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Start Solo Travel Training With a Short Train Trip in Ontario

Evelyn Hannon

To run a marathon requires training. The same applies to becoming a solo traveler. So many women feel anxious about taking that first exploration far away and all by themselves. To you I say, start practicing with a one-day trip of less than 75 miles from home. Once you see how easy it is you'll be tempted to go further.

This summer, Ontario's GO Transit is offering seasonal weekend train jaunts between Toronto, Barrie, and Niagara right up until September 7. I tried the Toronto-Barrie route because, though it's just 50 miles away, I'd never been there before.

My first stop was where I checked prices and train schedules. I planned a 12:20pm departure to Barrie with an 8:10pm return to Toronto. That gave me almost six hours at my destination. Next I consulted, where I researched special weekend events, shopping, museums, and dining.

Purchasing your GO ticket at Union Station is simple. I found their employees extremely helpful in answering all my questions and directing me to the proper track. My mini train excursion (under two hours) in a clean, modern car was pure relaxation.

Though there is a bus into town, I walked around the Bay (about 35 minutes) pausing to take photos of families cavorting by the water's edge and enjoying a gorgeous day in the sun. Of course, I stopped to buy the requisite huge ice cream cone and savoured every bite of it.


It was a perfect weekend to visit. A downtown street fair was in progress featuring enticing booths, finger foods and sky-high stilt-walkers. With so much fun going on all around me, I forgot I was actually alone.

Next was a pop into the vintage-vibe, Le Petite Chapeau Millinery Shop (Lakeshore Mews), where bespoke hats are created for every season and occasion. Around the corner sits English and Miller, an English tea room (89 Dunlop St. E.) where warm scones, Devon cream and strawberry jam beckon. I could not resist.

Handmade and vintage

ZuZu (39 Dunlop E.) boasts interesting costume jewelry, Janet Kemp Ladies Fashion (117 Dunlop E.) carries mainly Canadian designers, and J'adore stocks fine gourmet chocolates and over 100 cheese varieties from around the world.

With all the meandering and browsing, dinnertime arrived before I knew it. Happily, The Farmhouse Restaurant (268 Bradford St) is just minutes away from the train station. That's where daytrippers can kick back without hesitating to order that chilled glass of white wine. After all, this summer evening they are GO Transit passengers and no one is the designated driver.

We live for the weekends, especially during the summer. And planning them is just half the fun. Exploring the big city or biking through wine country - it's good to have weekend options and we give them to you. Toronto to Niagara. Barrie to Toronto. Either way, we'll take you there. Seasonal weekend train service runs until Sept 7. Discover a different side of GO this summer at

Go Transit

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by GO Transit via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Metrolinx.





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