The Historic Trail winds through the oldest part of Uxbridge. The feature of this trail is the series of six historical information plaques (see map) that describe Uxbridge life in “the old days” and illustrate what the town looked like, using old photographs and maps.
The trail is mostly on paved streets, but some sections through Elgin Park may be unsuitable for disability scooters and wheelchairs. However, many of the historical information plaques are on streets and universally accessible.
The trail goes south past the Trans-Canada Trail Pavilion, and through the Ruth Cooper Bird Sanctuary (note the plaque). The trail crosses over a stream and travels south on Pond Street, then turns right at Mill Street.
A historical information plaque (2) shows the area as it once was, and tells how Joseph Gould developed mills in the area, and drew up the early town plan. Follow a route south on Joseph St., then west on Wilson and south on James, and you’ll come to Isaac Court. Turn right, and at the end there’s a historical information plaque (3) that tells the story of the Electric Light Pond – how it got its name, and pictures and history of the old mill (and later electricity generating station) that was driven by water from the pond. As you’ll see, this area was out in the country, where the highway (now Durham Highway 47) was a gravel road. Follow the trail marker signs through the park area, and along Button Crescent, turning left onto Joseph St. again, then immediately right into Elgin Park. A historical information plaque (4) shows pictures of the park from the early years of the last century, including its use as a harness racing track. The history of the park is described, going back to the 1860s. The trail takes you to the south end of Elgin Pond, where you’ll find a cleared area where you can rest a while, with a good view looking north up the length of the pond. There’s a picnic table there, as well as a historical information plaque (5) giving information about Elgin Pond — why it was formed and how it provided much of the water power on which early industry in Uxbridge was based. The trail takes you out of Elgin Park and onto Water Street on the west side of Elgin Pond. Water St. contains some fine old houses from the late 19th Century. At the corner of Water St. and Mill St. is a historical information plaque (6) that focuses on the early mills in the area (oat mill, woollen mill). Pictures show the large oat mill, and explains how the little square building still standing formed part of the milling process. Continue north across Mill Street and follow Bascom Street. Travel north on Bascom until you see a narrow walkway on your left opposite Poplar Street. Follow it to get back to Centennial Park and your starting point. You can enter the trail anywhere, but the description in this brochure begins in the middle of Centennial Park, where a historical information plaque (1 on map) depicts the area as it once was. The spot where you stand was part of Uxbridge’s original pond, which was no longer needed for water power by the late 1940s. By that time, it had reverted to being a creek, and the pond bottom became the town’s dump. As a Centennial project in 1967, the former pond site and dump became Centennial Park.
The Historic Trail was created as a project of the Rotary Club of Uxbridge, to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of Rotary International. Generous support also came from the Uxbridge-Scott Historical Society.
The Uxbridge Town Trail system is a network of trails in the urban area that will also connect to major trails to the south (the Trans-Canada Trail and the Oak Ridges Trail). The Town Trail program is an initiative of the “Uxbridge, Naturally” group.
The Town Trail system is a program of the Township of Uxbridge in association with volunteer groups. Historical information is provided by the Uxbridge Historical Centre.