Quebec Maple Syrup Farms: Tours, Tastings, and Traditions

Blue lines stretch from tree to tree, creating a web through the maple grove to a sugar house, smoke billowing from its chimney. It’s early spring, and Quebec maple syrup farms are busy making sticky amber gold. Quebec makes 92% of the maple syrup produced in Canada, which means it’s safe to say that the best maple syrup is in Quebec.

Hundreds of Years of Maple Tradition

The First Nations and Indigenous Peoples were using maple water (sap) long before the arrival of Jacques Cartier in the 16th century. The sap from sugar maple trees was used to cook game, beans, and corn. Several years after the arrival of Samuel de Champlain in 1608, iron cauldrons from France were used to make maple sugar. The first sugar shacks in Quebec appeared around 1850, followed by the first sugar parties in 1868.

The first commercial can of maple syrup in Quebec came almost 100 years later, in 1951. These cans filled with sticky amber goodness quickly became more popular than maple sugar. By 2016, Quebec was producing 72% of the world’s maple syrup.

cabane a sucre - dining room - cabane a pommes

Maple Syrup Farms vs Cabanes à Sucre

Cabanes à Sucre (sugar shacks) are a popular activity in Quebec, especially in spring (late February/early March to end of April/beginning of May). They’re the perfect place to enjoy traditional Québécois dishes like tourtière, pea soup, oreilles de crisse, baked beans, baked eggs, and sausage – all topped with Quebec pure maple syrup. There is live folk music and dancing, sleigh rides when there is snow, and maple taffy (tire sur la neige) rolled in snow. Most sugar shacks are family-owned and have an artisanal feel to them.

A maple syrup farm produces maple syrup on a commercial scale. Instead of a few hundred trees on a couple acreages, the sugarbush consists of thousands of trees. The equipment at a farm is big and shiny, versus the often-rustic nature of a sugar shack.

In my opinion, you should visit a small, family-run one rather than the very commercial ones, but these have longer opening times, though, if you’re coming in a shoulder season.

Visiting a Quebec Maple Syrup Farm

Maple syrup farms are a great place to learn about the history and traditions of making maple syrup. They often provide guided tours, and some have sugar shacks where visitors can enjoy maple-soaked foods (you decide how much maple syrup to use, no worries). Let’s chat about some of the best Quebec maple syrup farms to visit.

waffle maple syrup sandwich - cabane a pommes

Sucrerie de la Montagne – Montérégie

This is one of the most well-known maple spots in Quebec. Located on Mont Rigaud, Sucrerie de la Montagne has been producing maple syrup since 1978. The sugar maple trees here are over 100 years old, and the sucrerie is a Quebec Heritage Site. Traditional sugar shack meals are served all year, and activities include horse-drawn wagon rides, live music, and maple taffy.

Labonté de la Pomme – Laurentians

Located in Oka, La Cabane à Pommes at Labonté de la Pomme is one of the best agritourism destinations in Quebec and definitely one of my all-time favourite foodie stops, on top of being part of the best maple syrup in Quebec.

This family-friendly farm produces maple syrup, butter, and jelly, as well as a tasty variety of apple products. Tour the farm, and eat traditional sugar shack foods with a gourmet flair. It’s like a modern twist on great provincial classics. The apple shack also serves up fondue, and vegetarian sugar shack meals.

Also check out their sap retrieval activity when the weather is right!

Érablière du Lac-Beauport – Capital Region

Érablière du Lac-Beauport is a popular Quebec City maple syrup experience. Open year-round, this family-owned and operated sugarbush has a fascinating maple museum, educational activities, pony rides, traditional sugar shack meals and live music.

Sugar Shack - Gourmet Meal - Beans Eggs Ham Potatoes - Erabliere Lac-Beauport
Photo: Érablière Lac-Beauport

Érablière du Cap – Chaudière-Appalaches

This family-run maple farm is in its 11th generation. Located in Lévis, Érablière du Cap is open year-round. The best time to visit, however, is during sugaring-off (spring) when visitors can take trolley rides, enjoy the walking trails, visit the mini farm, and enjoy live folk music. The sugar shack on site offers a delicious traditional meal, which can be made vegetarian friendly.

Sugar Shack - in Quebec - Erabliere du Cap
Photo: Érablière du Cap

Cabane à Tuque – Laurentians

Technically not a Quebec maple syrup farm, Cabane à Tuque, however, offers a unique maple experience in Quebec’s province. Inside this ecological, hempcrete insulated house is a sugar shack meal catering to vegans. Organic local ingredients are used here, and the environment is fun and family-friendly.

Maple Taffy on Snow - Cabane a Tuque - in Mont-Tremblant
Photo: Cabane à Tuque

Take a Maple Syrup Tour

If you don’t have a vehicle, getting to a Quebec maple syrup farm can be a challenge. Thankfully, there are tours you can take, like this private tour from Montreal. There is also a full day guided tour to a sugarbush near Trois-Rivières.

Maple syrup is big business in Quebec (there was an $18 million maple syrup heist in 2012). It is also an important part of Quebec’s history and culture. Maple water kept colonists alive in the beginning, and today we continue to enjoy water – mostly in the form of maple syrup, butter, caramel, whisky, and more.

Are you ready to consume lots of maple syrup and take some home as a souvenir?

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Chaudière-Appalaches / Laurentians / Mauricie / Montérégie / Montreal / Quebec City / Quebec Destinations / Spring Vacations / Trip Planner / What and Where to Eat / When to Go
About Author

Passionate about travel and food, Jennifer Doré Dallas is a freelance travel writer, author and creator since 2010. On top of this amazing Chasing Poutine blog, she also founded Moi, mes souliers in 2010 and she is the author/co-author of around two dozen Lonely Planet, Ulysse and Parfum d'encre travel guidebooks, in addition to having contributed to other books and hundreds of tourism and Web platforms, magazines, DMOs and Websites over the years. As a lecturer in Web writing and SEO for a Quebec college and consultant for various companies and DMOs, she loves combining technological advances with the classic beauty of words, and is a member of TMAC, SATW, NATJA and IFTWTA!

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