Oh, to see Christmas through a child’s eyes. To live vicariously through their wonder, to marvel unabashedly as they do at the magic. Let’s call a spade a spade (or should it be, let’s call an elf an elf?): No matter how old we get and how far from childhood we drift, we’re all children at Christmastime. So, it is with much excitement that York-Durham Heritage Railway welcomes children—both in age and at heart—to another annual Santa Train season in Uxbridge.
Beginning Saturday, November 23rd and running through to Sunday, December 22nd, our Man of the Season will once again be making an early trip by sleigh all the way from the North Pole. We hear his fearless team of reindeer are saddled up and are, even now, munching away on their magical flying hay to prepare for the journey to Uxbridge, where jolly Kris Kringle will greet passengers to kick off this most wonderful time of the year.
All aboard the YDHR heritage train. This lovingly preserved relic from the 1950s (which is wheelchair accessible in Uxbridge) will be transformed, with its cars and corridors decked in sparkling splendour. After all, if Santa is coming all this way to greet the children of York Durham Headwaters ahead of his biggest night on the calendar, we must make him feel right at home, mustn’t we? The Christmas spirit during the ride will be further elevated with on-board entertainment while the heritage train travels the scenic Durham countryside to Stouffville and back.
A special note to all attending: Santa moves from car to car, so once the train is moving, YDHR advises its passengers to stay put! We don’t want anyone getting an early peek at Good Saint Nick as he works his way through to meet all his special visitors.
The Santa Train experience at the York-Durham Heritage Railway has been a popular family destination for many years now. It is an event to which they return year after year because of the wonderful times had during that scenic round trip. Today, there are youngsters all over York Durham Headwaters who are growing up with these experiences forming an integral part of their childhood memories. And though it is officially The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (according to Andy Williams, that is), it is also the busiest time of the year. So, with YDHR taking the extra work out of planning and prepping, it is no wonder that families everywhere leap at the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the holiday magic.
For those of you reading who are not familiar with the York-Durham Heritage Railway, we want to impress upon you how valuable this little not-for-profit that could is to keeping our local history alive. YDHR is dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage of Canadian railways in South-Central Ontario. In the last decade it has expanded its offerings to appeal to a variety of ages and interests. From on-train Escape Room fun, to Craft Beer adventures, to all kinds of themed rides, there is something for everyone at YDHR. The DAY OUT WITH THOMAS™ event is a seasonal favourite for youngsters. This year, YDHR has launched THE POLAR EXPRESS™ and Wizards’ Festival. For these brand-new, immersive experiences, which are based on the major motion picture and the magical world of Harry Potter respectively, the railway brought in the services of three (three!) production companies. So, when it comes to supporting our local businesses and organizations, we are absolutely loving this kind of initiative to reach and encourage a new generation of railway enthusiasts.
“People make our Santa Train an annual tradition,” says Executive Director John Perks. “It is so popular that it pretty much always sells out.” The whole town of Uxbridge gets involved in the event, as well. For the last few years, select stores on the downtown strip have participated in the York Durham Headwaters-led Santa’s Passport, a scavenger hunt-style adventure that was available for purchase as an add-on package. This year, we hear that YDHR is orchestrating its own version of this popular feature (for details, please inquire with YDHR directly).
“I would highly recommend this Santa Train excursion,” says one Trip Advisor reviewer. “There’s a magician, balloons, singers, and Santa himself was a dear fellow and excellent with the kids. All the staff were welcoming and friendly, and the treats for the kids at the end was a nice touch. Keep up the great holiday tradition!”
Hurry up and book your ticket before this event is sold out. For ride times and ticket prices, visit www.ydhr.ca.