Discover autumn in Canada: A newcomers’ guide to foliage and festivities
Discover Canada’s autumn with this essential guide for newcomers. This guide with provide the ideal places to see fall foliage and information on some of the best fall seasonal activities in each province.
Fall foliage can be seen across the province. Stanley Park in Vancouver is a large, urban park that boasts roughly 500,000 trees, it offers a great place to see the colourful foliage around this season. Biking along the Seawall bike path in the fall offers scenic views of Vancouver and vivid fall colours.
In terms of fall activities and festivals, Vancouver’s International Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in North America and is running until October 8th.
The Fall Okanagan Wine Festival celebrates the fall grape harvest with more than 60 events centered around wine, food and culture amongst lakes and mountains. The festival goes from October 27th to November 5th.
BC Culture Days, from September 22nd to October 15th, is Canada’s largest public participation campaign for the arts that has free and interactive events celebrating arts, culture, and heritage.
Maan’s Farms’ Annual Fall Festival boasts a pumpkin patch, corn maze, barnyard animals, ziplines, pumpkin pie and apple cider slushies. It is open every day until November.
Finally, the Whistler Writers Festival is an annual event celebrating the written word. You can meet Canadian and international authors, attend workshops, readings, speaker panels and music events from October 12th to 16th.
Alberta has many places that transform in the fall. Banff, and in particular Larch Valley, is a beautiful area and trail known for vibrant fall foliage. Places like Jasper and Lake Louise offer the sky trams and gondolas to observe the changing colours from above.
The Canyon Coaster at the Canyon ski resort allows you to see the fall colours while enjoying a ride on a luge track through forest trails. In addition, Elk Island National Park can be driven or hiked to see the aspen parkland foliage switch from green to orange and reds.
In terms of activities to do this fall, there are many across the province. The Jasper Dark Sky Festival celebrates the stars and the universe in one of the world’s largest accessible dark sky preserve from October 13th to 29th.
The Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival is one of Alberta’s largest food and beverage events happening in Calgary and Edmonton in October and November.
The Canadian Finals Rodeo in November boasts rodeo events such as bareback riding and steer wrestling. Oktoberfest is also celebrated in numerous events around Alberta.
Finally, the Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ in Edmonton will mark the 20-year anniversary of hosting the first ever NHL regular season outdoor game on October 29th.
Head to the Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, a vast national park with an array of colourful trees in fall. Wekusko Falls allows visitors to see the beauty of waterfalls and rapids coupled with the fall foliage during this time of year.
Enjoy fall colours and migrations viewings while hundreds of geese land at sunset at Oak Hammock Marsh and FortWhyte Alive.
In terms of fall festivals and activities, Manitoba also has Culture Days, with various free activities from September 22nd to October 15th.
Boonstra Farm offers a 10-acre corn maze, petting zoo, hayrides and Halloween events.
The Fundy Coastal Drive is a 460-kilometre drive filled with fall foliage and colours. Fundy National Park has some of the highest tides in the world alongside the colourful fall foliage at this time of year.
Miscou Island is an island in northern New Brunswick and is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Nearly half the island is covered in peat bogs, which turn a flaming red this time of year, which offers a unique foliage experience.
The Indulge Food and Wine Festival is happening from October 12th to 15th, where you can savour creation by some of the province’s top chefs and food producers.
La Grande Grouille, happening October 5th to 8th, is an event at the New Brunswick Botanical Garden where thousands of pumpkins are illuminated for visitors.
Finally, you can explore the Kingsbrae Garden, which is a multi-award-winning horticultural masterpiece.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Fall foliage can be found at Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you can hike through the fjord, mountain ranges and coastal trails. Not far is Corner Brook, where fall foliage peaks in late September to early October.
Mummers Festival is a unique festival tradition in Newfoundland and Labrador, a free 2-week series of events and workshops leading up to the Mummers Parade.
You can also visit the Town of Trinity, a coastal village with historic architecture and a backdrop of colourful trees during fall.
Finally, you can attend the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival, one of the longest women’s film festivals in the world, happening from October 17th to 21st.
Some places to see the fall foliage in Nova Scotia include Cabot Trail, where you can take a scenic drive one of the world’s most beautiful roadways and experience the vibrant fall colours. You can also experience the fall colours in one of Canada’s most beautiful national park, Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
Visit Nova Scotia’s wine region near Wolfville around the Annapolis Valley, from the end of September until late October. For one of the best vistas of the fall foliage in the region, drive to the Blomidon Look-Off on top of North Mountain in Canning.
In terms of fall festivals and activities, attend the Celtic Colours International Festival, which is nine days of Celtic culture, starting October 6th on Cape Breton Island.
There are also many places to go apple picking in the Annapolis Valley during the fall season, including Noggins Corner Farm and Willowbank Farm.
Algonquin Park, a few hours from Toronto and Ottawa, boasts a kaleidoscope of colour with 24 native species of trees from mid-September to mid-October. Visit High Park in Toronto and Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa to see the vibrant fall colours this time of year.
You can also enjoy thrilling views of waterfalls and colourful foliage from the Niagara SkyWheel or zipline. Next door, you can experience the fright of a lifetime at North America’s longest running and scariest haunted house.
There are a ton of activities and festivals across the province this fall. The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is on until October 14th and celebrates German heritage, food, music and more.
Prince Edward County Pumpkinfest, happening October 14th and 15th, has a giant pumpkin weigh off that has been happening for 26 years. Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village has over 7,000 handcrafted, glowing pumpkins in this award-winning event.
Ontario also has countless farms where you can enjoy various activities and events. Some farms include Hanes Corn Maze, Downey’s Farm and Pingle’s Farm. Mādahòkì Farm is located on the traditional and unceded territories of the Algonquin Nation. The farm welcomes visitors to engage with local Indigenous cultures and traditions.
Cinéfest Sudbury is a renowned film festival, which started in September, is celebrating its 35th year.
Finally, attend the Niagara Grape and Wine festival to celebrate the region’s winemaking history with various events and tastings.
Prince Edward Island
Experience the fall foliage on the Confederation Trail, where you can traverse a 435-kilometre-long trail by foot or bike to enjoy the breathtaking fall colours. You can also visit Prince Edward Islands National Park, which has sandy beaches, red cliffs and wind-sculpted dunes.
Fall festivals and activities include the PEI Fall Flavours Food and Drink Festival, which is a two-week celebration of Canada’s Food Island during the fall harvest season, happening from October 1st to 15th.
The Charlottetown Scarecrow Festival, from October 1st to 31st, celebrates fall with an array of festive events including hundreds of scarecrows, haunted tours and stilt walkers.
Visit Mont-Tremblant and ride the gondola to the highest peak of the Laurentians for panoramic views of the fall foliage.
You can also explore Sentier des crime Treetop Walk, which is a new wooden boardwalk and geometric tower that spirals over 130 feet in the air.
Montreal’s Botanical Garden is one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens and showcases a variety of colourful autumn displays.
Montreal hosts a variety of Multicultural Festivals, including the Gardens of Light, an extremely popular annual fall spectacle at the Botanical Gardens and the Ramen Ramen Festival, celebrating the dish from Japan from October 9th to 22nd. View a list of all the fall festivals here.
During September and October, you can pick your own apples from various orchards including Labonté de la Pomme in Oka.
Saskatchewan boasts many provincial parks and conservation areas, including the Wanuskewin Heritage Park, where you can observe the fall colours while exploring Indigenous culture and heritage. Other parks in the province include:
- Narrow Hills Provincial Park
- Prince Albert National Park
- Meadow Lake Provincial Park
- Duck Mountain Provincial Park
Culture Days festival happens in Saskatchewan, where you can participate in cultural events across the province. Moreover, the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival, from November 17th to 25th shows some of the best of international genre cinema.
You can also go camping to experience the beauty of Saskatchewan’s parks in the fall. There are also pumpkin patches and corn mazes, such as the Berry Barn, the Happy Hollow Corn Maze and the Youth Farm Corn Maze. You can also enjoy tastings and a pumpkin UPick at Black Fox Farm & Distillery.