Cabane à sucre comes to Concordia

Students taking “tire à l’érable” (maple syrup on a stick) during Concordia’s sugar shack event. Photo by Leo Litke / The Concordian

Annual sugar shack celebration brings a slice of culture (and pudding chômeur!) to staff and students.

On Wednesday, April 10, Concordia Hospitality hosted a sugar shack-inspired lunch in the EV junction, bringing the yearly spring celebration back to campus after COVID restrictions had put it on pause. Profits from tickets sold went towards the Emergency Meal Plan Program, a service run by Concordia Hospitality that provides students in need with meal cards to students. 

Tables were arranged around the ground floor of the atrium and attendees enjoyed a selection of traditional Quebec cuisine while Québécois folk music was played on loudspeakers. Meat- and plant-based options were made available to attendees, including tourtière—a meat pie—, ham, pea soup, along with maple-centric pudding chômeur, maple pie and pancakes with maple syrup.

Shortly after the event began, a maple taffy station was set up where attendees were able to roll their own maple taffy with direction from a staff member.

“We like doing the sugar shack because it is very Québécois, and we have lots of students coming who’ve never had taffy before, who don’t know the different food we’re eating,” said Sarah Caille, director of Concordia Hospitality. Explaining the significance of the event, she elaborated.

“First of all, it was an opportunity to bring the community back together [after pandemic restrictions were lifted]. And then at the same time it worked to raise some money towards the Emergency Meal Plan Program,” she said.

The sugar shack celebrations are an integral part of Quebec and eastern Canadian culture, and the event had many students excited about the nostalgic nature of maple taffy, also known as tire d’érable.

“This year I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to go to a cabane à sucre, so when I saw this here I was so happy to have this,” said second-year Computer Engineering student Yasmine Abdallah, referring to the syrupy candy on a stick in her hands. Born in Morocco but raised in Montreal, she considers it an important part of Canadian culture. 

“I feel like you just think of maple syrup when you think of Canada,” she elaborated.

This was echoed by final-year Classics student Luca Baldassare. “I was just passing by, got out of the metro and saw some tire [à l’érable] and was like: ‘What am I doing right now, not getting tire?’ It’s honestly that simple,” he said.

It hadn’t happened since COVID and we really wanted to bring the community together again. First of all, it was an opportunity to bring the community back together. And then at the same time to raise some money towards the Emergency Meal Plan Program which is a program our department organizes where we collect funds to be able to give meal cards to students.

Tickets to the event themselves were also distributed to students through the Concordia Student Union (CSU), Campus Health and Wellness, Recreation and Athletics, and the Concordia University Student Parents Centre. 

Caille spoke to the inclusiveness of the event. “It really is a whole community. It’s for students, for staff, for faculty, we even have a couple retirees coming,” she said.

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