Archive for trains

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!


All Aboard!

As you prepare for the Christmas season it’s easy to get lost in memories of Christmases gone by.  Photos of little ones on Santa’s knee that have since had little ones of their own, an ornament that has been handed down from generation to generation or perhaps watching “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” on TV can trigger a flood of memories. We all have memories of that one special gift we just had to have – like Ralphie and his rifle in “A Christmas Story“. For many, that gift was a train. Trains and Christmas do seem to go hand in hand.

Christmas Train

It seems the Durham Region believes in Christmas Trains. We are very fortunate in our area that we have access to some real Christmas trains.

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train makes two stops in the Durham Region as it makes its way across the country.


The CP Holiday train visits over 150 communities across the railroad network including stops in Bowmanville and Oshawa. Each stop features a boxcar stage, a lineup of great musical talent and a contribution to the local food bank.  The goal of the Holiday Train is to raise awareness in the fight against hunger. Everyone who attends is encouraged to donate food and money which stays in their community. Since the program’s inception back in 1999 , more than $7.4 million  and over 3 million pounds of food has been collected in Canada and the U.S.

John Martin, Sales Representative at Mincom New Choice Realty Ltd. and member of The Stacee-Free Team, went to the Bowmanville stop with his wife Melanie and their grandchildren. John says,

“Last year we went to the Oshawa stop and we had a lot of fun with the kids. This year we decided to try the Bowmanville stop and really enjoyed ourselves. It’s a great evening out with the grandchildren. The train itself is pretty exciting for all of us. The music is good, the hot chocolate will warm you and the Christmas spirit is high. This year the entertainment was Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame. He had everyone moving and singing along. We make sure that the kids are aware we are there to support the food bank and make a donation so they know there are kids out there that aren’t as fortunate as they are.  The Holiday Train has definitely become a family tradition for us.”

Jim Cuddy

Jim Cuddy on The Holiday Train Boxcar Stage • 2013

There was a great turnout at both locations. People were there to greet the train, with a good portion of the adults toting their children on their shoulders. It’s a lot of fun watching the little ones having a ball, twisting and bouncing, and singing Christmas carols along with the entertainers.

The Holiday Train in Bowmanville

If you were not lucky enough to catch The Holiday train in Bowmanville or Oshawa you still have time to catch the Santa Train in Uxbridge.  You and your family can board the train in Uxbridge this weekend for a one hour round trip on the York-Durham Heritage Railway, Greater Toronto Region’s only family tourist train, that also includes a visit from Santa for the little ones.

Santa Train

Christmas lights

Merry Christmas