About this series: Wheels wants to inspire you to explore. This series of daytrips and longer drives highlight great experiences you can have in the province, ands show you why Ontario is “Ours to Discover.”
With rolling hills, plenty of farmland and the most expansive Green Belt area in the GTA, Stouffville is a perfect destination for outdoor activities. The town itself is also a charmer with an art centre, museum, independent shops and more. Here are our suggestions on how to enjoy a day uncovering all that Stouffville has to offer.
In the morning:
Leave downtown Toronto heading north on the Don Valley Parkway and Highway 404 toward Newmarket. Take Exit 37 and head east on County Road 14. You should pull into Stouffville in about an hour.
Park along Main Street and start your day like many locals do with a coffee or tea at the independently owned Red Bulb Espresso Bar. Snag a seat on the patio to people watch and enjoy an espresso – made using a signature house-blend exclusive to this tiny shop – and a freshly made scone (the lemon-cranberry is a bestseller) before heading off to explore.
Just a few blocks long, Main Street boasts some interesting shops, including Redefined Finds, a well-curated store offering home decor, crafts by local artisans and bath and body products, as well as Candlelight and Memories, a gift shop and tearoom housed in a charming century home.
There’s also a small Farmers’ Market held here every Saturday with a selection of Ontario produce and prepared foods, including butter tarts and even pizza and pasta at the award-winning Christina Cooks Catering stall.
Make sure to check out Church Street South, located just off Main Steet. At the end of this short road, you will find the town’s pristine lawn bowling pitch, baseball park and a heritage plaque honouring local First World War pilot Captain Arthur Roy Brown, who is credited with shooting down Baron von Richthofen, a.k.a. The Red Baron, over France.
Head back to your car for the drive to The Latcham Art Centre, which used to be on Main Street but moved a few years ago to a bigger, newly built space just a three-minute ride away on Park Drive. This cultural delight was founded in 1979 by local artists and features rotating exhibits in a range of mixed media, many reflecting Ontario’s diversity (the centre makes a point of acknowledging that the land is the territory of the Williams Nations, Anishinaabeg peoples, the Huron-Wendat and the Haudenosaunee).
Any road trip to this community should include a stop at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre. It is perhaps the world’s cutest museum with a collection of heritage buildings, including a schoolhouse, barn and Victorian farmhouse, that offer a look into life in the 19th century. Its adorable log cabin was made for Instagram posts.
[caption id="attachment_172442" align="aligncenter" width="2504"]
Volunteer Rick Preston stands at the front door of this 1850s home brought from its original site on McCowan Road, north of Aurora Sideroad, Saturday at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum during the local Doors Open event. June 3, 2017[/caption]
In the early afternoon:
For lunch, drive back to Main Street to the Fickle Pickle, a family restaurant that’s been a local favourite for more than 20 years. It offers all-day breakfast and around 100 other menu items, so there really is something for everyone (the Monte Cristo sandwich with fries is rather yummy).
Walk off lunch in the beautiful surrounds of the Whitchurch Conservation area (parking is free). A beautiful spot for watching fall colours, it is 11 hectares of mostly wooded grounds on the edge of the Oak Ridges Moraine. There are dedicated hiking trails, a small pond and many opportunities for birdwatching. For the more adventurous, Treetop Trekking is on offer at Bruce’s Mill Conservation Park. Advanced reservations are a must and activities range from a discovery course and forest bathing to zip-line and aerial game treks.
Still outside, but a bit less rustic, is Applewood Farm. It is the perfect place to pick your own apples. The farm grows 13 different types – Ambrosia is a favourite and it’s perfect for an October harvest. There’s also a pumpkin patch and delights for kids, like wagon rides, farm animals and a play area.
And there are grape vineyards in Stouffville that are worth a visit. Gallucci Winery is a family-run enterprise that offers tastings and where you can splurge on a private tour to get a real sense of this estate’s grapes and wines, while Willow Springs Winery is known for its award-winning ice wines and Sauvignon Blanc.
In the evening:
For dinner, head back to Main Street for a delicious meal at Agi Kitchen & Wine. The restaurant’s menu is small but comprehensive and tempts with small plates, including piri-piri cod, and comfort dishes like creamy wild mushroom gnocchi.
For the ride
Get the inside scoop on Stouffville with “Talk of the Town,” an informative weekly podcast that is produced by the municipality. New episodes are uploaded every Tuesday on SoundCloud.
Note: times are suggestions only
- 9 a.m. Leave Toronto
- 11:30 a.m. The Latcham Art Centre
- 12:30 p.m. Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre
- 2:30 p.m. Whitchurch Conservation Area
- 3:30 p.m. Applewood Farm
- 4:30 p.m. Galluci Winery
- 5:30 p.m. Willows Spring Winery
- 6:30 p.m. Agi Kitchen & Wine