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Coronavirus: Sugar Shack owner left devastated by season’s early finish

Coronavirus outbreak: Sugar shack owner left devastated by seasons early finish
WATCH: Coronavirus: sugar shack owner left devastated by season's early finish

Sucrerie de la Montagne owner Pierre Faucher never thought he would miss a season.

In the 42 years he’s run his sugar shack, he’s never had to close — not even during the ice storm.

But all that changed when the Quebec government ordered the early end of the sugar shack season on March 15.

“We were very, very disappointed,” said Faucher.

Spring is peak sugar shack season, but for Sucrerie de la Montagne, business couldn’t be worse.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Quebec deaths climb to 94, shutdown of province extends until May

The kitchen is still open for for pick-up orders, but on Sunday, just three customers dropped by.

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Normally the four rustic dining halls would be packed with 1,800 visitors in a single day. Faucher said the parking lot sometimes gets so full, customers have to park down the street.

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The story behind the Sucrerie de la Montagne
The story behind the Sucrerie de la Montagne

For generations, families have made Sucrerie de la Montagne a seasonal tradition, sharing a classic meal of pea soup, ham and pancakeswhile lively folk music plays in the background.

“The atmosphere, that’s the energy that exists here is what I miss very much,” he said.

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Faucher will be able to pay his core staff with the promised wage subsidy from the federal government. But with about 3,500 maple taps, he’s worried about the future.

 

“My maple taps won’t help me financially pass through the year,” he said.

With the 2020 season a bust for thousands of sugar shacks across Quebec, Concordia finance professor Lorne Switzer says owners shouldn’t be concerned.

“There’s a future because maple syrup, sugar shacks, les cabane à sucres are part of our DNA,” said Switzer.

Taking advantage of the unusual time off, Faucher has been spending more time with his family, something he typically doesn’t get to do during the height of the season.

La confiance, that’s what carries you through,” he said.

Tapping into his confidence, so Sucrerie de la Montagne can come back even stronger next year.

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