A Day in Uxbridge - The Trail Captial of Canada
If you’ve ever lived in Canada or even visited it you are probably aware of the “winter blues” that drag on for nearly half of the year. So when the warm summer breeze finally starts to blow and our heavy jackets start getting packed up each one of us hits the street looking for some fun summer activities to get that gloomy feeling out. That’s where Uxbridge comes in! Known as the Trail Capital of Canada, this little town is the perfect destination to get your summer vibes back on.
Ideally worth a day trip, Uxbridge is easily accessible via the GO bus from Toronto and takes usually about 1 hour 30 min to 2 hours during peak hours. A good way to start this day trip is with a wholesome brunch at Urban Pantry Restaurant located at 4 Toronto St N, Uxbridge, ON L9P 1E6. While I loved it, Mr. Fly found it great, but not quite up to Cafe Belong.Some options worth trying include their Eggs Benny, soft poached eggs, spinach & mushroom, rosemary focaccia, hollandaise. served with home fries and theButtermilk Blueberry Pancakes made of macerated berries, lemon confit, whipped mascarpone, pefferlaw dark maple syrup. Wash this delicious duo down with either a glass of their Mimosa or the classic Cappuccino! Okay, the growling belly now needs a chance at redemption. It's time to hit the trails! Uxbridge has Nine Town Trails in and around the town of Uxbridge that link into a growing network of Countryside Trails linking the smaller communities, and tying into two major trails that intersect in the township – the Trans-Canada Trail and the Oak Ridges Trail.
Upon the advice of our helpful server at the restaurant, we decided not to walk to the trail but opt for the local taxi service (You can call one at (905) 852-2222). Our driver was a friendly old man who was more than happy to see us to the starting point of our trail as well as to chat about how much he adores the little town for its cosiness. He was kind enough to actually hang about the town till we got done and come back to pick us up! With our return plans in place we were now off to the start of our hiking adventure at the Glen Major Forest trail. Upon entry we were greeted with rolling plains of greenery, buzzine beez, butterflies and flowers that added just the right touch of pretty. The trail took us about 3 hours to and fro (including a point in the busy forest where it seemed met another trail (the Trans-Canada?) and ended at the Glen Major Forest viewing point. Now this is an unassuming piece of gem that you may easily just walk by. We’d recommend you stop “to smell the roses”. Sit down at one of the jutting rocks and look out at the vast expanse of rolling greens, smell the fresh grass, feel the sun soak your skin and float your senses through the lack of sound, except the occasional bird and your own breathing. This panoramic view truly caps that break you needed from city life that got you here in the first place.
My advice to those who choose to take this hike on would be to carry sunscreen and maybe some mosquito repellents (afterall the area is surrounded by unending tall trees, rolling hills and all of mother nature's natural creations untouched by man!). Saying our goodbyes for the day, we caught our cab back, to the York-Durham Heritage Railway (YDHR). If you time it right and plan in advance, YDHR runs fun train rides for its passengers on occasional evenings every year! Choose between an escape train where the Copper Cogg Society offers you the chance to get initiated by them by hunting clues and solving puzzles! The fictional Society is rather picky about who it lets in, after all! Or are you instead up to challenge your detective skills? In that case, try the Murder Mystery where you can join some of the Society's brilliant scientists in an opportunity to show off your most wondrous ideas. And if you simply want to relax and have a fun evening with your family and kids then you can choose between Winne’s Train Festival, Thomas train, Passenger Appreciation BBQ and many more!
Our adventure began at the station at 7:00 pm when we climbed the mysterious heritage train. Upon sitting at your reserved table you will find a few puzzles neatly placed for you to get a head start with. Meanwhile, the hosts start you off with your pre-selected three-course dinner consisting of Veg, Chicken or Fish dishes while the train takes you across a scenic route for about 2 to 3 hours. If, like us, you forget to reserve your bottle of wine or beer, you can purchase them on board too. Once the 3-course meals are done, it’s time to take part in the “Initiation” with a series of interactive experience featuring live actors and puzzle challenges - a cross between dinner theater and an escape room, but with a running countryside view!
As we came back to Toronto, we couldn’t believe the layer of dust the city seemed to have been blanketed in. Only gradually did we realize that it was an entire day in Uxbridge’s pristine clear air that had made the city air stand out so sharply. And that sums up the little town. For the country’s Trail Capital, we remain astonished at how little known Uxbridge is. But that, perhaps, is its biggest charm. One way or the other, it makes for a cosy day trip.