mazes at Saunders Farm in Munster, Ontario
before planting begins, the maze
design is carefully plotted. Its artistry is perhaps best appreciated
from the air, but on the ground is where the real fun happens.
Saunders Farm in Munster, Ontario, boasts North America's largest
collection of hedge mazes. The farm is home to permanent mazes
made of spruce and cedar hedges, grapevines, and of course,
a new corn maze every autumn. As with other farms, the folks
who run Saunders usually pick a maze theme. Last year, it was
Olympic athletes. This year, the crops are being rotated —
essential for healthy soil — so pumpkins have been planted
on the four-acre plot on which corn is usually planted. The
corn has been moved to two smaller plots, each being an acre.
"We are saving the big blast for our anniversary next year,"
says Mark Saunders, owner of the farm started by his parents
34 years ago.
An aerial view of the Olympic-themed corn maze at Saunders Farm
Every farm has its own way of putting the maze together. For
example, some farms in the United States use GPS technology
to cut the maze. In general though, most work the way the folks
at Saunders do — on a grid. One of the Saunders' neighbors, who is a farmer, plants
the corn that will grow 8' to 10'. Once the stalks are tall
enough to begin cutting the maze, a grid of strings is stretched
across the cornfield. The design is not cut using a plough because
that would cause furrows in the pathways; as the stalks grow,
the path would become too bumpy and dangerous to walk on. Instead,
specific cornstalks are pulled by hand or by using a hoe to
create a 3' wide path. "Stalks are planted 12" to
18" apart," explains Mr. Saunders. "Everything
is color-coded, and we make sure to just take out what's in