A Wanderlust Adventure Through the Trail Capital of Canada

Move over, Ottawa! Uxbridge is the new capital…Trail Capital of Canada, that is!
I was invited to an interactive trails event in the Township of Uxbridge on June 18th for a first hand experience in hiking, shopping and dining all in one destination, all in one day. The event was designed to connect tourists with nature through an enjoyable hike followed by a shopping excursion in downtown Uxbridge and lunch provided by a local restaurant.
Uxbridge Wooden Sticks Trail Trailhead
Uxbridge was recently granted the official status ‘Trail Capital of Canada‘. Surprisingly, Uxbridge has over 220 km of protected green space and is part of an extensive and ever-growing network of scenic trails including Nine Town Trails, the Trans-Canada Trail, and the Oak Ridges Trail. The trails are open to everyone from leisure walkers, serious hikers, cyclists, runners, to snowmobilers and equestrians.
 
 
two women participate in smudging ceremony in forest
The event began with a short hike through the Wooden Sticks Trail where I witnessed an authentic smudging ceremony in the heart of the forest. The ceremony, albeit brief, reminded the urbanite in me to slow down, be grateful to nature and to enjoy the peaceful surroundings. With a newly established pace, I continued the hike until I reached the end of the route and was greeted by a horse and carriage to take our group to downtown Uxbridge. Like Cinderella waiting to go to the ball, we were waiting to head over to the quaint shops and cafes that downtown Uxbridge has to offer! (Of course, serious hikers can continue the interactive trail on foot but being whisked away by a horse and carriage on a sunny morning was too great to pass up!)
 
 
artist display with painting and wood decor items
Our first stop in downtown was the local flower shop, Keith’s Flower Shop & Gifts. We were greeted with chocolate from a local candy store – a delectable way to refuel from the hike! This began our tour of the colourful row of unique shops and cafes such as Tin Cup Caffe, Sugar FX Candy Shop, and Elemi Organics, to name a few. We were also given $5 in “BIA bucks” to spend at any of the participating stores – a great way to support independent shops and to source one-of-a-kind trinkets and souvenirs!
Every participating store front was decorated with a piece of artwork created by a local artisan to reflect the intrinsic connection between art, nature and unique shops of downtown Uxbridge. As part of the Wanderlust Project, created in collaboration with the local artistic community, Durham Tourism, Township of Uxbridge, and Uxbridge BIA, the goal of this project is “to be a constant reminder to experience the beauty of our trails, and to shop locally from our awesome downtown shops,” as told by Darrin Davis (www.peacefullyproductive.com).
To conclude the tour, we were treated to lunch held at the Blue Heron Books art studio and catered by the local Tin Mill Restaurant. With a live musician on site and local art on display, it provided a relaxing atmosphere to wind down from the trip.
But the trip doesn’t have to stop there. For those looking for a longer getaway, Uxbridge is home to a variety of local events, attractions, and quaint boutiques. Being just a 20-minute drive from Toronto, it is the perfect escape to pack your hiking/biking gear to enjoy the outdoors and also to discover new culinary and shopping experiences.
colourful bike in front of Uxbridge store
As a city dweller, I would definitely return for a longer trip to cover ground through the impressive trails system and to shop and dine in the quaint Township of Uxbridge! With a short distance away from the many scenic trails that cross through the town, it is truly a one-stop-destination where you can accomplish it all: HIKE. BIKE. SHOP. DINE.
 
 
 
Central Counties thanks Durham Tourism, Township of Uxbridge, Uxbridge BIA, and all local merchants for the interactive trails event. For trail maps, please visit Durham Tourism or call 1-800-413-0017. Blog post written by Shirley Lui for Central Counties.

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