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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Clear the track, here comes Santa; First Light at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons; and Christkindl Market in Kitchener

   One-Tank Trip for Nov. 23/13

   By Jim Fox

   Here comes the “ho, ho, ho” express while other seasonal treats include First Light at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and everything’s wunderbar in Kitchener.

   Clear the track
   All aboard Santa trains on the South Simcoe and Port Stanley railways.
Santa entertains on his special train rides in December on the South Simcoe Railway. (Photo by Charles Bryant)
   The “jolly gent” and his elves are aboard the huffing and puffing steam train as it chugs through the Beeton Creek Valley on weekends from Dec. 7 through 20.
   Travel is in restored 1920’s coaches over the rails of the century-old branch line that once connected Hamilton with Barrie and Collingwood.
   Riders can “share the magic of Christmas” on board the annual Santa Claus Express to the “North Pole.”
   The historic rail cars are pulled by Old 1057, a relic steam engine that chugs out of the Tottenham station on Mill Street off Highway 9, northwest of Toronto.
Old 1057, the Santa Claus Express, chugs in the Tottenham station. (Photo by Charles Bryant)

   The return trip to Beeton takes about an hour and tickets always sell out quickly.
   Reservations at midweek were available for Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
   Other dates: Dec. 16, 15, 21 and 22 leaving at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
   The fare is $14 for adults and $8 for children, ages three to 15 (younger infants, not occupying a seat, are no charge). steamtrain.ca; (905) 936-5815
   The Port Stanley Terminal Rail runs the Santa Treats’ train from this weekend through Dec. 22.
   This ride through the Elgin County countryside includes treats of mince tarts and hot apple cider.
   The train departs and returns to the station in Port Stanley (309 Bridge St.) next to the King George Lift Bridge.
   The trips are offered today and Sunday, Nov. 30, and Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
   Fares are $15 for adults and $9 for children, ages two to 14. pstr.on.ca; 1-877-244-4478
   Also running a Santa Train is the Orangeville Brampton Railway but it shows online that all tickets have been sold. santatrain.ca; 1-888-346-0046

   Let there be lights
   Prepare to be “amazed” by more than 5,000 candles in historic buildings and along lantern-lighted paths at Midland’s Sainte-Marie among the Hurons.
More than 5,000 candles light Sainte-Marie among the Hurons for First Light.
   First Light returns for its 14th year on Nov. 28, 29 and 30 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. when the historic site is illuminated only by candlelight, said Gary Molnar, marketing manager for Huronia Historical Parks.
   Recognized by Festivals and Events Ontario as one of the province’s “Top 100” events, there will be an historical encampment, sounds and sparks of musket fire from re-enactors La Compagnie Franche de la Marine and festive music.
   Children can write with quill pens and create messages on Christmas cards to take home, make a corn husk doll and an angel ornament.
Children learn to make seasonal crafts at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons during First Light.
   The Cookhouse has gingerbread and shortbread cookies from historic recipes available for sampling.
   For Christmas shopping, there will be artisans in the museum and the gift shop is open each night.
   Admission is $10 (free for children five and younger) with a non-perishable item for the Salvation Army food bank. www.hhp.on.ca; (705) 526-7838

   Everything’s wunderbar
   The Christkindl Market will again recreate a Christmas tradition born in Germany 700 years ago.
   Taking place outside and inside Kitchener City Hall, the annual festival brings back “some of the sights, sounds and smells” of an authentic German Christmas market, said president Astrid Braun.
   It happens on Dec. 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Dec. 7, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Organ grinder Klaus and Knecht Ruprecht, a companion of Saint Nicholas, entertain. (Photo: Pirak.com)
   There will be a cast of folkloric characters such as Christkindl, angels, Knecht Ruprect and Klaus the Organ Grinder.
   See a huge model train display, blacksmiths showing their skills and a live nativity scene.
   Towns and cities across Germany come alive with outdoor markets of rustic wooden booths and stalls, full of traditional handmade Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers and wooden figurines.
   Become absorbed in the aromas of cinnamon, apple fritters, mulled wine and grilled sausages filling the air along with the sounds of choirs and brass bands. christkindl.ca; (519) 741-2200, Ext. 7387

Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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