This is a big occasion - having a birthday this big is going to be fun. The Stanley Cup will be on display in Rideau Hall in Ottawa today from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Stanley Cup Champions Mike Bossy, Paul Coffey, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Bernie Parent and Bryan Trottier will be on-site from 2 p.m. to 3:45 p.m The public invitation: to take a picture of yourself with this oldest trophy, famous hockey players and the portrait of Lord Stanley in the background.
Closer to home it is time to 'tap into spring' as the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival is on all over Ontario, Quebec and the North-Eastern U.S. This is an emblematic crop for us - Agriculture Canada has developed a "flavour wheel" that details 91 unique flavours that can be present in maple syrup. These flavours are divided into 13 families: vanilla, empyreumatic (burnt), milky, fruity, floral, spicy, foreign deterioration or environment, maple, confectionery, plants forest-humus-cereals, herbaceous, or ligneous.
The questions that popped up for me were:
Q Is maple syrup made in Europe? A Unusual - sugar maples grow in north-east North America and production was developed by indigenous peoples. North American Maple Syrup is exported to Europe for expatriate consumption.
Q Why was it used by the abolitionists during the American Civil War instead of cane sugar and molasses? A Sugar and molasses were produced by slaves.
Q Is the maple leaf on the Canadian flag a sugar maple? A Yes - that's the maple leaf we love so much.
Q What about other types of maples - can they produce maple syrup? A Yes - even the ubiquitous and weedy Manitoba maple, considered a scourge of urban gardens (despite being a native) can be tapped for syrup. Like most maples it has half the syrup/sweetness of typical sugar maples. Even black walnut can be tapped. I've purchased birch syrup in the past. There are 22 varieties of trees that can be tapped for syrup. My Norway Maple out front is one of them.