Its native land


The sugar maple tree, red or silver, holds within it a treasure—maple sap, also known as maple water.
When the freezing temperatures of the Québec winter are followed fast by spring’s thaw, the precious
sap begins to run and it’s collected in Québec’s maple forests. 100% pure maple products
such as syrup, maple butter and maple sugar all come from this single ingredient.

Legend tells of a native North American observing an energetic squirrel drinking the water of a maple tree. 
Was this the actual discovery that led to maple products as we know them today? Historians have many
theories, but there is little spoken or written evidence to support any of them. One thing is certain:
the story of maple and its products is inextricably linked to the history of Québec.

1534

Discovery

Jacques Cartier becomes the first European to encounter the maple tree and its sap. A native North American tells him that the name for the sugar maple tree is, in his language, “couton.”

1608

“Nouvelle Cuisine”

By exchanging their culinary knowledge,
Europeans and First Nations eventually
created new ways to prepare food.
Maple water becomes
a restorative beverage.

1676

Maple Sugar

Using iron pots brought from France, Europeans and First Nations discover how to make maple sugar from the sap already in use by First Nations.

1700

Maple Candies

King Louis XIV craved sweets.
Agathe de Repentigny, a Montréal
businesswoman, sent him some made
of maple sugar. In 1701, she exported
30,000 pounds of maple sugar
to France!

1749

Bannock

First Nations and the famed Québec
coureurs des bois eat the staple food
of bannock, a type of bread made
of corn flour, bear fat and
maple sugar, to nourish them
on their long journeys.

1868

Sugar Shacks

The first sugar shacks are made of wood planks in the mid-19th Century. As of 1868, “sugar parties” are being organized. They remain an annual tradition in Québec culture.

1889

The Evaporator

The evaporator is patented in the USA, and applied to maple syrup production in Québec by the Small brothers. It gradually replaces the iron kettle, and increases quality and quantity.

1951

Canning

591 ml. cans of maple syrup make their appearance on supermarket shelves, bringing a major change: the consumption of maple sugar is replaced with that of maple syrup.

2005

Quebecol

Researchers identify the presence of
a molecule, Quebecol, in maple syrup
that is found nowhere else in nature.
Quebecol belongs to the polyphenol
family, molecules beneficial
to human health.

2013

NAPSI-certified
Maple Water

Québec maple water enters the market, with quality guaranteed by the new NAPSI certification.

2016

The International Standard for Maple

Today, maple products from Québec are
exported to more than 50 countries.
Québec provides 72%
of world production.

From the forest


Maple products from Québec come from a single ingredient: the sap of maple trees.

The flow of sap is a natural phenomenon, unique to North America. It occurs each spring when daytime
and nighttime temperatures alternate above and below freezing. Québec maple producers collect the sap,
and take it to the sugar shack for evaporation and processing into maple products.
It’s a complex process that demands knowledge and precision.
 

THE SAP FLOWS
HARVEST AND EVAPORATION

Sustainable development


Much more than Maple Syrup!

Long appreciated for their delicious products, Québec’s maple forests deliver more than
just syrup for our plates. In Québec, the 34 million maple trees of the sugar bushes
in production provide ecological goods and services essential to human well-being,
the value of which has reached  1 billion dollars (Canadian) on an annual basis.

These operating sugar bushes are protected in Québec under the Loi sur la protection du territoire
et des activités agricoles
. Anybody who chooses maple products contributes to not only
ensure the sustainability of the Québec sugar bush and its ecological services, but also to increase
 the total area of natural forests under production.

To find out all the environment benefits provided by the Québec
maple sugar bush, consult our graphic charts.

Maple and Sustainable Development, Québec  |   PDF
Maple and Sustainable Development, United States  |   PDF
Maple and Sustainable Development, United Kingdom  |   PDF