Another bitter year for the maple syrup festival


St Joseph Island’s 54th annual Maple Syrup Festival won’t go ahead for a second year due to COVID-19.  The Royal Canadian Legion hosts the event every year and as their biggest fundraiser, the effect this has on the community is widespread.

“I think it has affected all the folks who usually attend the festival.  It’s a great family event which they look forward to every year and it looks like COVID has taken away two years of getting out into the community and socializing with friends and neighbours,” said long-time volunteer and Chairman of the festival Gloria Riddell comments to SaultOnline.

Not being able to run the maple syrup festival has affected dozens of local maple syrup producers. It is the largest sales event for many, as well as for the local craft vendors who sell their handmade goods to the thousands of people the festival would normally bring to the Island.

St. Joseph Island was traditionally known as “Anipich”, Ojibwe for place of hardwood trees.  The seemingly endless supply of hardwood maple trees makes this a maple syrup producer’s dream.  In turn, St. Joseph Island is the largest centre of maple syrup production in Ontario.  Island producers total 18% of all of Ontario’s maple syrup.

Many will miss the endless supply of fluffy pancakes and sausages, dosed in local maple syrup that is offered at the event.  Until communities can gather safely, you are encouraged to purchasing maple syrup from a local producer and keep the community fed!

Follow SaultOnline for more to come on the maple syrup producers of the Island.