Archive for Uxbridge

All Aboard!

These are busy times. The world just seems to be going faster and faster. Maybe not faster than a speeding bullet, but while we all try to get through our lives as Superman/Superwoman, one of the hardest feats to accomplish is being able to spend time with family. What’s more powerful than a locomotive? Spending time with family on a locomotive!

We may not be able to leap tall buildings at a single bound but we can certainly share the “Adventures of Mincom Jo and her Dad” on the York-Durham Heritage Railway.

The York-Durham Heritage Railway train is a heritage coach diesel locomotive from the 1950s that travels between Uxbridge and Stouffville through the beautiful Oak Ridges Moraine. The current Stouffville-Uxbridge line was built in the 1860’s by William Gooderham, a well-known distiller from Toronto.

There is always on-board entertainment, a snack bar, souvenir stand and a wealth of knowledge about the heritage of Canadian railways of South Central Ontario available. During various times of year there are also specially themed adventures like “A Day Out With Thomas“, the “Teddy Bear Train“, “Halloween Train” and “Santa Train“, to name a few. Jo and her Dad, Yosh, opted for “Boxcars and Beer – The Cheese Train” to spend some time together.

Yosh and Jo

Boxcars and Beer – The Cheese Train, is a unique “taste of Ontario” experience, featuring artisan cheeses from across Ontario paired with handcrafted beer from The Second Wedge Brewing Company of Uxbridge. Fromager Cecilia Smith and brewery owner Joanne Richter hosted the trip and guided our duo through five amazing beer and cheese pairings. It was quite an enjoyable education. To make things even sweeter, Desbarres Chocola provided a tasting square featuring organic beans from the Dominican Republic which produce a quality cacao with deep chocolate and red fruit notes.

Upon reaching historic downtown Uxbridge, our delighted duo, Jo and Yosh, were able to deboard the train and make a beeline to The Passionate Cook’s Essentials where they stocked up on some of the cheese and chocolate they had tasted on the train. There was also an option to visit the brewery or the Uxbridge Farmers’ Market. Jo was really pleased with the day…

“I really enjoyed being able to walk around Uxbridge and being able to support the local cheese, chocolate and beer makers was a big plus. Finding out that Uxbridge is considered the “Walking Trail Capital” of Canada was cool. I also met some friends that happened to be on the Family car with their son. They had musicians and balloon artists to entertain the kids and said it was wonderful. Luckily the rain stopped and we had lovely weather when we got to Uxbridge”

Yosh was so impressed with the beer samples he went back to Uxbridge the following Friday to visit the brewery…

“I was able to do some more sampling and bought some great beer. I liked that it’s all local businesses, and they make delicious beer. It’s really a great idea to have the sampling on the train.”

From what we can see, there are enough options for everyone to get on board with a ride on the York-Durham Heritage Railway and have themselves a super day!

 

Diversify!

The Durham Region and diversification go hand in hand. Just check out our weather as of late. We’ve had Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall all show up this week.

Check out the “Feels Like” on Friday & Monday

The town of Ajax has recently embraced the Durham Region’s diverse population with its #AjaxForAll campaign featuring community members from all cultures. With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to share some Easter family traditions from the diverse Stacee-Free Team.

Judy’s Easter has always included traditions.

“I remember a story told by my father when he was a boy taking a basket of food to the church to be blessed by the priest then to be brought home for the family at Ukrainian Easter dinner. The priest told his mother that by the time he arrived almost half of the food was missing. Boys will be boys.

Growing up, we had traditional Babka (Easter bread) which was my favorite. Our mother always hid Easter eggs and over the years I continued this with my children. After a while, the fun went out of getting candied or chocolate eggs, so I decided to buy colorful plastic eggs and hide money inside. The person who collected the most money won an even bigger prize. Everyone young and old took part and had fun in the search.”

Easter brings Jo fond memories of her grandmother.
“My dad’s background is Polish and my grandma was a wonderful cook so I have lots of fond memories of Easter. All her lovely decorated wooden eggs on display that I would play with. Grandma would take palm leaves and baskets of homemade babka, kolbassa, ham and eggs to church to be blessed by the priest for us to eat. It was all very mystical and special to a young child. We also got a chocolate Easter bunny and I would promptly eat the ears. And, it was a great time to see my cousins, too.”

It’s all about family for John.

“At Easter we have always gathered the family around for a big dinner. Melanie and I like to explore what is going on in the kids’ lives and what is happening in their families and relationships. When the kids were young, we would hide candy Easter eggs around the house so the kids could have an egg hunt as soon as they got up in the morning. One year, that did not work out, however, because the dog decided to have her own egg hunt.”

Anna’s Irish roots put her faith foremost in her celebrations of Easter.

“My family’s Easter tradition growing up was attending Church for the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, then, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.”

Kathy embraces her husband’s French heritage.

“Generations of families connect through their traditions and our family is no exception. I always remember going to my in-laws’, to Beverly and Jerome Lapointe’s home on special occasions and enjoying the fantastic French gourmet meals we had. I especially remember when Jerome made Bouillabaisse which is a typical French soup broth with saffron and loads of fish, like scallops, mussels, halibut, lobster and clams, served with crusty bread so you could sop up the heavenly tasting broth. There were always at least 14 people at the formal dining table and there were lots of laughs and good wine flowing. We would sit there past midnight catching up on what everyone was doing in their lives. Jerome was a great influence on my style of cooking. I’m sure he’s still watching me from above as I try to replicate his recipes. Easter, or any holiday, is a time to leave your worries behind and enjoy and share traditional meals that remind us of the loving memories that keep families together.”

However you celebrate Easter, it’s a good time to look around and be aware of how diversified the Durham Region is. That in itself is a good reason to celebrate.

Beautiful Places To Hold A Memorial Service In The Durham Region

Death is a part of life. It is something that we all have to deal with at one point or another. The funeral industry itself has changed over the years to accommodate modern culture and emerging trends, cremation being one of them. In the last decade or so, cremation has skyrocketed in popularity, in part due to its flexibility. Memorial services featuring cremated remains can be customized to accommodate a range of needs and tailored to truly honour the person they’re celebrating.

Durham Region plays host to plenty of stunning outdoor spaces that are perfectly suited for hosting a memorial. From leafy enclaves suited for small gatherings to open spaces made for a crowd, we cover them all in our guide to Durham Region’s most beautiful memorial sites.

Greenwood Conservation Area

Greenwood is an obvious choice. It offers guests a chance to escape the city traffic and enjoy the beautiful nature preserves along the banks of Duffins Creek. There are many hiking trails that allow you to explore the forest and river valleys and provide you with the opportunity to find your own unique spot to celebrate a life. Greenwood is especially beautiful in the fall when it’s surrounded by a mosaic of warm colours.

Paradise Park
Paradise Park looks like a scene from a movie with its brilliantly sandy shores. It is a great place to spend an afternoon as well as celebrate a loved one. For generations, residents of Ajax have visited this park as a popular city getaway. It features an expansive shoreline and boasts picturesque outcroppings of trees, bushes, and flowers.

Heber Down Conservation Area
The Heber Down Conservation Area offers guests over 700 acres of recreational land. It is ideal or fishing, hiking, and picnicking. The nature valley of Lynde Creek intersects with a section of the conservation area and provides guests with a variety of unbelievably scenic landscapes.

Countryside Preserve
This beautiful space is perfect for those who love the great outdoors. The massive green landscape is filled with grass, trees, and bushes as far as the eye can see. It is one of Uxbridge’s best kept secrets. The idyllic forest is a fantastic spot to celebrate a recently departed friend or family member.

Ganaraska Forest
The largest forest in southern Ontario, Ganaraska offers guests an unmatched outdoor experience. The forest features hundreds of kilometers of trails that play host to activities like hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and nature appreciation. It offers guests an immersive wildlife experience and is the ideal place to host a memorial for any nature lover.

Many thanks to our Guest Blogger, Basic Funerals,  for providing this thoughtful post.

“Basic Funerals is a licensed funeral home in Ontario, Canada, offering simple, cost-effective services that can be arranged online, over the phone, or in person. Our goal is to create a fresh perspective in funeral services.”

 

A Brand New Year

It’s 2017. Day one. It’s a glorious day! The sun is shining, the temperature is springlike and it actually feels like a fresh start.

What can we say about 2016? It was challenging in many ways. We witnessed, from what some might say was too short a distance one of the craziest Presidential races in history. Indeed, the results shocked many of us. Our top news story for the year, however, was the ferocious wildfire that forced nearly 90,000 to flee Alberta’s Fort McMurray and the surrounding area. It was merciless and unpredictable,  “Not even a Hollywood script could match the terror, uncertainty, and heroism to come out of what seemed to be a surreal event,” wrote Dave Barry, news director of CKPG TV in Prince George, B.C.  We also said goodbye to many throughout the year. Some were intimate personal losses, while others were felt worldwide as the plethora of celebrity deaths seemed to never let up.

There are many ways to start a new year but one of the most symbolic  is the tradition of the doors. It’s simple and anyone can do it. At the stroke of midnight, open your back door to let out all the bad luck and negativity from the year that has just ended. Then, open your front door to let in all the good luck and positive energy for the new year.

We have a lot to look forward to in 2017. In the Chinese Zodiac, 2017 is the year of the Rooster which begins on January 28th under the sign of the Fire Rooster. Being a sign of rising, of awakening to life and of triumph, this promises to be a year of great achievements.

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The Pantone Color Institute has announced “Greenery” as the colour of the year. A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings. It’s a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.  According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute,

“Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the assurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the re-connection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”

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Perhaps one of the best things to look forward to in 2017 is Canada’s celebration of its bi-centennial. That’s right. We are 150 years old this year and we are going to party! To find out about events and celebrations throughout the year visit Celebrate Canada 150. On top of that, we are all getting a birthday present from Parks Canada — Free admission to Canadians and visitors from all around the world to all Parks Canada Locations from coast to coast to coast. For all of 2017, this pass gives you unlimited opportunities to enjoy National Parks, National Marine Conservation Areas and National Historic Sites across the country. To order your 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass click  here.

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Oh, it’s going to be a great year! We can’t wait to see what the Durham Region has in store for us to discover in 2017.

Happy New Year Everyone!

 

Empty Bowls

There is nothing like a bowl of hot soup to fend off the November chills. Even when the temperature turns unseasonably warm and perhaps soup isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, it warms your heart to be a part of the Annual Durham’s Empty Bowls. This is the third year that Feed The Need, the regional food distribution warehouse serving Durham Region, has participated in Empty Bowls.  As a long time supporter, Mincom Jo looked forward to spending the afternoon at the Oshawa Golf & Curling Club, where the event was hosted. The setting was really quite spectacular.

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The concept of Empty Bowls is used worldwide to recognize and raise support to combat hunger by emphasizing that many people simply do not have enough to eat.

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Unique, beautifully hand-crafted bowls were created and donated by local artisans from Durham Potters Guild  to signify the many thousands of empty bowls in our communities. Choosing the bowl you will use for the day and eventually take home may be one of the toughest choices you will make. There are big ones and small ones, round ones and square ones, bright and subtle, patterned and plain…so many choices.

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It took some time and a lot of flipping back and forth but our Jo eventually settled on a very chic blue-toned bowl, which, by the way, matched her outfit.

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Some of Durham Region’s finest chefs provided signature soups and desserts to be sampled and enjoyed.

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Jo’s first sampling was Curried Pumpkin and Apple Soup.

There were two sessions for sampling, one at 11:am and the second at 1:30 pm. Each session also featured door prizes and a silent auction. Between sessions, attendees were entertained by renowned Canadian jockey, Durham Region’s own Sandy Hawley, a four time Queen’s Plate winner and Order of Canada recipient. Long admired by Mincom Jo, Sandy had her mesmerized as he shared stories of big wins, nasty falls, tennis with Farrah Fawcett and golf with Dean Martin.

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Sandy Hawley & Mincom Jo

 

It was a wonderful afternoon, with good food, good people, a lot of fun and much needed support for Feed The Need in Durham. Many thanks to all the people that made the day possible.

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