With all 400 tickets sold, the French community were able to host a successful cabane à sucre (sugar shack) in the Comox Valley.
Sponsored and organized by Canadian Parents for French, École Au-Coeur-d’île and the Comox Valley’s three French Immersion schools (École Puntledge Park, École Robb Road & École Mark R. Isfeld), the goal was to bring French out of the classroom and into a community event.
With families with children of all ages and many francophone community members, the organizers achieved their goal.
“Canadian Parents for French is a national organization that supports initiatives to increase and improve the cultural experiences for local students studying French,” said CPF president, Stacey Fussell, “this was a great event to be involved in. I’ve never seen 65 litres of good quality maple syrup consumed with such variety or efficiency.”
A sugar house (also known as a sap house, sugar shack, sugar shanty, or “cabane à sucre”) is a small cabin or shack where sap collected from sugar maple trees is boiled into maple syrup.
During the spring when the maple sap is flowing, families and friends gather in these sugar houses to celebrate, often delighting in foods cooked with maple syrup, such as ham, baked beans, eggs poached in maple syrup and crépes. During the celebration there are many activities including singing and dancing, and eating La Tire (Maple Toffee).
The purpose of this “sugar shack” was to honour the tradition and culture of the cabane à sucre and give local families a chance to experience it by providing traditional francophone music, activities, and outstanding food.
École Au-Coeur-d’île generously hosted the event in Comox, and Salmon Point Restaurant gave up their head chef for the day. The entertainment was fantastic and featured local band Fiddle Jam, the ladies from Nous Chantons and accordion aficionado Reinhard Illner from Victoria.
Minor games and activities were led by existing students.
“It was great to work with leaders from all four local schools that provide a high percentage of instruction in French. We were also very fortunate to have support from our community partners Quality Foods, Costco, Hooked on Seafood, and Thrifty Foods.”
Plans are already in the works for next year’s Cabane à sucre.
— Canadian Parents for French