In 1920 Bob Greenlaw, my Grandfather, started making maple syrup with 200 buckets and 2 iron kettles. He and my father bought a flat pan made at the local Campbell's Hardware and used it for 30 years.
My father and I bought our first used wood fired evaporator about 1960 and a new replacement evaporator about 1970. In 1975 we got an oil-fired evaporator to put beside the wood-fired one. In 1984 we replaced the oil fired with a new reverse osmosis machine.
By the year 2002 we had grown from 700 taps to 2200 taps. At our bush we use plastic tubing and vacuum to draw the sap from the trees to the sugar camp where we use stainless steel tanks for storage. We use a new reverse osmosis machine to reduce half the water from the sap, boiling the remaining sap in a wood fired evaporator and finishing on a gas fired small evaporator. When the sugar content reaches 66.5% the syrup is filtered by the use of a filter press and pumped into the stainless steel tank for bottling.
The first meeting of the Simcoe and district Maple Syrup Association was held in 1966 and my father and I attended. It is on record that Alvin Greenlaw, my father, received membership in 1966 for the sum of $2.00. My first member-ship was in 1968. I was chairman in 1972, provincial director in 1975 and 1976 and was an executive member several times. I have been a member of the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival Committee for all its 39 years.
Wally and Myrt Greenlaw
The 41st Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival – Saturday April 21, 2007
Every year the sleepy town of Elmvale explodes in a celebration of Nature's rites of Spring - the running of liquid gold - Ontario Pure Maple Syrup. The town transforms into a shoppers' mall. Vendors line the streets with offerings of maple syrup, food galore, book sales, collectible sales among other country treasures. Don't miss the Sugar Shack at the east end of town where you can get information, directions, tickets for the bus to the sugar bush tours as well as your copy of the Festival Directory. Lots of great maple syrup recipes here!! As you approach the Community Hall, you'll smell the delicious aroma of pancakes and sausages- our all day pancake breakfast, a must for all visitors. As you chow down on this delicious fare, enjoy the sweet sounds of North of 50.
At the east end of Queen St West you'll discover an entertainment stage; on the East Stage you'll meet the Dignitaries, laugh at their log sawing contest and the firemen's pancake eating contest. You'll enjoy the music of our elementary marching band, The Simcoe County Old Tyme Fiddlers and at 2pm Katy Austin. All this and dancing too! Mr. Dan Clement is your MC for the day at the East Stage. See the complete line up for the East Stage in the Festival Directory.
Outside at the arena, kids can pet the animals and go for a pony ride. The whole family can visit the army reservists display and then have great rides on the midway. Inside the arena treasures abound at the Craft and Quilt shows. Come on out to the charming village of Elmvale and experience our wonderful shops, boutiques and eateries and especially the Maple Syrup Festival.
Go 20 kilometers north of Barrie on Hwy 27 to the Wasaga Beach Road and you will be in the midst of annual celebration of the Sweet Spring Gold – Maple Syrup at the exciting Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival.
Maple Syrup Trivia
- Canada produces about 85% of the world’s maple syrup
- In an average year, each tap-hole will produce about 10 gallons of maple sap, enough for about a quart of pure maple syrup
- It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup
- Freezing and thawing temperatures create pressure and force the sap out of the tree
- Pure maple syrup has 50 calories per tablespoon and is fat-free. It has no additives, no added colouring and no preservatives.
The information in this article was submitted by Greenlaw Maples and compiled from information on the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival Website. You can learn more about maple syrup and the Festival by visiting http://www.elmvalemaplesyrup.ca