The numbers have been tallied and the 2023 edition of Maple Madness was a great success seeing a record number of visitors and pancakes flipped in the sugar bush.
Mother Nature decided to play a little practical joke by dumping more than 20 cm of snow overnight before opening day however staff persevered and got everything in order for what has been one of the most highly anticipated events in the spring calendar for local residents and visitors alike for the past four decades.
Running for the entirety of March Break, and all weekends in March at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, Maple Madness featured a host of activities for the entire family, including the fun (and sometimes bumpy) tractor-driven wagon rides, a revitalized and updated First Nations Displays, tree tapping demonstrations, other educational stations - Oh, and there were also tasty, fluffy pancakes and maple syrup aplenty.
A change from 2022 saw the Maple Shop moved from the sugar bush to the Outdoor Centre, leading to a booming business for those seeking to take home some of the tastier aspects of the maple experience.
Statistics gathered by Cataraqui Conservation staff from the Outdoor Centre demonstrate the continued popularity of Maple Madness as over the 13 days that the event took place, 13,212 visitors came through the gate, consuming a whopping 18,306 pancakes. An incredible 480 litres of maple syrup were used on those pancakes with more than 903 bottles of maple syrup sold at the Maple Shop. As well, we sold out of maple lollipops (2,000 in all!!) and added another 6,538 pieces of maple candy to the tally. The chickadees at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation and their avian friends were also well fed, as 303 bags of bird seed were purchased.
As part of the 40th anniversary festivities, there was a special photo contest, as well as an opportunity for folks to send in photos from their albums of past experiences at Maple Madness. The Cataraqui Conservation Foundation also held their first ever online auction in commemoration of the anniversary, raising funds for Cataraqui Conservations education programs. It was great to see so many residents of the Cataraqui watershed visit our sugar bush, share their memories of past maple visits, and see that the love of our pancakes is still going strong.
The staff and Board of Cataraqui Conservation would like to thank all the folks who ventured out to take part in Maple Madness and make it a record year. We especially want to thank all the Public Program and Education staff, Operations staff, and volunteers, including teacher candidates from Queen’s University, who helped make for a seamless and fun visitor experience. Also, a special shout out to the amazing face painters from the Not So Amateur Amateurs: Kingston Yonge People's Not-Profit Theatre Company.
We are already looking forward to Maple Madness 2024, which happens to be the 60th anniversary of the creation of Cataraqui Conservation.