National Treasure #29: Sugar Maple

Like the Chinook winds, the sugar maple may not be exclusively Canadian but is quintessentially so. For goodness sake, we have a stylized maple leaf on our flag.

Nor is its significance limited to its physical range. I grew up in Alberta, a province with many other excellent attributes but sadly bereft of sugar maples, and yet even as a child I knew of its red fall foliage and its maple syrup.

After an unusually dry summer around Ottawa, I’m expecting an insipid colour season this fall, but we’ll see. And at least the Platonic ideal of acer saccharum lives on in our minds, if not always in our gardens and forests.

I’ve collected maple leaves – actual and virtual, in all weather – since moving to Ottawa in 2002 and expect to continue doing so.

Single red sugar-maple leaf on grey paving stones

Sugar Maple Leaf (dry)


Maple leaf in fall colours on wet sidewalk.

Sugar Maple Leaf (wet)


This is one of a series on Canadian national treasures – my sesquicentennial project. They reflect people (living and dead), places and things that I think are worth celebrating about our country, and are done in no order of precedence.


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2 Responses to National Treasure #29: Sugar Maple

  1. The first record I ever bought — to play on my little, pink, boxed record player
    — was Maple Leaf Rag. I wore it out. I was 14 and ended up in Canada.
    Powerful words implanted at the right age I guess.

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