Wyatt McWilliams, a Navan farm owner, poses with horses in between horse-drawn carriage rides.

A group of Algonquin students attended a sugar shack trip held by the AC Hub during Ottawa’s Maple Fest.

Early Saturday morning, April 7, 40 students traveled 20 minutes south of Orleans to visit the Proulx Sugar Bush and Barry Farm in Cumberland. The excursion consisted of various outdoor activities like a petting zoo, breakfast and taffy on ice.

Melissa Marchand, the AC Hub’s event assistant, saw the outing as a chance to introduce pupils of a different background to something new.

“I do a lot of research. I try to see what other communities are doing and if anyone has brand new ideas. I was just looking this year and I saw that no one has ever been to a maple fest.,” said Marchand. “We have a lot of international students, so I figured that would be something really fun. I know they really enjoy it and they love to do anything that’s related to Canadian culture. So that was the main reason.”

Students were taken into the woods by horse-drawn carriage to reach the main area where the festivities took place. During a workshop, they learned about producing maple syrup, how harvest time affects colour, and how darker hues make for sweeter flavours.

The rest of the day was spent sightseeing, tasting maple syrups, butter, fudge and candy, as well as warming up by the cabin fire.

The excitement of students chatting away over pancakes, coffee and hot chocolate had died down by noon. Worn out by the day’s events and frosty weather, students boarded the bus back to campus.

Cold climate aside, many were thrilled with the trip, including Tareq Ahsan, an international student who studies business management and entrepreneurship.

“It was good because my friends and I are really tired from studying and this is my last semester.,” said Ahsan. “It was entertaining because it was my first time going to a maple festival and I really enjoyed that. Especially the pancakes – They were so delicious.”