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All Aboard, The Portage Flyer Christmas Train Ride with Santa

All Aboard, The Portage Flyer Christmas Train Ride with Santa

Portage Flyer Christmas Train Ride with Santa

Date: Dec. 23
Cost: $5 per person.


Telling the story of a young boy aboard a magical train bound for the North Pole, the Polar Express has become a holiday classic.

The experience isn’t confined to film. You can board an enchanted holiday train as well, in Huntsville, aboard the Portage Flyer Christmas Train Ride with Santa.

There’s something magical about the Portage Flyer at any time of year. From 1903 to 1958, the historic train operated along the world’s shortest commercial railway, a mere one mile in length, linking Lake of Bays to Peninsula Lake. But Christmas magic is a special kind of magic, and on the weekend before The Big Day the train comes alive with holiday cheer.

The excitement is palpable. Crowds gather at the rail station, moods buoyant. Smiles stretch cross little faces as they nibble on cookies and sip hot chocolate. Some sing along to carols playing from loudspeakers.

Carrying upon the breeze, like the jingle of sleighbells, comes the clang of a bell and the blast of a horn. Anticipation builds.

Then, the Portage Flyer chugs into view, her open cars decked out with thousands of twinkling lights. She looks like a scaled-up version of the little trains that circle under a children’s Christmas tree – festive, cheerful, promising a ride to some special destination.



Everyone clambers aboard, nestling up close to loved ones. The train gently, slowly, pulls ahead. The frozen Muskoka River slides past. Ten minutes later, the destination, the purser’s cabin, comes into view. And it is special, indeed. For inside, Santa awaits.
Children jump into the Jolly Old Elf’s lap, whispering wishes, perhaps pleading their case to be added to the Nice List. Mom and Dad snap a few photos.

Then, back aboard the train for the return trip, the evening chill warded off by the warm glow of Christmas spirit.

Other Festiva Fare in Muskoka

Yuletide cheer isn’t reserved for the Portage Flyer.

Shop: If you’re looking for something to make your home merry and bright, Christmas Tyme, located in Huntsville at the intersection of Main & Brunel, is the place to go. It’s a one-stop shop for Christmas décor. Don’t forget to transform your purchase from merely a decoration to a special keepsake by getting it personalized.

Stay: Deerhurst Resort, just a snowball throw east of Huntsville, is the perfect place to spend a winter weekend. Nestled into grounds that become a winter wonderland once the ground is blanketed in thick mounds of white, the resort offers comfort and class, with plenty of amenities and activities for the entire family. From Dec. 22 to Jan. 7 Deerhurst is further enlivened with sleigh-loads of special holiday events.

See: Santa makes additional appearances at SantaFest, a celebration of everything holly and jolly at Santa’s Village, in Bracebridge. Rides, a Christmas market, more lights than you can shake a candy cane at, fireside hot chocolate – it’s all here.