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Hop on the Train to See Santa this Dec 21, 2013

Posted by Catherine and the Paws-itive Pets on December 16, 2013 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Dear Sprinkle Goodness Reader,

If you're visiting or live in the Huntsville, Ontario area...

...You can hop aboard a steam train to see Santa Claus!

This Saturday, December 21st, the historic steam train (known as The Portage Flyer) at Muskoka Heritage Place, takes you on a one-kilometer trip along the Muskoka River to the “North Pole.”

Once you arrive at the “North Pole,” you’ll see a festively-decorated cabin, and inside, you’ll wait in line, for your turn to meet Santa. Bring your camera. The last time Matt and I went there, there was no photographer. There was however, one of Santa’s helpers. She offered to take our picture with Santa, using our camera. You can see our memory of meeting Santa here.

The event is called a “Portage Flyer Christmas.” It’s a wonderful experience. It changed me and warmed my heart.

By this I mean, I did feel a little odd (at first) being an adult, waiting in line to meet Santa. Most people had children with them. But us? Just Matt and I, both in our 30s. And, the rational “grown up” side of me was saying something like, “It’s just someone dressed up as Santa.”

BUT when it was our turn to “meet” Santa, and he greeted us, I felt something change inside of me... All that wonder and belief I had as a kid came bubbling back. Here I was meeting Santa!!

If I remember correctly, I even had tears of joy filling up in my eyes. “The kid in me” was back!! I felt… really felt… the spirit of Christmas. I was reminded how magical this time of year is.

(I’m reminded too, by a mass we attended, that the reason for the Christmas season is Jesus. And, as much as I enjoyed meeting “Santa,” it is important for me to humbly remember that the birth of Jesus is why we celebrate Christmas.)

In the spiritual sense, I also believe that Santa represents Saint Nicholas (a Christian Bishop, known for his generosity in helping those in need).

Christmas is a special time of year, and we are hoping to take our niece to see Santa Claus at the “North Pole.”

The train ride to see Santa is only happening for one evening though. (Because, Santa, after all, has lots of work to do, as he prepares to deliver gifts on Christmas Eve!). So, here are more details if you’re interested in traveling in a train to see Santa:

  • WHEN: Saturday, December 21st, 2013

  • TIME: 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. (NOTE: The last train leaves at 7:30 pm)

  • PRICE: $5 per person; taxes included. (It’s the same price for kids and adults.) Matt paid by cash, for us. Also note – you can only buy tickets at the event. Just look for the line-up of people (it’s possible the line-up will already be so long, people are standing outside the train station).

Stand in line. And once you get inside the building, you’ll have an opportunity to buy tickets. Once you’ve got your ticket, it’s just a little more waiting until it’s your turn to board the train!

Here too, are...

5 Tips for a Memorable Train Ride to

See Santa in Muskoka -- a.k.a. the “North Pole”

1) Dress very, very, very warmly. Temperatures are expected to get as low as -11°C on Saturday (and since this a popular event, with lots of people attending, you might need to wait in line, outside, for a while). The train also has open-aired coaches (meaning, no glass windows; it really is cold air circulating through the sitting areas). So although it is a short train ride (maybe 5 minutes, or even less, in one direction) it is chilly.

2) Show up early. The first train leaves at 5 p.m. on December 21st. And, we plan on arriving for 4 p.m. I’m not even sure if this is enough time. I thought we were doing well for time the last time we attended. And, I was surprised to see a super-long line of people. But as a rule of thumb – showing up earlier = better!

3) Bring your camera. There was no photographer on site when we went previously. Just Santa’s helper. So, having your camera means Santa’s helper can use your camera to snap a great memory! (No camera means no visual memory.)

4) Love hot chocolate and cookies? If yes, this is another good reason to show up early! It is only right to take one (complimentary) hot chocolate and one cookie (okay, maybe two cookies) so there’s enough for everyone who attends.

5) Keep an eye out for the guestbook. Shortly before we entered the train station, we saw a guestbook outside and we signed it. Not sure if Santa saw it. But, it was fun signing it, proving Catherine and Matt really were going to the “North Pole!!”

This event is fun. If you go, I hope you have wonderful memories. And, if you’d like to share what your experience was like, I welcome your thoughts. You can comment on this blog or reach me here on the contact page.




Train Ride to the North Pole

Posted by Catherine and the Paws-itive Pets on February 2, 2013 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Dear Sprinkle Goodness Reader,


I know... Christmas season is now over...


But I’m a believer that if the spirit of Christmas lasted all year round – what a wonderful world this would be...


...and Elvis Presley captured this beautifully in his classic song, “If Every Day Was Like Christmas.”


So, ever since I started the Ontario blog section of my website last month, I’ve been bursting to share my Train Ride to the North Pole.


It was a few years ago, at the Muskoka Heritage Place in the town of Huntsville, Ontario.


Their Portage Flyer Train (a steam train) was transformed into a festively-decorated train (think: Polar Express!) that took passengers -- kids, parents, grandparents, couples, and anyone else “young at heart” -- to the “North Pole” to see Santa.


My husband treated us to the trip.


I’ll write more about our experience closer to Christmas 2013 and how meeting Santa reminded me of what the childlike “spirit of Christmas” really felt like again (yes, a little part of me had lost the feeling from “growing up” but seeing Santa brought it all back).


I look forward to sharing more, and how you can enjoy this experience too (I really hope the Muskoka Heritage Place http://www.muskokaheritageplace.org/en/ brings this back!).


Until then, enjoy the photos!





PS: Here are the photos...