by Stephen Johnson
It has become an annual tradition for my Dad to visit Ottawa for March Break. It is a chance for Grandpa and our son David to connect while my wife, Sandy, and I have to work. Another tradition is to visit a sugar shack the weekend before March Break. This year, we decided to visit the sugar shack Station 4 Saisons.
Located about thirty minutes east of Ottawa, Station 4 Saisons is far enough from the city that you forget the hustle of urban life. Upon arrival, we had some extra time so decided to go on the wagon ride that was on offer. We got to meet the two Canadian horses, Lady and Princess. We also had an interesting conversation with the driver and his daughter about the work required to take care of the horses.
Our time outdoors had made us hungry so made a beeline to the sugar shack buffet. I liked how Station 4 Saisons organized the buffet. They have two sittings, one at 10 am and another at noon thus guaranteeing there were not any crazy lines. Also, they provided real plates and utensils, which were more environmentally friendly than paper and plastic.
Besides all these bonuses, the real standout was the food. The buffet featured sugar shack fare like oreilles de crisse, sausages, eggs and of course, pancakes. David, my dad, Sandy and I all loved the food. For dessert, they provided pounding chômeur which is a traditional Quebecois dessert served usually around maple syrup season.
An added bonus was that we were entertained by Francophone children’s singer JoJo. When I was learning French, I started with basic children’s songs and shows including Ferme de JoJo. It was treat to see her perform in an informal setting. It felt more that we were at a family gathering than a restaurant.
To finish up our time, we visited the cabane à sucre where there was a small gift shop and of course, where they produce maple syrup. We bought a couple more pounding chômeurs which I am sure will be gone in short order.
Station 4 Saisons is also located close to the Larose Forest, which has great walking trails, and the the Bearbrook Game Farm, where you can see buffalo and elk, so it’s a great day trip.
Station 4 Saisons will be open on weekends until April 8 to provide an authentic sugar shack experience. It is probably good to reserve ahead of time as it will be very popular.