Jump to: Pickering Ajax Whitby Oshawa Bowmanville Port Perry & Uxbridge Map
Discover Durham Region by traveling through the historic rural towns and bustling small cities that line the shores of Lake Ontario. Heading north, you’ll meander through tree-canopied roads to find a variety of cultural hidden gems. If you’re a history buff, this trek is for you.
Pickering Museum Village
Saturday, 10am-4:30pm, and Sunday, noon-4:30pm
Step back in time at this living history museum, featuring buildings from the 19th century and interpretive guided tours.
Pickering Nautical Village
Ahoy there, traveler! Ditch the wheels for a quick paddle around the Marina on a canoe or kayak. Lost your sea legs? Stay on shore and take a stroll around the Waterfront Trail of this picturesque bay.
Friday evening, three tours, registration required
Wind back the clock with this historic walking tour. You’ll meet a handful of Ajacians from yesteryear who will guide you through the area’s history and illuminate the evening with tales of old.
There’s more of the natural world to discover in Ajax than you might think—with giant trees and peaceful shorelines, Rotary Park is the perfect place for a lakeside walk.
Running all weekend
The Lynde House was built in 1812, and within its first year served as a supply outpost and inn for British and First Nations militias fighting in the War of 1812. Now a mainstay in the cultural community of Whitby, Lynde House offers tours, education programs, and historic re-enactments—some of which you can catch over the Culture Days weekend!
Located in Whitby’s old Grand Trunk Railway Station since 1970, the Gallery remains an important hub for the city’s visual arts community. For Culture Days, they will lead a family art-making activity—be prepared to get messy (smocks provided!) and have fun making your own take-home souvenir.
Places to eat and stay
Various locations • Saturday, 10am-4pm
Take part in the provincial Doors Open celebration in Oshawa. It’s a great opportunity to explore heritage sites, some of which aren’t typically open to the public.
We recommend stopping by the Canadian Automotive Museum as part of Doors Open. The museum is located in a former 1920s car dealership, where they specialize in four-wheeled history. Learn about Clara Dennis, one of Canada’s first travel writers—maybe you’ll get inspired to document your own Culture Trek journey!
Robert McLaughlin Gallery
Open all weekend, free admission
Named for Oshawa resident and founder of General Motors, this gallery features a vast collection of Modern and Contemporary Canadian art. A must-visit!
Clarke Schoolhouse • Saturday, 11am-3pm
The Clarington Museum manages three historic sites: the Sarah Jane Williams Heritage Centre, Waverley Place, and the Clarke Schoolhouse—each tells stories of 19th and early-20th century life in Bowmanville and Clarington.
For Culture Days, stop by the Clarke Schoolhouse to explore a turn of the century blacksmith shop, practice grinding grain with old machinery, and make your own hand-dipped candles.
Visual Arts Centre of Clarington • Saturday and Sunday, 11am-6pm
This annual festival brings together the wider community to highlight and support local artists. Learn more about the concentrated artistic talent of this area while indulging in delicious snacks, discovering local brewers, and listening to some top-notch musicians.
We would be remiss not to mention the incredible venue—nestled in a forested valley, the VAC is located in a lovingly restored old mill. You could spend an entire afternoon exploring the hidden corners and upper gallery spaces.
Places to eat and stay
Time to head North! Relax and enjoy the scenery as you drive about 35 minutes up to Port Perry. Located on the shores of Lake Scugog, Port Perry boasts a Victorian-era downtown that you’ll definitely want to spend some time in.
Port Perry & Uxbridge
Be sure to allow plenty of time to explore this Culture Days hub, with over 20 events happening throughout the day—you can expect an interdisciplinary and intercultural experience, with hands-on workshops, musical performances, storytelling, games, and more!
Meta4 Contemporary Craft Gallery
Friday and Saturday, 10am-5pm
META4 proudly features the work of over 120 Ontario artists and artisans. With an active year-round studio program, the Gallery has become an essential meeting place for artists and the artistically-inclined since 2005. Pop in and see what’s on display.
Port Perry Lakefront Farmers’ Market
Port Perry Waterfront, Palmer Park • Saturday, 8am-2pm
Enjoy this lively weekly farmers’ market and relax in Port Perry’s lakefront Palmer Park.
Places to eat and stay
Where is your favourite place to go to find inspiration and indulge your mind?
I find inspiration in seeing the work of other artists and their studio spaces, so visiting exhibitions at the Scugog Arts Gallery and Kent Farndale Gallery (at the Scugog Memorial Public Library) is a must.
What should people know about the arts and culture community in Port Perry?
Scugog punches above its weight! We’ve got Town Hall Theatre—home to a professional theatre company and two theatre groups. There’s two public art galleries, a jazz club hosted at venues around town, a folk music presenter at a village community centre, and even a brewery that hosts arts parties, live music and lots of unique special events.
Best place to grab a cup of coffee or a pint?
The best place for a coffee is Queen Beans and then around the corner is Old Fame Brewery for my favourite Blond.
What are the benefits of staying local/in the area rather than moving to a larger city like Toronto?
We love Toronto for its dance, shopping, theatre, restaurants and music scene, but being here is like being in one of Toronto’s best walkable neighborhoods without the traffic.
What is the ideal way to spend a sunny, fall day in Port Perry?
Hiking on one of the many trails in the countryside or along the lake, going apple picking at Nature’s Bounty and eating on the patio at Marwan’s Global Bistro or Foundry Kitchen & Bar.
After getting to know Port Perry, continue northbound into rural Uxbridge and Lake Simcoe areas to discover more of Durham Region.
York-Durham Heritage Railway
Running 3 times on Sunday, tickets available online
All aboard! Take a trip on the historic railway line between Uxbridge and Stouffville in heritage coaches from the 1950s. On-board entertainment and scenic views make this 2½ hour round trip an excellent family-friendly activity.
While Lucy Maud Montgomery helped put Prince Edward Island on the literary map by way of a certain red-headed girl, did you know that the author spent a good portion of her married life living in Leaskdale, Ontario?
Gain insight into her time at The Leaskdale Manse, now a museum dedicated to Montgomery’s work and life.
Beaver River Museum
This popular museum is situated in a restored stone jailhouse and log cabin—enjoy displays and archives examining life in Beaverton from the 1850s to 1900s.
Park to Pier Discovery Trail
Take a quick hike down to the pier, with beautiful views of Lake Simcoe and Thorah Island. This is also a reputed excellent fishing spot so pack the rods and spend an afternoon on the shore.
Events, hubs, & attractions Eat & sleep
Photos by Captured by Sage.
Culture Trek is presented by OLG. It is produced by Ontario Culture Days with the support of national Culture Days. Our partners for this guide include the Regional Municipality of Durham.