The Lucy Maud Montgomery Trail is all about setting the stage for people to follow in the footsteps of Lucy Maud Montgomery, famed writer of the “Anne of Green Gables” Series
Take it from us, Ontario tourism organizations have been incredibly hard at work to bring forth new initiatives to satiate the appetite of Ontarians that want to explore their province more deeply and profoundly, but also, of course, safely. A campaign which clearly demonstrates that is the establishment of the The Lucy Maud Montgomery Trail by Discover Uxbridge and York Durham Headwaters.
The Lucy Maud Montgomery Trail allows you to follow in the footsteps of the world-renowned author of Anne of Green Gables, as you take an approximately two-hour drive through some of the important places in her life, as well as making some detours to local businesses along the way.
The neat part about all this – is you can listen along on your mobile device to a podcast about her life in the Uxbridge area from 1911-to-1926, a span of 15 years that was a tumultuous time for the world in many respects but also represented arguably the most prolific writing period of her life.
Dedicated readers of Ultimate Ontario may remember that we just recently did an in-depth article on the Leaskdale Manse, the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery during her time in this area, so we’d encourage you to read that article as well if you’re a fan of this Canadian literary giant.
In a recent Toronto Star article, Lisa-John Mackenzie, the Tourism Development Coordinator for the Township of Uxbridge, summed up the spirit of the campaign perfectly:
“For Lucy Maud Montgomery enthusiasts, history buffs, and fans of Anne of Green Gables, the Lucy Maud Montgomery Trail provides a safe and fun way to get out to explore our area and hear the incredible story through Maud’s voice of what life was like for the famous author living here 100 years ago.”
What Are the Stops on the Lucy Maud Montgomery Trail?
Below, we’ll provide a brief overview of the stops that are included on the Lucy Maud Montgomery Trail, and when you’re ready to head off to explore the trail, you can use this link here, and simply click “Start the Lucy Maud Montgomery Trail.”
You arrive at a stop and hit play. Easy as pie.
- The Uxbridge Train Station: This train station is one of the most notable historic landmarks in Uxbridge, as well as being home to the York Durham Heritage Railway, which actually operates themed tourist train excursions (that are really fun we might add). Lucy first arrived in the area at this train station all the way back in 1911, and she would use the station frequently to go to and fro between Uxbridge and Toronto.
The train station has been wonderfully restored, and we honestly can’t get enough of the heritage coaches that date back to the 1950s.
- The Thomas Foster Memorial: The Thomas Foster Memorial was built in 1935-1936 by former Toronto mayor Thomas Foster. It was built as a tribute to his wife and daughter. The structure, now serving as a small performing arts venue, tourist attraction, and backdrop for movies, was inspired by Foster’s trip to India, so it’s kind of like our province’s little Taj Mahal!
Next to the Memorial is the Foster Cemetery, which is the resting spot for Hugh Macdonald, the infant son of Maud and Ewan.
- The Leaskdale Church & Boarding House: This was the church that brought Lucy to the community since her husband Ewan was a reverend there. The church was bought by the Lucy Maud Montgomery Society of Ontario (LMMSO) in 2006 and is now an interpretive centre and community hub for all things Lucy Maud Montgomery.
- The Leaskdale Manse: The home of L.M Montgomery and a National Historic Site of Canada. Visiting the Leaskdale Manse is a way that you can go back in time for a moment, and head to the very room where she crafted so many of the words that we’ve come to know so well all these years later. If you want to learn more, read our article all about the Leaskdale Manse.
- Leask Farm: This farm property is where George Leask settled in the mid-1800s, and why the town itself was called Leaskdale! She used to come here to get fresh eggs to bring back to the Leaskdale Manse.
- The Leaskdale Store: This was once the site of a hotel built by Thomas Foster’s father, John Foster, and it was where Lucy Maud would pick up her groceries and mail. Today, it’s a gas bar and convenience store that we’re told has some great, authentic Indian cuisine on offer as well.
- St. Paul’s Church: Here you’ll find a relatively new church (in structure) that belongs to a congregation that has a history that extends beyond a century. A church just up the road from where Ewan Macdonald had been a minister.
- The Leaskdale School: For nearly 90 years, children from around the area attended school here, including Lucy Maud Montgomery’s boys, Stuart and Chester. The school was demolished in 1967, but you’ll find the placard here on your way over to Zephyr.
- The Zephyr Presbyterian Church: This former Presbyterian Church was actually Ewan Macdonald’s second congregation. Maud and Ewan would travel here from Leaskdale by horse and buggy at first, and then by car later. It’s now a private home that actually still uses the original platform and pulpit as part of an ingenious little studio area.
- The Zephyr United Church: Before taking off from Zephyr, set eyes on this church, which was originally a Methodist Church in the time of Maud and Ewan. With the audio, you’ll also hear about a car crash that took place here.
Before taking off to your next stop on the Lucy Maud Montgomery Trail, you may want to check out Banjo Cider Co., Concession 6 Studio, or Greenmantle Pottery, especially if you’re looking to take home a souvenir with you!
- The Uxbridge Historical Centre: It’s exactly what you think it might be – a place that’s dedicated to preserving and displaying the history and heritage of Uxbridge Township. It’s a nearly five-acre site that features multiple indoor and outdoor spaces that will provide immense context to Lucy Maud’s life in the area, and your visit to the area at large.
- The Uxbridge Public Library & Welcome Centre: Stop 12 is the Uxbridge Public Library, which has now been serving the Township of Uxbridge for over 125 years. It was one of the most noted and distinctive landmarks of the area in Maud’s time, and it still is today! Take note of the Clock Tower, which still chimes daily.
- Brock Street & The Sam Sharpe Statue: 100 years ago Uxbridge’s downtown core was a bustling shopping hub, and it still is today. Walk around and see for yourself, and be sure to stop in at Blue Heron Books and the Bridge Social for their special Anne and Maud experience.
Also set eyes on the Sam Sharpe Memorial Statue, which commemorates Sam Sharpe, a Colonel who raised a battalion from the Uxbridge area and led them to Europe to fight valiantly in WWI. We at Ultimate Ontario thank all Canadian soldiers, past and present, for their service.
- Dr. Shier’s House: Dr. Shier was a prominent doctor in the area and a member of the town council. His patients included the likes of Lucy Maud Montgomery and her family.
- Uxbridge Music Hall: Your final stop on the tour will bring you to Uxbridge Music Hall, which is one of most noted landmarks in downtown Uxbridge. Be sure to listen to the information about the Music Hall and the “final word from Maud.”
The Lucy Maud Montgomery Trail Awaits!
We hope our overview has inspired you to learn more both about Lucy Maud Montgomery, and the region at large. The beauty of this project is that you can do this on your own terms and on your own time, yet it’s remarkably intimate as if Maud was right in the car with you.
You can easily spend an entire day following the trail, and add in excuses here and there to stop for coffee, lunch, or perhaps even do a little shopping.
At Ultimate Ontario, we’re all about seeing this province with new eyes wherever possible, and we commend the efforts of this initiative to encourage us all to do the same and, in this case, to hear the province with new ears.
We want to humbly thank York Durham Headwaters and the Leaskdale Manse for hosting us as media. All opinions are completely my own.
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Christopher Mitchell is the Cofounder of Ultimate Ontario. He’s visited over 80 countries, and has lived on 4 continents, but now has his eyes set squarely on exploring this incredible province, and helping others do the same.