Toronto group wants to tap trees to make maple syrup, City of Toronto not impressed

Toronto group wants to tap trees to make maple syrup, City of Toronto not impressed

A typical Ontario sugar bush (Photo by Mac Armstrong)

Maple syrup might be as iconic a Canadian food as Timbits, but the City of Toronto is discouraging residents from tapping, the process by which the sugary sap is procured. It’s strange that the city would even weigh in on the issue; who has time to tap, then evaporate the sap, especially when maple syrup is one locavore-friendly food that is always available on grocery store shelves?

It turns out that enviro-activist Laura Reinsborough and her Not Far From the Tree initiative, which normally harvests fruit from backyards and the urban forest, wants to take up the task. Reinsborough, whose efforts made our list of Reasons to Love Toronto in 2009, has started the aptly named We’d Tap That project in the hopes that homeowners will offer five to 10 Norway maples for tapping; their sap will be collected and boiled down for a community party.

But, as the Toronto Star reports, the city’s urban forestry department is turning down requests to tap in parks, citing the risk of damaging trees. Beth McEwen, the department’s forest and natural environment manager, would “not encourage” sap tapping in backyards, either, and notes that people have to pay a fine when they damage a tree.

Though Reinsborough has already urged homeowners not to start tapping without “extensive research and proper training,” we fear that the proof will be in the pudding. Much like homemade beer and wine, although it might be fun to make, for the sake of quality, making syrup might be better left to professionals.

Trees in city parks off-limits for tapping [Toronto Star]