Paris Maple Syrup Festival – A True Small Town Experience

We are blessed to be located in what has been hailed as one of the prettiest small towns in Canada and also one of the eight best hamlets to live in Ontario. Paris is rich with history, wildlife, and let’s be honest, our downtown core is truly picturesque perched on the banks of the Grand River.

However, despite being just a beautiful small town you can always expect to meet someone interesting in Paris. That’s why every year the Paris Maple Syrup Festival has been interesting. I like to call it the end of our small town’s hibernation. It’s usually the first weekend of the year where people are venturing outside once again, into what can only be described as slightly more mild weather. It’s the first outdoor event of the year and people really embrace the spirit of Paris for the weekend.

We meet everyone on this weekend, from the old curmudgeons still day dreaming about their last trip down the Nith, to trail runners that come from all over just to experience the Grand River. Our small town is full of trails that intertwine with the rivers, so it’s very rare that you meet someone who doesn’t have some sort of interesting story from the last time they were outdoors experiencing our beautiful little hamlet.

There are still older generations in our small town that are telling stories about the Flood in 1954 and they are always willing to show you pictures. However my favourite story about the history of our small town, as overheard at the Maple Syrup Festival, is the story of Bobby West and Bobby West St. So it goes, there used to be a lake at the top of the Nith River that was caused by the river itself backing up. It was deep enough that Bobby West and his father actually gave boat tours on their old steamer all around the lake. However, the two were actually famous for saving people from drowning in the run off of the lake. There is no specific record of just how many people the two of them saved, but we have since named a small street in Paris, Ontario after Bobby West himself.

There is so much to learn about our small town, and the Maple Syrup Festival is one of the best places to do so. With live music and tons of volunteer support for the community, it is one of the events that I think best highlights the small town vibe that Paris has been celebrated for over the past few years.

Do you have any stories from the Maple Syrup Festival? Make your way past the mennonites selling their own syrup on the outskirts of town,  and visit us at the store. We’d be happy to share a few stories of our own.