Are you looking for some fun activities to do with your kids? There’s lots to do and see around Durham Region. In this post, we’re stepping back in time to showcase just a few of the unique experiences our region has to offer.
First, get your sea legs ready and come aboard the MV Woodman, docked in downtown Port Perry. This ship is operated by Scugog Island Cruises Ltd, a locally owned company that specializes in sightseeing and lunch cruises that highlight the history of steamships on the Trent Severn Waterway. They also offer dinner and dance cruises and are available for special events such as weddings.
The ship is named after one of the steamships that once operated on Lake Scugog in the 1800’s during the bustling logging trade, before road and railway transportation was common.
On July 12, come aboard with your family and lap dog in tow for Yappy Hour. This is a doggy costume party with a pirate theme. Prizes will be given away for the best dressed dogs, and a portion of the proceeds will be given to Animal Guardian Shelter and to the Uxbridge-Scugog Animal Shelter. Admission is $35.00 for adults, $14.16 for children, or $70.00 for a family (2 adults, 2 children, and 1 small dog), plus HST. Boarding is at 5:45 PM, cruising is from 6:00 to 7:30 PM, and the dockside portion of the event runs from 7:30 to 8:00 PM. To book your reservation, call 905-982-1106.
Next, it’s all aboard for another ride in a different kind of time machine. This time, we’re on a train trip operated by York-Durham Heritage Railway. They take passengers aboard their historical trains for a voyage over the Oak Ridges Moraine, with spectacular views of this ecologically significant geological area. You could ride in vintage coaches from the 1920’s or 1950’s, in the doors-open baggage car, or with the crew in a classic red caboose. An upgraded ticket is required to ride the caboose. Visit the York-Durham Heritage Railway website or email Caboose@YDHR.ca for information.
Regular trips operate on Sundays from June to the end of October. Additional trips run on Saturdays during the fall; this is a great time of year to ride and take in the beautiful autumn colours. The York-Durham Heritage Railway also runs special theme train trips throughout the year.
Train trips also have activities aboard such as face painting and balloon animals for the kids, a snackbar, and onboard trip commentary. Fares are $24.00 for adults, $22.00 for seniors (65+) and teens (13-17 yrs), $16.00 for children (2-12 yrs), and $69.00 for a family (2 adults, 2-3 children). Children under 2 ride free. Prices quoted are for round trips; one-way tickets are available at the station and are subject to availability.
Corporate and Private bookings are also available for your meeting or special event. Go to the YDHR Private Bookings page for additional information.
Our third stop for this post is at the Oshawa Community Museum and Archives. This organization preserves the history of the City of Oshawa, starting from the first native settlements thousands of years ago, to the present day. The museum is located among three historically designated buildings, known as Guy House, Henry House, and Robinson House, as well as a newly constructed building and Heritage Gardens.
Guy House was the home of Harbour Master James Odgers Guy and is typical of a frame farm house in the 1830‘s. It houses the museum archives, the gift shop, and the museum’s administration.
Henry House was the home of Thomas Henry, a local minister and veteran of the War of 1812. He is credited as a significant contributor to the development of Port Oshawa. The house was in the Henry family from 1850 until 1920. The house portrays the lifestyle of the Henry family from the 1850’s to the 1890’s.
Robinson House was built by John Robinson in the early 1850’s. It now houses a series of themed exhibits and galleries which focus on topics ranging from native settlement through to the early 20th century.
The Anniversary Drive Shed was built and opened in 2009 as an additional area for exhibits, particularly some of the museum’s large artifacts.
Heritage Gardens is behind Henry House. It features herbal plots used for growing culinary, medicinal, dye and tea herbs, and illustrates how the herbs would have been used and why. There are also two designated heritage trees on site, recognized by Trees Ontario.
Regular admission to the Oshawa Community Museum is $3.00 for adults, $1.00 for children, $2.00 for seniors, and $7.00 for family. Admission for Oshawa Historical Society members is free. The museum is open year round; from September to June the administrative office is open from Tuesday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM and the museum gallery is open on Sundays and from Tuesday to Friday from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. For July and August, the administrative office is open from Monday to Friday (8-4) and the museum gallery is open 7 days a week, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Upcoming events at the Oshawa Community Museum include a Summer Victorian Tea on July 26 and on August 16 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. The cost is $10.00 per person; reservations are required. Also, on Wednesdays throughout July and August, drop in with the kids for crafts from 12 to 4 PM. For a complete outline of events and services for the 2012 season, download the events flyer.
The Oshawa Community Museum and Archives programming includes school programs for elementary, high school, and post secondary institutions, outreach presentations, children’s programs for PA days, March break, and summer, themed birthday parties for children, themed Victorian teas, and annual Canada Day, Halloween, and Christmas events, as well as tours of Henry and Robinson Houses and the Oshawa: Tour Through Time gallery in Guy House.
If you are looking for a unique volunteer opportunity, the museum is currently looking for volunteers to staff positions such as Historical Interpreter, Education/Special Events Assistant, Collections Assistant, Gardener, and Maintenance Assistant. You can also support the museum by becoming a member of the Oshawa Historical Society, or through the Garden Brick project, the Henry House Bequest Fund, and the Special Gifts and Memorial Fund.
Members of the Oshawa Historical Society receive free admission to the Oshawa Community Museum and a 15% discount at the Museum gift shop. Members are also invited to attend monthly meetings from September to May, where they can meet and socialize with other members and attend historical presentations.
What are your favourite historical places or events within Durham Region? Share them with us in the comments!