No need to trek out of town for an authentic Canadian experience. The Vanier Sugar Shack — the only urban sugar bush in North America — is located right in the city. Explore the grounds and see how they produce syrup from more than 1,000 tapped maple trees in the surrounding forest, then chow down on delicious pancakes and other seasonal offerings. If you’re in town March 25 to April 1, check out Maple Sugar Fest. Richelieu Park, 300 des Pères Blancs Ave., 613-580-2424 ext. 32001.
Heading out of the city? Check out three other nearby sugar shacks.
1. Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane farm
This beautiful estate is just 30 minutes south of Ottawa and provides sleigh rides through the forest where the maple trees are tapped, as well as an annual Easter egg hunt. Runs until April 8. 2452 Yorks Corners Rd., Edwards, 613-821-2751. www.stanleysfarm.com
2. Proulx Farm
Thirty minutes east of Ottawa, this sugar shack is the perfect place for the kids to run off some energy. Featuring a petting zoo, a giant slide, play structures, and the traditional pancake meal. Maple syrup season runs until April 16. 1865 O’Toole Rd., Cumberland, 613-833-2417. www.proulxberryfarm.com
3. Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush
Just over an hour west of the city, this farm offers all the traditional aspects of a sugar bush retreat, plus a boutique with maple products and a maple bakery. Spring season runs until April 22. #291, 6th Concession Rd., Pakenham, 613-256-3867. www.fultons.ca