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The 30th OVLR Maple Syrup Rally

Sunday, TBD in late March, early April, 2018


Spring is a wonderful time of year. When the days warm up, the sap starts to flow. The great tradition of maple sugaring is a great way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Maple syrup is a natural and very unique product. It is only made in Eastern Canada and the US northeast from the sap of sugar maple and black maple trees. As Spring approaches, sugar makers take to maple forests (sugarbushs) to tap maple trees. A drill is used to make a small hole from which the tree sap flows in the warmth of the day. The sap is collected and brought back to camp to be boiled. The water is driven off and the sap thickens to a sweeter maple syrup.

The Event:

For the past twenty years, members of OVLR have been celebrating the coming of Spring with gathering at Vern Fairhead's sugar bush in Shawville Quebec during the maple sap run. The event offers people an excuse to get their Land Rover out from under that snow bank and blow the cobwebs out. For the hardy, it is an opportunity for a little winter camping that weekend. This is the first major club event of the season for Land Rover owners around eastern Ontario and western Quebec. Food, tradition, and some white laning!


The Maple Syrup Rally is traditionally held at the end of March, beginning of April at the height of the sap run. As this year's record snow levels have resulted in an unpredictable spring thaw, Vern and the executive have settled on Sunday the Too Be Determined of March or April, with a rain date of the next Sunday. We are told that the rain date will only be called into play in the event of a quasi-torrential downpour, and the event will most likely be held, even if the weather is not ideal. In the event that the forecast is unfavourable, watch your e-mail inbox, and we will provide a last minute update to confirm the date.


OVLR needs to know how many people expect to be attending so the proper amount of food can be purchased. So, local and regional members with email will be kept abreast of planning and dates via email. If you are planning on coming, please send Terry King an email at


The cost of the Rally is expected to be ten dollars per person. Children under five years old are free. To drive on the off-road course, you need to be a member of OVLR (Our insurance policy requires this) .


  • There will be a traditional breakfast of french toast, sausage, and (if the planets align) homemade baked beans.
  • This event also has a participatory side to it. To appreciate the fresh maple syrup you will be having with your breakfast, members are encouraged to help by making it! Every year there is the traditional gathering of sap from the trees. Vern is operating a sugar shack where the sap is boiled down to fresh maple syrup. For some, this is an opportunity to see how it is really done. It is also a chance to restock on some real maple syrup that should keep you going for the coming year! What can be better than making your own!
  • There is always some white (ok, sometimes brown/mud) laning down some abandoned rail beds, through the sugar bush, and around in the lands around the sugar bush. Also an opportunity to see the OVLR arsenal of mechanical machines in action. For some, it is an opportunity to learn that snow can be just as frustrating and difficult to traverse as mud.
  • Due to the maple syrup rallye being so late in the year, we will forego the easter egg hunt this year.
  • As always, there will be fresh maple syrup for sale. Bring your cheque book! (note, this is the real stuff, and you can help make your own! Not the chemical filled artificial stuff generally found in the supermarket)
  • Note: Dogs must be controlled and on a leash at all times. No Exceptions Please!

Getting there:

If you are unsure about directions, there will be a convoy of vehicles leaving from in front of the Nepean High School at 8:30am. (574 Broadview Avenue). If you know your way and are coming up on the Saturday, we are looking for a convoy leader. Contact Terry or myself at

The following directions assume that you can find the Champlain Bridge at the north end of Island Park Drive in Ottawa.

  • Crossing the Champlain Bridge over the Ottawa River, you will go straight to the second set of lights where the road ends at a "T". Go west (left).
  • Follow the upper road (highway #148) through to Aylmer, past the Canadian Tire, to a set of lights at the park (there is a war memorial in the centre of the park to your right. The town library is across the street on your left) in the centre of town. Highway 148 does a right turn here at these lights.
  • Follow Highway 148 out of Aylmer and proceed to Shawville (you will pass by the villages of Luskville, Quyon etc.).
  • Drive through/past Shawville.
  • About one mile past Shawville, you will look for a side road on the right. The side road is marked with a small green sign that says "Radford" (there are a pair of barns across the road on the left hand side of #148). Turn right onto Radford.
  • Go straight, past the church, until the road ends at a T. Turn right, then take the first left.
  • You will take the first left at the next concession road. One mile from this turn, you will find Vern's farm on the left.
  • Google Maps can be found here

Note: The Quyon Ferry: We do not know when it is opening this year. Those members in the west end of Ottawa wishing to avoid the long trek into Ottawa just to turn around and drive west again can take the ferry across the Ottawa River and chop dozen of miles off the trek. Telephone ahead to see if it is running or check their .


Shawville (and Vern's spread for that matter) appear on the very leftmost portion of the Canadian Topographical Map 31-F/9. For some of the trail driving, you may wish to also pick up the map sheet 31-F/10. These maps, and other larger scale derivatives, can be purchased from World of Maps at the corner of Holland and Wellington near Tunney's Pasture.


In the past, as the event takes place on a Sunday, various members of the club have come up early and done a little winter camping in the sugar bush. If you are interested in some winter camping, give Vern a ring at (819) 647-5544. There is plenty of wood about, and Vern probably won't mind you using some of the wood by the Sugar shack, so long as you help stoke the fire in there a little bit during the day! So, warmth for the evening is avaiable! Members are also welcome to come up on Saturday and help Vern with some sap gathering and maple syrup production.

Members are also welcome to come up on Saturday and help Vern with some sap gathering and maple syrup production.


OVLR would like to thank the following companies, groups or individuals who sponsor, or greatly assist with the Maple Syrup Rally

  • Vern Fairhead - property owner, guide, & host
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