really doesn’t sound like all that much anymore now, does it?

So, the next time you pass by the maple syrup display in the grocery store aisles, or visit a maple vendor at his farm or at a festival, please remember how it’s produced. Remember the proud, hard-working families who settled in Lanark County and passed down their knowledge through the generations. Think of the enormous quantity of sap required to make a very small container of syrup. Most of all please stop and consider the origin of your syrup and take it from this Lanark County kid – you won’t find any better, more flavourful syrup, than from the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario.

(an excerpt from “Lanark County Chronicle: Double-Back to the Third Line”,
ISBN 978-0-9877026-2-3 , available at local book stores)

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Maple Syrup: 10 Things You May Not Know

Jane Southren maple photo

1. It is not a coincidence that Canada has a maple leaf on the nation’s flag. Canadians produce 85% of the world’s maple syrup.

free clip art maple leaves

 

2. The highest quality maple syrup is found in Lanark County, also known as the “Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario”. Lanark County is located in Eastern Ontario, Canada between the cities of Kingston and Ottawa. The historic town of Perth is the county seat, and hosts an annual maple festival each year featuring award-winning maple vendors.

maple syrup capital of ontario

3. Maple syrup is naturally ‘Organic’, because it is produced from natural trees in a wild environment.

sap dripping

4. Maple syrup has tremendous health benefits. This natural sweetener contains over 54 antioxidants that may help delay or prevent diseases caused by free radicals such as cancer or diabetes. Pure maple syrup has the same beneficial antioxidants found in berries, tomatoes, green tea, red wine and flax seeds.

antioxidants

 

5. A tablespoon of maple syrup has only 40 calories, versus honey with 64 or corn syrup with 60. Maple syrup contains more calcium than milk and more potassium than bananas.

sugar vs syrup'

 

6. Long before the Europeans arrived in North America, natives were collecting sap from maple trees, heating it in hollow logs until it was syrupy, and called it ‘sweet water’.

maple kettle

 

7. The sap which runs from the ‘tapped’ maple tree is 97 percent water, and forty gallons are evaporated to make one gallon of syrup.

40 gallons of sap

 

8. A maple tree is normally 30 years old and 10 inches in diameter before it is tapped. As the tree increases in diameter a maximum of four taps can be put into the tree. The tree is not damaged from the tapping process.

tree tap size

 

9. Maple syrup is graded according to colour and flavour. Lighter syrup is produced earlier in the season when it is colder. As the weather warms up the syrup becomes darker, with a more robust flavour.

maple syrup grades

 

10. Warm spring days with temperatures above freezing, and cold nights below freezing is ideal weather for maple syrup production. The season varies, but normally lasts four to eight weeks depending on the weather.

thermometer

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Discover some of the finest maple syrup in the world at the yearly maple festival held in Perth, Ontario – in the heart of Lanark County.

festival of the maples logo

For information on the Annual Festival of the Maples in Perth:
Perth Festival of the Maples

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For details on the nutritional benefits of pure maple syrup: Powerful Antioxidants in Maple Syrup

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Easy, mouth-watering recipes for Maple Butter and Maple Fudge at the conclusion of this article.

Contact information listing vendors known for their premium quality maple syrup; many are award winners:

Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush
Address: 291 6th Conc Rd., Pakenham, On
Phone: 613-256-3867 Email: info@fultons.ca Website: http://www.fultons.ca

McFarlane’s Maple Syrup
Grant & Gail McFarlane
1550 Prestonvale Rd
Lanark, ON K0G 1K0
Phone – 613-259-5410
Email – grantandgail@storm.ca

Paul’s Maple Products
Brien Paul
267 Sugar Bush Way,
Lanark, ON K0G 1K0
Phone – 613-259-5276
Email – dpaul@storm.ca

Coutts Country Flavours
Address: 1230 Port Elmsley Rd. RR5 Perth, Ontario K7H 3C7
Phone: 613-267-0277 Email: couttscountryflavours@live.ca
Website: couttscountryflavours.ca/

Jameswood Maple
3231 Wolf Grove Road
Dwight James
249 Purdy Rd,
Lanark, ON K0G 1K0
Phone – 613-256-4466
Email – jameswood@storm.ca

Temple’s Sugar Camp
Address: 1700 Ferguson’s Falls Rd. (CR#15) Lanark, On
Phone: 613-253-7000 Email: TemplesInfo@xplornet.com
Website:  http://www.templessugarbush.ca/

Dorian Heights Maple Products
3631 Watsons Corners Rd,
RR 1 McDonalds Corners, ON K0G 1M0
Phone – 613-278-2177
Email – dorian75@live.ca

Springdale Farm
Don & Marion Dodds
Home – 1790 Galbraith Rd, RR 2
Clayton, ON K0A 1P0
Sugar Shack – 1699 Galbraith Rd.
Clayton, ON K0A 1P0
Phone – 613-256-4045
Email – info@springdale@.ca
Web site – http://www.springdalemaple.ca

Fairbairn Farm
1827 Wolf Grove Rd,
Almonte, ON K0A 1A0
Phone – 613-256-5047
Email – dfairbairn@hughes.net
Web site – http://www.fairbairnmaple.com

Wheeler’s Pancake House & Sugar Camp
Address: 1001 Highland Line Lanark Highlands (McDonalds Corners), On
Phone: 613-278-2090 Email:webinfo@wheelersmaple.com Website: http://www.wheelersmaple.com

(Wheelers Pancake House and Maple Sugar Camp, has also gained worldwide recognition for achieving the Guinness World Record for “largest collection of maple syrup production artefacts.” In 2000, the collection opened to the public at Wheelers Maple Heritage Museum, and on Jan. 17 the collection of 5,228 items earned the Guinness World Record. The artefacts include 1,325 maple sap spouts, 507 maple sugar molds, 694 maple syrup serving jugs, 100 Native sugaring artefacts, 37 syrup dippers and 263 sap buckets.”

Ennis Maple Products Ltd
848 Ennis Rd,
Balderson, ON K0G 1A0
Phone – 613-267-3491
Email – ennismaple@yahoo.com
Web site – http://www.ennismaple.com

Ryan & Glenn Stead
5692 Hwy 511,
Lanark, ON K0G 1K0
Phone – 613-259-2578
Email – steadmaplesyrup@gmail.com

Sugar Maple Farms Ltd.

David & Paul Chant
3187 Thousand Acre Rd,
RR 2 Portland, ON K0G 1V0
Phone – 613-272-2616

2013 Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association Winner,
President’s Awards to Bryan Exley, Don Dodds and the Chant Family

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Jeremy Adams – Maple Products and Firewood Sales, McDonald’s Corners 613-278-0082

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Oliver’s Mapleworks! Located at 158 Lakewood Lane, Perth, Ontario K7H 3C7. http://www.oliversmapleworks.Com

Email: tree.mapleworks@gmail.com
Phone: 613-264-8612.
Grand Champion Winner 2016 at Perth Festival of the Maples

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oliver

Tressa and David Oliver  2016 Winners – Sugar Maker of the Year

photo: courtesy of the Lanark & District Maple Syrup Producers Association

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2017 Award Winners

Sugar Maker of the Year 2017

photo: courtesy of the Lanark & District Maple Syrup Producers Association

Lanark & District Maple Syrup Producers Association

2017 Sugar Maker of the Year Award:

George and Linda Horton

(presented by Dwight James and Ray Fortune)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Lanark & District Maple Syrup Producers Association

2018 Sugar Maker of the Year Award:

Dwight James

(presented by Harold Walker, LDMSPA President)

Lanark Sugar Maker 2018

photo: courtesy of the Lanark & District Maple Syrup Producers Association

Previous recipients of the Award:

2018 – Dwight James

2017 – George and Linda Horton

2016 – Tressa and David Oliver

2015 – Wheeler Family

2014 – Charlie Temple

2013 – David & Paul Chant

2012 – Ray Thompson

2011 – Bill Gibbons

2010 – Don and Marion Dodds

2009 – Ray Fortune

2008 – George Ennis

2007 – Marion Paul

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Two of our family’s favourite Maple Recipes:

Maple Butter

 

maple butter

Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup softened butter
• 1/4 cup maple syrup

Preparation Time 5 minutes:

Mix butter and maple syrup with electric mixer until blended. Serve on toast, cracker or warm muffins. This is so tasty, and could not be easier to make. Use this creamy maple butter spread on bread, pancakes, muffins, toast, and biscuits.

Yield: about 3/4 cup

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Maple Cream Fudge

maple cream fudge

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cream (I use Heavy cream/whipping cream)
1/3 cup of butter
1/4 cup of maple syrup
pinch of salt
vanilla

Add the two sugars, butter and cream, maple syrup, and salt into a sauce pan. Place over medium heat. Stir while bringing to a boil. Lower the heat and continue to stir slowly while the mixture cooks. After about 7 minutes, test by pouring a small amount into some cold water. You want it to form a soft ball. You might need to cook it for another minute or two. Remove from the heat, add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla and start stirring. It takes about 14 or 15 minutes for the fudge to cool and thicken. Pour into buttered dish. TIP: If you let the fudge sit for 10 minutes after removing from the heat and allow it to cool slightly this will reduce the stirring time. Option: Replace the cream and cup of white sugar with one can of Sweetened Condensed Milk and increase the maple syrup to 1 cup

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Whether you prefer maple fudge, maple taffy, or maple syrup ‘straight-up’, take some advice from this Lanark County ‘kid’, and enjoy the unforgettable tastes of our spring harvest – all year ’round!

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photo credit: maple bush – Jane Southren

…………………………………………………………………..

 

To discover more about the history and local maple producers in Lanark County, “Lanark County Chronicle” features a chapter ‘Taffy on the Tay’, recalling the ‘good old days’ of maple syrup production. Taffy on the Tay – from Lanark County Chronicle

http://www.staffordwilson.com

Festival of the Maples, Perth, Ontario April 27 2013

Arlene & Leslie Maple Fest Apr 27 20130001

New friends Maple Fest Apr 27 20130001

Signing a book Maple Fest Apr 27 20130001

Thanks to everyone who helped to make the Book Signing at the Festival of the Maples such a huge success.

Many thanks to our host Leslie Wallack at The Book Nook 60 Gore St.E. in Perth and her wonderful staff Rhoda, September and Clark.

The skies were grey when we first arrived, but shortly after the sun broke through and the population of the town of Perth swelled as the streets were filled with people enjoying the mild weather and over one hundred vendors and live entertainment.

We were busy at our booth at The Book Nook seeing old friends stop by to say hello and meeting new folks, some who had read one or more of the books already and some who were buying one of the books for the first time.

Thanks again to Carole and Jody Shillolo who made the trip from Burks Falls to attend the Festival of the Maples. It’s always a treat to see Alex and his girlfriend Cassandra and our niece Meaghan and her fiance Sean and they enjoyed the exhibits and sampled some of the local fare.

Old friend Randy Gordon popped by to say hello and former 4H club member and classmate Dianne Tysick Pinder-Moss and her husband Bob came by as well for a chat.

Third-Liner Trina Conboy visited our booth and her son Sawyer was enjoying his taffy on a stick.

We also met some of the Fleming family of Bob’s Lake and had a nice chat with them.

There were many other visitors and we’d like to thank everyone who stopped by our booth yesterday.

A good time was had by all at the 37th annual Festival of the Maples and we look forward to returning next year!

Festival of the Maples, Perth, Ontario

Ad for Maple Festival 2013

Join us Saturday, April 27th from 1 – 3 p.m. at The Book Nook, 60 Gore Street E., Perth, Ontario.

The Festival of the Maples features live entertainment all day, over 100 artisan and craft displays, food vendors and a tremendous variety of maple products.

See you there!

http://www.staffordwilson.com