Such a simple title and yet one which may have several interpretations. To each a different meaning of both ‘driving tour’ and ‘countryside’. Some people like to drive somewhere … to have a destination; for others, the journey is the destination. For some people the countryside is what is there now … what one sees; to others the countryside may be a storybook showing differing features of the human and natural story.
How you use this tour is personal but here are a few ideas. Stouffville lies on the southern slope of the Oak Ridge Moraine at about 240 m. Our route will drive north up the Moraine to a height of about 320m before dropping down to the Lowlands of Lake Simcoe at 220 m. The Lake is the 6th largest in Ontario with a surface area of 750 sq km.
As you drive you will see the land used for mixed farming (crops and animals) … but this will change in character, for near Queensville are the sod farms. On the early part of the drive you will pass through York Region Forest. This is a secondary forest, planted on land that was sandy and thus poor for farming. On the return, you will pass large aggregate pits partly hidden by grassy banks. Aggregates are sands and gravels which are used in constructing our roads and buildings.
This farmland was developed after 1784 in a crisscross pattern of concession lines and sideroads. Several hundred farms would form a township and several townships would form a county. Memories of this settlement may be found in two museums; Whitchurch-Stouffville and Georgina. Community was essential to these settlers and often revolved around their places of worship. As an example of such, take some time to look at the Sharon Temple and its story. You will find that music was an important ingredient of life in the past, as it is today.
Another form of entertainment was reading; you will encounter memories of three local authors. At St George’s Church are buried Stephen Leacock and Mazo De la Roche while in Leaksdale is the manse (and related church) where Lucy Maude Montgomery wrote many of her ‘Anne of Green Gable’ novels.
But back to the present … the southern shore of Lake Simcoe has numerous parks where swimming, picnicking and relaxing may be enjoyed. Out in the lake are the three Islands (Georgina, Snake and Fox) of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation. This area, close to Jackson’s Point, has been a popular destination for tourists since the arrival of the Lake Simcoe Junction Railway in 1877 and the more popular Toronto & York Radial streetcars in 1907. Both are now closed but a portion of the former provides a hiking path. Enjoy your tour.
The southern shore of Lake Simcoe has been a popular destination for tourists since the arrival at Jackson’s Point of the Lake Simcoe Junction Railway in 1877 and the more popular Toronto & York Radial streetcars in 1907. Both are now closed but a portion of the former provides a hiking path. Enjoy your tour.
Story by Peter DeMille and David Rawcliffe (SideRoad GuideBooks authors).
A countryside drive from Stouffville
130 km 2 1/2 hours driving
1. Begin at the intersection of Stouffville Rd and McCowan Ave
2. Drive north) on McCowan Ave; cross Bethesda SR; enter the area that has been described as the ‘Floating Mansions of Lemonville’; cross Bloomington Rd (RR 40); cross Vandorf SR; side trip to the left (west) visit Whitchurch Stouffville Museum (7 km); cross Oak Ridges Trail ; Tracts of the York Regional Forest make up much of the forested land here; pass both Clarke Tract and Dainty Tracts (parking available on left); cross Aurora Rd (RR15); pass on right Patterson Tract (roadside parking); pass on right Hall Tract (parking)
3. Turn left (west) onto St Johns SR, Help hint – No Exit sign for ahead; cross Kennedy Rd
4. Turn right (north) onto Warden Ave (RR65); cross Vivian Rd; cross Davis Dr (traffic lights); cross Herald Rd
5. Turn left (west) onto Mt Albert Rd (traffic lights); cross Woodbine Ave; go under Hwy 404
arrive at Leslie St in hamlet of Sharon; cross over Leslie St to visit the historic Sharon Temple
6. Turn right (north) onto Leslie St; cross Doane Rd; cross Queensville SR; cross Holborn Rd; cross Boag Rd; cross Ravenshoe Rd (RR32) (traffic lights); arrive in town of Keswick; our route is now … The Queensway; cross Maskinonge River
7. Turn left (still north) at traffic lights onto Metro Rd; Help hint – gas station at intersection; cross Simcoe Ave; cross Old Homestead Rd; route curves to the right; pass on right Boyers Rd; our route curves to right (east); pass on right Deer Park Rd
8. Turn left (north) onto Lake Dr; pass on right North Gwillimbury Park
9. Lake Drive curves right (east) along the Lake Simcoe Shoreline.
WARNING: While on this beautiful drive, please be mindful of the clearly posted speed limit; all along this road people, and especially children, enjoy relaxation and recreation.
pass on right Sheppard Park; pass on left Island Grove Marina (ferry service to Snake Island – part of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation); pass on right Woodbine Ave; side trip to right (south) to Georgina Military Museum (2.7 km); pass on right Civic Centre Rd; side trip to right (south) to Georgina Pioneer Village and Archives (2.5 km); pass on right Willow Beach park (facilities, parking fee); pass on right Kennedy Rd; pass on right Franklin Beach park (limited facilities); pass on right De La Salle park (facilities, parking fee); arrive at Jackson’s Point / Sutton
10. Cross Dalton Road; our route curves right as Hedge Rd (stop sign); pass on right The Briars G&C Club; cross the Black River (single lane bridge)
11. Our route turns sharply right (south) as park Rd (RR18); side trip – straight ahead is St George’s Church, the burial site of local authors Stephen Leacock (inc. Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town) and Mazo de la Roche (the Jalna series of 16 books); pass on left Sibbald Point P.P.; cross Black River Rd; cross Hwy 48 (traffic lights)
12. Turn left (east) onto Old Homestead Rd; pass on left Stoney Batter Rd; cross Weir’s SR (RR81); cross railway; arrive in hamlet of Pefferlaw (road curves left)
13. Turn right (south) onto Pefferlaw Rd (RR21) (road curves left)
14. Turn right (south) onto Lake Ridge Rd (RR23)(unsigned); pass on left Concession 11; pass on right parking for Pefferlaw Tract; pass on left Concession 10; pass on left Concession 9
15. Turn right (west) onto Victoria Rd (RR 82); route curves left (south); arrive in hamlet of Udora; cross Ravenshoe Rd; our route is now Conc 7 (RR1); pass on left Fowlers Rd; pass on right Zepjhyr Rd (RR13); arrive in hamlet of Leaskdale; pass on left / right Lucy Maud Montgomery ‘Museum’ (Manse and Church); pass on left Foster Drive; pass on right Ashworth Road; pass on left the Foster Memorial
16. Turn right (west) onto Sandford Rd (RR11); cross Concession 6; cross Concession 5; cross Concession 4; cross Concession 3; cross Concession 2
17 Turn left (south) onto York Durham Line (RR 30); cross Davis Dr; pass on right Vivian Rd; pass on left RR8; pass on right St Johns SR; pass on right Aurora Rd; curve round Island Lake; cross Wagg Rd / Yake Cres; cross RR 47 / RR 40 Bloomington Rd (traffic lights)
18. Route becomes Tenth Line as you … pass on left York Durham Line (RR30); cross railway (Lincolnville station); cross Bethesda SR; enter Stouffville
19. Arrive at Main St, Stouffville