Do the Munster Mash

by Ilona Kauremszky
Ontario Discoveries Magazine - Fall 2005

MUNSTER, Ontario -- Situated in the sleepy, bucolic setting of the old township of Goulbourn in the town of Munster along Bleeks Road sits Saunders Farm. Sound like a Hollywood film?

In fact, the place does exist. To boot, during harvest season, the haunted shenanigans of Saunders Farm in Munster are legendary and make a great stop to explore the largest collection of hedge mazes in North America.

On the fields of a former strawberry patch, the family-owned and operated enterprise is a local fixture outside Ottawa. Since it first started in 1991, the Saunders’ haunting season has evolved into a spectacular family attraction. By day and by night it’s Fear Factor with nightly entertainment poised to scare the bellbottoms off you.

During an evening hayride with fellow revellers, we sped through the narrow spruce groves in search of ghoulish figures. With a wagon full of girly teenagers, we were a dangerous lot, screaming and bracing ourselves as the wagon screeched to a grinding halt.

“This pond is awfully deep,” warns our tractor driver as the wheels spin uncontrollably amid Shrek-like figures bobbing in the water. “Oh no, what caught my hand,” yelps another as the ride continues into the deep forest.

In October, the haunted hayride is part of the spook-tacular scenes ongoing nightly. Mark Saunders, Director of Fun, General Manager and Marketing attributes gasps and groans to good old-fashioned family fun.

The farm’s newest addition is the Great Canadian Experience Maze that opened last summer. Designed by ace maze master Adrian Fisher with Canadian geography and the immigrant experience in mind, Mark notes this is an evolving maze much like Canada’s history.

“The (Great Canadian Experience) maze’s goal is to reach a place like Canada’s first settlers did and we’ve tried to capture this experience by recreating the path by using story boards on building a log cabin and farming,” he says and adds, “For the maze we used boulders, hundreds of trees and different elevations so you have to go through our miniature Canadian Shield to find the prairies.”

With the afternoon’s children’s activities in full swing, we climbed the observatory tower for a bird’s-eye view of 10 mazes including century-old log buildings dotting the field. I spotted the curvy cedar labyrinth of the children’s Spiral maze and the Mile maze made of nearly 1,500 white spruce trees.


photos: Stephen Smith

A-mazing sweet corn

In Wellington County, the Strom’s of Strom’s Sweet Corn have been taking the corn maze craze to new heights changing themes annually. Last year for Wellington’s 150th anniversary, the towering cornrows cut the pattern of the county’s crest, showcasing a wooden bridge and highlighting local mills.

A 45-minute non-directional challenge, you can enter and exit the maze. There’s no set route. You don’t have to go all the way around. You can go in and out. It’s perfect for families and canoodling couples who want to get lost then later bond. “You don’t have to go to the end,” says Amy Strom about the maze attraction in Guelph.

Saunders Farm, visit Saunders Farm or call (613) 838-5440.

Strom’s maze, visit Strom's Maze or call (519) 822-1070

For more travel information visit Ontario Travel or call 1-800-ONTARIO.

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