Wizards’ Festival at York-Durham Heritage Railway

Witches, warlocks, wizards and Harry Potter fans… you’re going to love this! October 26th and 27th is Wizards’ Festival at York-Durham Heritage Railway in Uxbridge. Whether you’re a family with kids looking to kick off your Halloween fun, or you’re one of those millions of muggle adults who grew up with your nose in J.K. Rowling’s beloved novels, here is your chance to immerse yourself into the realm of magic. The best part is that you don’t have to find Platform 9 ¾ to do it. Uxbridge is just an hour’s drive from Toronto (less than that if you happen to fly an enchanted vehicle).

Kids Boarding Train

Your general admission ticket gets you into the grounds, where you will have the opportunity to experience:

  • interactive magic shows
  • potions classes
  • exotic animals at Hagrid’s Hut
  • Enchanted Alley, where you can purchase things like robes, wands and magical bath bombs
  • workshops to learn how to defend yourself against the Dark Enemy
  • a horcrux maze
  • a 19+ area where you can enjoy special wizards’ brew, and more!

While your general admission ticket grants you access to the festival, your premium ticket gets you on board the Hallows Express to Goodwoodora Prison—for those of you muggles who live in Uxbridge, we bet you didn’t know there was a magical prison in the real-life town of Goodwood, did you? Those on board this enchanted train ride will need to help the ministry secretly transport two evil sorcerers from the prison to a more secure location, because they are hatching a plan to escape. There is no telling if the mission will be successful… but for those of us in York Durham Headwaters, we certainly have our fingers crossed.

YDHR strongly encourages guests to come dressed in their best wizarding costume—no muggle attire, the website says. Since the festival is so close to Halloween, this is a perfect time for families with young children to get into the costume spirit before the big day. If your children are struggling to come up with an idea of what to wear, Wizards’ Festival will be sure to give them some inspiration. But of course, dressing up is not just for kids. Adults of all ages can jump into the fun, too.

Wizard Costumes

Fans of the athletic side of the wizarding world will be thrilled to know that there will be a quidditch tournament hosted by Quidditch Canada. Yes, you read that right. The beloved magical contest invented by J.K. Rowling herself is now an authentic sport which has grown into an international sensation. Visitors to Wizards’ Festival will get to watch the Four Great Houses compete for the Wizards’ Cup, and the champion battle will take place Sunday afternoon.

As a bonus, ticket holders will have the opportunity to book a sit-down meal in the Great Hall provided by locally owned Pelican Catering. Don’t want to sit down and eat because there is just too much to see and do? Not to worry, there will be food trucks on-site as well.

York-Durham Heritage Railway has put considerable effort into making this event a truly magical and immersive experience. It is a further step in an evolution this not-for-profit, which is dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage of Canadian railways in South-Central Ontario, has experienced in the last decade to expand its offerings and appeal to a variety of ages and interests. From on-train Escape Room fun, to Craft Beer adventures, to themed and holiday rides, there is no end to the creativity of YDHR staff and volunteers. The Santa Train and A Day Out with Thomas experiences have seen astronomical success since their inceptions, and this year there will be a brand new Polar Express adventure in the works.

Santa Train
Day out with Thomas

For its Wizards’ Festival, York-Durham Heritage Railway has spared nothing to make the event truly magical. “We’ve hired two production companies—Shooting Stars and Jester Events,” says Executive Director John Perks. “Everyone has been going flat out on this project, and we’re excited to see it all come together.”

It is amazing to think that, ever since the Harry Potter novels emerged in the late 1990s, the fantasy world that author J.K. Rowling created has been embraced as a way of life by kids and adults the world over. “People love magic,” John Perks says. “It’s a real thing, the wizarding world. People take it seriously. That’s why we’re proud to offer a festival like this where we’ve put serious thought and effort into the experience that we’re providing.” This is no small-town country festival. It is a truly fantastical experience that we are sure will resonate with fans of magic for years to come.

Harry Potter Costume

If you love wizarding, then you won’t want to miss it! Book your tickets to Wizards’ Festival before this magical event is sold out.

General Admission: $24.99

Premium Pass:        $54.99

Address:                    York-Durham Heritage Railway |19 Railway St Uxbridge

Date & Time

Saturday October 26, 2019 | 10:00AM – 9:00PM

Sunday October 27, 2019 | 10:00AM – 9:00PM

Grounds are open for the Wizards’ Festival from 10:00AM until 9:00PM

Train Rides: Various Trips throughout the day.

Wizards’ Festival is not endorsed by Warner Brothers Pictures or J.K. Rowling

Story by Katherine Ryalen

Ryalen is a Durham-based author and lifestyle blogger. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

YDH Logo