Uxbridge has been officially designated as The Trail Capital of Canada, in recognition of the extensive and growing network of trails throughout the township.
Nine Town Trails in and around the town of Uxbridge link into a growing network of Countryside Trails linking the smaller communities, and tying into two major trails that intersect in the township – the Trans-Canada Trail and the Oak Ridges Trail. There are also extensive trails through public lands managed by Durham Region and the two Conservation Authorities.
There are trails for all abilities, ages and interests – walkers, serious hikers, cyclists, equestrians, the physically challenges, runners, skiers and limited trails for snowmobilers. The trails take you through a wide variety of natural habitats – rolling meadows, wetlands, dense woodlands and ponds, as well as some housing developments and historic streets.
Welcome to the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve - 140 acres of rolling meadowland, woodlands, wetlands and ponds . . . criss-crossed by 6 kms. of marked trails. It is situated on the Oak Ridges Moraine in an area protected and classified in the Provincial Moraine Plan as ‘core’ because such lands contain the greatest concentration of key natural heritage features. The Preserve is just south of the urban boundary of Uxbridge, right behind the major shopping complex on Highway 47 at Concession 6. It is truly “Where the Countryside comes to Town”.
Trail Numbered posts are at trail intersections and markers key locations. Each post has a trail map, with a “You are here” indicator. The posts have a sloping top, with the slope oriented towards the North. Also, there are blaze markers, with directional arrows to help you follow the trails.
Access The main access point, with a parking lot and kiosk containing trail information, is at the end of the short road between Rona and Wal-Mart in the shopping complex on Highway 47 at Concession 6. Access (but no parking) is also provided via an access trail from Elgin Park Drive, part of which is shared with snowmobile club users in winter. Private land owners have generously allowed access - please respect private property and stay on the designated trail. There is also access (with very limited parking, and none in winter) from Concession 6 just south of Highway 47 via a short diagonal dead-end road.
Departing from marked trails is permitted in meadowland and in open plantation forested areas. Please stay on designated trails in other forested areas, and near wetlands and private property.
Do not create new trails
Do not pick or damage vegetation.
Please keep your dog on the leash for safety and wildlife reasons
Cyclists yield to hikers. Sections of the access trail from Elgin Park Drive are quite narrow and cyclists should exercise caution.
Carry out all garbage and litter
Do not light fires
Do not feed or aggressively approach wildlife, including birds
Trail Safety / Information Numbers
Police / Emergency Services: 911, Township Office: (905) 852-9181. Volunteer involvement and financial support
This and other trail systems in Uxbridge Township are being extended, maintained and financially supported by the Municipality, Conservation Authorities and other public bodies and private volunteers/donors. This volunteer involvement and private financial support is critical to the maintenance and further development of a comprehensive network of Town and Countryside Trails.
Please consider donating to this effort.
Donations may be made to Uxbridge Township – attention Parks, Recreation and Culture Director Ingrid Svelnis, along with a notation on the cheque indicating “Trails”. A charitable tax receipt will be issued for donations over $25. Please also contact Ingrid (905 852-9181) if you wish to be involved as a volunteer or have suggestions with respect to the trail system.
The paths are all paved, with the exception of the section around the pond. For a longer route, there are connections to the south to the South Balsam Trail (see map), and to the north to the Quaker Trail. The route takes you through the residential areas, including the original farm homestead, which is now integrated into the development, and the magnificent Butternut tree that gives the development its name.
Until recently, this area had been farmland from the days of its earliest settlement. Dr. Allan Beswick is listed as the first owner of the land (1805). The old homestead (see map) dates back to 1859. As with many of the oldest houses in Uxbridge, members of the founding Gould family lived there. The old barn was built in 1896 by Isaac Gould. The house was originally just what is now the back section, and was built of stacked hemlock timbers. The front section was a house moved from around the Anglican Church in the 1890's. More recently, the Forsythe family farmed the land from 1913 to 1968. Carol and Wain Trotter acquired the house and surrounding acreage in 1982, and raised sheep there until 2004, when the present development was started. The ancient butternut tree that gives its name to the community still stands beside the farm house.
The Butternut Trail has been generously sponsored by Alliance Homes Inc. and Butternut Manor Uxbridge Inc.
1. A pathway leads from the trail to the Uxbridge-Scott Museum, a treasure trove of information and artifacts relating to Uxbridge’s past, when it was a small but thriving hamlet. The museum is the site of the first school in the township, a log building built in 1817. This was replaced by a frame schoolhouse, which was in turn replaced by a brick building (1924), which now stands in the museum “village”. There are also displays depicting three prominent residents: Lucy Maude Montgomery, who wrote the “Anne of Green Gables” children’s books; Glenn Gould, world-renowned pianist, and artist David Milne. Picnic tables are available on the grounds, and lots of room for kids to play.
2. This area was where Joseph Gould, one of Uxbridge’s pioneers, built his home. The Gould family owned all the land covered by the trail, and sold parts of it in 1914 to the Carmody family, who farmed the land until selling it in 1952. It continued to be used as pasture land until the 1980’s, when the Quaker Village development started. Note the “Carmody” name on a nearby street.
3. After a short section along Bolton Drive (where on-street parking is permitted), the trail heads south into Quaker Common, with an alternate path to the right as you approach the pond.
4. The Quaker Common pond is man-made, designed as a storm-water runoff pond to contain rainwater drainage from the entire Quaker Village area. The pond has developed into a natural wetland area, with blue herons, many other bird species, and many species of fish, including bluegill, perch, sunfish and largemouth bass. A large snapping turtle also makes his home there.
5. As the trail turns to the right, there is a pathway leading to the Uxbridge Arena and Community Centre, where you will find public washrooms.
6. Children’s playground - a play break for the kids and a rest for parents.
7. If you have a hunger or a thirst, the Quaker Village convenience store may be a refreshing stop.
8. Trail signs direct you along an easy path, but you might want to take an alternate path, which has a modest slope up to a slight ridge, where . . .
9. . . . you should stop and take in one of the best panoramic views of Uxbridge and the Oak Ridges Moraine to the south. This will give you a good idea of the rolling hills and woodlands that form most of the Oak Ridges Moraine. The trail leads you back to No. 1 at the museum
10. And finally . . . who is this Colonel Sharpe? (The trail follows Col. Sharpe Crescent as an alternate route, providing a shorter loop). Sam Sharpe (born 1872) was a prominent lawyer and Member of Parliament who raised a local regiment to fight in World War I. He became sick overseas and returned to Canada in 1918. He never made it home to Uxbridge, but died in Montreal. Other street names: Rachel Lee was Joseph Gould’s mother, and Milne Court is named after artist David Milne, who lived and worked in an upstairs apartment on Brock Street for many years.
The Uxbridge Town Trail system is a network of interconnected trails in the urban area, that will also connect to major trails to the south (the Trans- Canada Trail and the Oak Ridges Trail). The Town Trails aim to help residents to appreciate the beauty of their town, to link the various sections of the town together for walkers and bikers, to encourage healthy outdoor exercise, and to foster an appreciation of the natural environment.
The Town Trail system is a program of the Township of Uxbridge in association with volunteer groups. Historical information courtesy of the Uxbridge Historical Centre.
The Quaker Trail wends its way around the Quaker Village residential area in northwest Uxbridge, passing through some of the most historic areas of the town’s past, with access to the Uxbridge-Scott Museum. The trail may be entered from a number of access points. The following description therefore refers to the numbers on the map. There is access to another Town Trail, the 2.5 km. South Balsam Trail, across Brock St.
The South Balsam Trail provides a variety of walking, running or cycling experience, with about half of the trail wending its way through some thick, old-growth forest and open, newly-reforested fields, and about half returning along town streets. The trail provides benches for peaceful relaxation and observation of wildlife, as well as access to ponds and a children’s playground.
1. The “head of trail” sign in the Beechwood Parkette marks the start of the trail, although it may be entered at any point along its route. The large sign shows the route of the trail, and its link with the Quaker Trail to the north.
2. Turn right at Forsythe Drive, at the foot of which the trail enters the natural area. The path leads immediately along a boardwalk across a wetland section, where typical wetland wildlife may be seen. Forsythe Drive was named after the family that acquired much of the land in this area around 1915. The large barn visible between the houses along Forsythe Drive dates from that era. Members of the Forsythe family still live in the area, but not on this property. The history of this area goes back to 1805, when the land in this area was granted by the Crown to Dr. Christopher Beswick. He was the first medical doctor north of the Oak Ridges Moraine. He was not a Quaker, but interestingly he lived in Catawissa, Pennsyslvania before moving to the Uxbridge area. Catawissa is the town “twinned” with Uxbridge. Beswick Lane is named after him.
3. The trail enters a stand of old-growth forest featuring some very large trees. Identification plaques on specimen trees will be instructional for walkers or for school field trips. The Collins family bought the land from Dr. Beswick. Perhaps much of the original forest survived because John Collins was very protective of his woods. The Uxbridge Historical Centre has reference to a notice posted in 1840: “Take note - whereas several persons have been in the habit of cutting timber on . . . lot 30 . . . Notice is hereby given that any person trespassing after this notice will be prosecuted according to the Law. I hereby forbid any person cutting or taking away any timber or firewood from the said half lot. John Collins”.
4. The trail leads to a more open area that has been recently reforested, with extensive planting of evergreen trees. The reforestation is part of the Uxbridge Brook Watershed restoration project. A donated bench provides a resting place.
5. A pond provides for many recreational activities, including ice skating in the winter, tadpole and frog catching in the spring, and bird-watching all year. Common visitors include Canada geese, blue herons, yellow finches and redwinged blackbirds, as well as deer and muskrats. A pair of benches provides a comfortable place for resting or quiet observation of life around the pond.
6. A children’s playground a few steps off the trail permits kids to let off a little steam.
7. The trail continues, leaving its natural section and emerging into South Cedar St., then heads west (left) at Brock Street. Stay on Brock St. until reaching South Balsam St., where the trail heads back to the starting point.
Connection to the Quaker Trail - At the two points marked 8, you can connect with the Quaker Trail, another of the Uxbridge Town Trails. The head of- trail sign describing this 2.5 km. trail is located near the illuminated sign at the entrance to the arena. Or you can connect with the trail by crossing Brock St. at the lights, and then follwing the Quaker Trail markers.
The Uxbridge Town Trail system is a network of trails in the urban area that will also connect to major trails to the south (the Trans-Canada Trail and the Oak Ridges Trail). The Town Trails aim to help residents to appreciate the beauty of their town, to link the various sections of the town together for walkers and bikers, to encourage healthy outdoor exercise, and to foster an appreciation of the natural environment. The Town Trail program is an initiative of the “Uxbridge, Naturally” group.
The Town Trail system is a program of the Township of Uxbridge in association with volunteer groups. Historical information is provided by the Uxbridge Historical Centre.
1. The “head of trail” sign at the eastern entrance to the Wooden Sticks development (on Elgin Park Drive) marks the start of the trail, although it may be entered at any point along its route. The large sign shows the route of the trail and describes some of the features. It is here that residents of Shobrook Gardens can join the trail by means of an access path from the building.
2. Walking along the shoulder of Elgin Park Drive, you come to the main entrance into the Estates of Wooden Sticks, which may be worth a detour to view the houses and the many exquisite gardens. Across the road is the Wooden Sticks Golf Club, one of the top golf courses in Canada. It features a number holes that replicate famous holes from the world’s best-known courses. Golfers may recognize the infamous “Island Green” from Sawgrass, or the “Postage Stamp” hole No. 17 from Troon or the tricky 12th hole from Augusta. Drop in to visit the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame, or perhaps for a meal or snack - they have a great Sunday brunch. The history of the area records that some of the land now occupied by the housing development was sold in 1835 to Abraham Acton, and then to Edward Acton in 1872, and to Isaac J. Gould the next year. The Acton and Gould names are still familiar in the Uxbridge area.
3. The trail turns north (left) onto a gravel path that leads into Elgin Park, Uxbridge’s main municipal park. Further into the park, there are public washrooms and a play area for children. The history of Elgin Park goes back to the 1860’s, when folk from the hamlet of Uxbridge went for picnics in what was then known as the “South Woods”. In 1873, a public company bought 13 acres from Isaac Gould to make a public park that became known as Elgin Park (named after Lord Elgin, James Bruce, Governor General of Canada from 1846-54). More land was purchased in 1877 and 1888 to enlarge the park, and a halfmile racetrack was built in 1881. In 1876, a campaign picnic in connection with a byelection in the area was addressed by Sir John A. Macdonald; it was so successful that he organized similar picnics elsewhere, and won the byelection.
Note that the route through the park is closed four times a year for major events (Fall Fair etc.), and an alternate route via Joseph St. may be taken (see map).
4. Just past the exhibit buildings, turn left and join Isaac Court. Proceed to the end of Isaac Court, and follow the trail to the large pond (5). This is a manmade pond, designed to handle stormwater runoff from the housing development. It is a haven for birds and other wildlife, and a great skating pond.
6. The trail veers to the right just past the pond into a heavily wooded area, through which a path has been cut. This path enables you to enjoy a “deep woods” experience just a few steps from the road and the houses. It runs along a ridge beside a stream, with its own beaver dam. This secluded path wends through some 400 metres of thick woods, and emerges at Elgin Park Drive, back at the “head of trail” sign.
A major contribution to the development of this trail was made by Brookfield Homes Limited, developer of the Estates of Wooden Sticks, and most of the trail clearing was undertaken by residents of the development.
The Wooden Sticks Trail provides a varied walking, running or cycling experience. It includes a section cut through a dense wooded area, a section through Elgin Park, with nearby play areas (and washrooms), and a part that cuts through and around the Estates of Wooden Sticks housing development and its large pond. The well-known Wooden Sticks Golf Club is across the road, and there is an access path from the Shobrook Gardens residence for seniors.
1. The “head of trail” sign at the corner of Main Street and Mill Street marks the start of the trail, although it may be entered at any point. The sign shows the route of the trail and describes some of the features. The route skirts around the north end of Elgin Pond - note the “zig-zag” steel bird and bat-house sculpture by local artist Ron Baird - and then south along Water Street, at the end of which it enters Elgin Park.
2. Elgin Park is Uxbridge’s main municipal park, where there are public washrooms and a play area for children close to the trail route. The history of Elgin Park goes back to the 1860s, when folk from the hamlet of Uxbridge went for picnics in what was then known as the “South Woods”. It became a public park in 1873, named after Lord Elgin, James Bruce, Governor General of Canada from 1846-54. More land was purchased in 1877 and 1888 to enlarge the park, and a half-mile racetrack was built in 1881. In 1876, a campaign picnic in connection with a byelection in the area was addressed by Sir John A. Macdonald; it was so successful that he organized similar picnics elsewhere, and won the byelection.
3. The trail winds through a wooded section at the south end of Elgin Park,then along a delightful grassy path and around Bass Pond (yes, there are bass in it), which is a stormwater holding pond for the Wooden Sticks area. The trail crosses Main Street (or Concession 7) - cross with care - and leads into . . .
4. A densely wooded area, and over a bridge that crosses the Uxbridge Brook as it flows north into Mill Pond.
5. A picturesque park has been established around another holding pond at the foot of Ewen Drive, with benches where you can relax. This whole area was farmed by the Ewen family (Rae and Marion) in the mid-1900s. Hence the names of Ewen Drive and Marion Drive. The trail continues along East street (once the eastern edge of town), and takes a short jog along Reach Street (or Reach Road), an early settlement road. Head north again along Capstick Lane, named after Lloyd Capstick, a local barber for many years who was named Citizen of the Year in 1992 for his many volunteer activities.
6. The trail passes beside Bonner Fields, named recently to honour Brent Bonner, an ardent sports lover and coach, who died in a car accident in 2003.
7. Heading along Third Avenue towards Planks Lane, you will see two streets of “wartime housing” at the southeast corner, built in the late 1940s. Note the lack of roof overhangs etc. as a saving on materials. Along Planks Lane are some of Uxbridge’s fine old houses, many from the 1800s. Planks Lane is named after John Plank who acquired 100 acres there around 1825. He built a tavern across from the present Music Hall, and sold lots to many businesses, making the street the main street (hence the name) of the town at that time.
8. Turning onto Main Street, note the third house on the east side. It was originally built as a Methodist Episcopal Church on Bascom St., and was moved to its present location in 1878. It became the Free Methodist Church, and was closed as a church in 1976 when a new Free Methodist Church was built on Reach Road. Notice that the house still retains the look of a church. The Ewen Trail is a 3.4 km. loop covering a wide variety of countryside and urban scenery, including three ponds, a section through Uxbridge’s main municipal park, a route through some thickly wooded areas, and a walk along streets containing some of Uxbridge’s most historic homes.
Note that the route through the park is closed four times a year for major events (Fall Fair, Highland Games etc.) An alternate route down Main Street may be taken (see map), but care should be taken because of traffic, particularly at the narrow bridge across the ponds.
Access: The trail is mostly on paved streets, but some sections through Elgin Park may be unsuitable for disability scooters and wheelchairs. However, many of the historical information plaques are on streets and universally accessible.
The trail goes south past the Trans-Canada Trail Pavilion, and through the Ruth Cooper Bird Sanctuary (note the plaque). The trail crosses over a stream and travels south on Pond Street, then turns right at Mill Street.
A historical information plaque (2) shows the area as it once was, and tells how Joseph Gould developed mills in the area, and drew up the early town plan. Follow a route south on Joseph St., then west on Wilson and south on James, and you’ll come to Isaac Court. Turn right, and at the end there’s a historical information plaque (3) that tells the story of the Electric Light Pond - how it got its name, and pictures and history of the old mill (and later electricity generating station) that was driven by water from the pond. As you’ll see, this area was out in the country, where the highway (now Durham Highway 47) was a gravel road. Follow the trail marker signs through the park area, and along Button Crescent, turning left onto Joseph St. again, then immediately right into Elgin Park. A historical information plaque (4) shows pictures of the park from the early years of the last century, including its use as a harness racing track. The history of the park is described, going back to the 1860s. The trail takes you to the south end of Elgin Pond, where you’ll find a cleared area where you can rest a while, with a good view looking north up the length of the pond. There’s a picnic table there, as well as a historical information plaque (5) giving information about Elgin Pond -- why it was formed and how it provided much of the water power on which early industry in Uxbridge was based. The trail takes you out of Elgin Park and onto Water Street on the west side of Elgin Pond. Water St. contains some fine old houses from the late 19th Century. At the corner of Water St. and Mill St. is a historical information plaque (6) that focuses on the early mills in the area (oat mill, woollen mill). Pictures show the large oat mill, and explains how the little square building still standing formed part of the milling process. Continue north across Mill Street and follow Bascom Street. Travel north on Bascom until you see a narrow walkway on your left opposite Poplar Street. Follow it to get back to Centennial Park and your starting point. You can enter the trail anywhere, but the description in this brochure begins in the middle of Centennial Park, where a historical information plaque (1 on map) depicts the area as it once was. The spot where you stand was part of Uxbridge's original pond, which was no longer needed for water power by the late 1940s. By that time, it had reverted to being a creek, and the pond bottom became the town's dump. As a Centennial project in 1967, the former pond site and dump became Centennial Park.
The Uxbridge Town Trail system is a network of trails in the urban area that will also connect to major trails to the south (the Trans-Canada Trail and the Oak Ridges Trail). The Town Trails aim to help residents to appreciate the beauty of their town, to link the various sections of the town together for walkers and bikers, to encourage healthy outdoor exercise, and to foster an appreciation of the natural environment. The Town Trail program is an initiative of the “Uxbridge, Naturally” group. The Town Trail system is a program of the Township of Uxbridge in association with volunteer groups. Historical information is provided by the Uxbridge Historical Centre.
The Historic Trail was created as a project of the Rotary Club of Uxbridge, to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of Rotary International. Generous support also came from the Uxbridge-Scott Historical Society.
The Historic Trail winds through the oldest part of Uxbridge. The feature of this trail is the series of six historical information plaques (see map) that describe Uxbridge life in “the old days” and illustrate what the town looked like, using old photographs and maps.
Maple Bridge Trail (1.5 km), sponsored by Mason Homes, runs along the path of a stream, through lush woodlands with a number of wooden bridges. It is a single path, with a crushed stone base and has an easy connection to Quaker Trail.