A day out with Thomas

By Christine Davis

There may very well be two, four, six and eight, but there is only one Thomas number one and he’s certainly number one in my daughter’s mind and heart. Fortunately for her and children in the GTA, the cheeky one is the engine they can ride at the York-Durham Heritage Railway during the Day Out With Thomas Ready, Set, Go Tour 2016. For the remainder of this weekend – Friday to Sunday, August 12-14 – and next weekend – Friday to Sunday, August 19-21, Thomas will be in Uxbridge offering half hour rides at various times throughout the day. Fans of Thomas and Friends will delight in seeing Thomas on the rails just as my almost 3-year-old did, causing me to choke up as I saw the joy run through her body. Welcoming Trainmen and tour crew members talk to each child during the ride then present them with a Jr. Engineer certificate before returning to the station, a great memento that can be personalized at home. But the train ride isn’t the only attraction. It’s best to plan to spend a few hours at the station for photos with Thomas, a chance to meet Sir Topham Hatt, as well as take in live entertainment by musicians, a magician and juggler. Other activities include story time and video viewing, colouring, face painting, ride on toys, a petting zoo, bounce castles and an adorable Island of Sodor hay maze. With this heat make sure you go prepared to be outside for the majority of your visit. While the train cars are air conditioned it gets hot during the ride and shady spots outside fill up fast. Bring plenty of water but take comfort in knowing there are plenty of food trucks offering a variety of cold drinks, treats and food to choose from. And as with any kind of event like this, be prepared for lineups. The crew did a good job of keeping things moving so my little girl was able to do all the activities that interested her, especially meeting Sir Topham Hatt which was a highlight for her. I recommend checking out the entertainment schedule when you arrive and check online at ydhr.ca for ticket availability.