by Sherry Hinman
Tucked into the westernmost edge of Durham Region is the township of Uxbridge. While it is the second smallest of the region's municipalities, it actually covers a large geographic area, including the eight rural hamlets of Coppins Corners, Goodwood, Leaskdale, Sandford, Sandy Hook, Siloam, Udora, and Zephyr. Much of the population is spread out over farmland and, at last count in 2001, Uxbridge was home to only about 17,000 people.
Rebecca James, sales representative for Alliance Homes, works and lives in Uxbridge. "There are three fairly new home subdivisions coming in here," James says, "and there are several condos. People come here because of aesthetics as well as location. There's a lot of green space left, lots of trees, and beautiful parks."
"There's also a lot of history in Uxbridge," says James. "In the main part of town, the older part, are several heritage homes with their historic plaques." One of Uxbridge's most famous early residents was Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, who lived here for 14 years in the early part of the last century.
The thought of Montgomery crafting her books here conjures up a wholesome image, and James says this is still true today. "It's safe and clean here," she says. "On a Friday night at 10 it's like a ghost town."
Uxbridge is also the departure point for the York-Durham Heritage Railway, which takes passengers on a 20-kilometre ride along the Oak Ridges Moraine between the picturesque towns of Whitchurch-Stouffville and Uxbridge.
Travelling east along Reach Road in Uxbridge brings you to the rural town of Port Perry, one of four municipalities that makes up Scugog Township, also part of Durham Region.
Port Perry is Scugog's business and commercial centre and it lies on the shores of Lake Scugog. Residents and visitors enjoy swimming and boating activities on the lake throughout the summer. Port Perry is well-known for area attractions such as Great Blue Heron Charity Casino and Scugog Island Cruises.
It is also known for its Victorian-style downtown, where visitors can shop in famous stores such as the Settlement House Shops, Luke's Country Store, and the Nutty Chocolatier. Port Perry also boasts its own winery, Ocala Orchards, built in a 100-year-old board-and-beam dairy barn. The town is rich in legend, too: it is said to have not one, but two, ghosts and Lake Scugog sports its own sea monster.
Rich in heritage and area attractions, Port Perry and Uxbridge are appealing to homebuyers and tourists alike.