10 reasons to love the fall season in Ontario, Canada
Ontario, Canada has four distinct seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall. Fall, or autumn as its also called, is a short but spectacular season. It generally runs from early September to the end of October and even the start of November in the more southern areas.
As the temperatures dip, the leaves of deciduous trees like maple, birch, ash, tamarack, oak, sumac, willow and elm undergo pigmentation changes before they fall from the trees. The result is several weeks of fiery red, gold and amber fall foliage.
In addition, autumn weather in Ontario is the perfect balance between summer’s heat and winter’s chill. In September, kids head back to school after their summer holidays, so parks and attractions across the province are less busy.
If you’re thinking of travelling to Canada, consider visiting during the stunning fall season. But don’t wait to book, because the season is short, and you don’t want to miss it.
Here are 10 reasons why you’ll fall in love with autumn in Ontario.
Gorgeous fall colours
Don’t miss the exciting opportunity to see nature’s dramatic show of vibrant fall colours. From downtown parks to forests and epic open spaces, people love to get outdoors and witness the beauty of the season.
Here are some great places to see the fall colours:
- Urban outdoor spaces and parks like High Park in Toronto or the Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa are perfect for admiring the vibrant fall colours in Ontario’s cities.
- Ontario provincial parks are great to view fall colours. The Ontario Parks Fall Colour Guide is an excellent resource to check when leaves peak colour.
- If you’re up for a hike, these scenic lookouts provide unique and breathtaking perspectives to see the fall colours, such as atop a granite ridge or from above a fire tower.
Harvest events and farmers’ markets
Ontario’s fall bounty is on full display at farmers’ markets and harvest events.
- The St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, Canada’s largest year-round farmers’ market, is located about an hour and a half drive west of Toronto in the heart of Southern Ontario’s Mennonite community. Fresh farm produce, local and homemade products including maple syrup, ready-to-eat foods and a vast antique market make this a full-day event.
Location: 878 Weber Street North, Woolwich
- Held behind the City Hall in downtown Kingston, the Kingston Public Market is the oldest market in Ontario. Shop for seasonal goodies and locally made artisan crafts.
Location: 216 Ontario Street, Kingston
- Muskoka Lakes Winery produces award-winning wines, such as Blueberry Wine and Cranberry Wine. Visit the winery to experience wine tasting and scenic hikes along the cranberry hiking trails. The winery is over a two hour drive north of Toronto.
Location: 1074 Cranberry Road, Bala
- Make it a road trip and follow the Cranberry Route and discover over 30 delicious cranberry-inspired products and experiences in the Muskoka region.
Location: downtown Bala, Muskoka
- Follow the Apple Pie Trail, a self-guided driving tour of farms, orchards, cideries and charming communities along Georgian Bay. You’ll enjoy apple-inspired culinary delights and experiences.
- Location: The Blue Mountains
Fun family festivals and events
From pumpkin carving and Halloween events to fall festivals and farm visits, there’s a lot for families to enjoy this season.
If you’re travelling with kids, fun activities include:
- Halloween is a ghoulishly fun tradition celebrated on October 31 in North America with costume parties, trick-or-treating, haunted attractions and more families or adults can enjoy.
- Fall is pumpkin season in Ontario. Families flock to local farms’ pumpkin patches to find the perfect pumpkin to carve. And carved pumpkins and pumpkin attractions are popular, including the award-winning Pumpkinferno in Eastern Ontario showcasing thousands of carved and illuminated pumpkins.
Location: Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village, 13740 Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry County Road 2, Morrisburg
- Mazes are a fun farm attraction. Corn fields are transformed into elaborate mazes that kids love to explore and solve, like the epic mazes at Saunders Farm, just a 45-minute drive south of Ottawa.
Location: Saunders Farm, 7893 Bleeks Road, Ottawa
- Another popular pastime during the autumn season is visiting apple orchards to pick fresh and delicious apples and enjoy apple cider, apple pie and farm entertainment. Chudleigh’s Farm and Downey’s Apple Farm are both within an hour drive from Toronto.
Chudleigh’s Farm, 9528 Regional Road 25, Milton
Downey’s Apple Farm, 13707 Heart Lake Road, Inglewood
Ontario has gained a global reputation for producing finely crafted cool climate wines, sparkling wines and some of the world’s best Icewine. The temperate weather, fall colour and food-focus of the season pair perfectly with wine tasting. You can even book an overnight stay at select wineries.
If you love wine, check out these top spots:
The Niagara wine region
The region extends from Twenty Valley into the picturesque vineyards of the Niagara Peninsula to the charming town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The area is under a two-hour drive from Toronto.
Organized wine tours are a great way to explore the region’s wineries, such as:
- Niagara Vintage Wine Tours provides group outings or a private ride in a luxury car to experience full or half-day wine tours. Add gourmet meals at the best restaurants and wine and cheese tours.
Location: 7500 Lundy's Lane, Niagara Falls
- Grape Escape Wine Tours offers fun daily bike tours for novice and experienced cyclists.
Location: 1627 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Choose from a variety of themed guided tours including classic European bikes at Veno Velo Bike Wine Tours & Bike Rentals.
Location: 1023 East and West Line, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Popular Niagara wineries to visit include:
- Two Sisters Vineyards for the cozy settings to sip and sample award-winning wine, including an open veranda that overlooks the extensive vineyard. Enjoy a meal at the winery’s restaurant, Kitchen76.
Location: 240 John Street East, Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery is owned by Canadian hockey legend Wayne.
Location: 1219 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Peller Estates Winery & Restaurant offer tours, tastings and a seasonal menu features farm-to-table options paired with Estate wine and local products.
Location: 290 John Street East, Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Inniskillin Estate Winery is a top producer of Icewine, discover the best food pairings with their signature Icewines.
Location: 1499 Line 3, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Prince Edward County wine region
One of Canada’s trendiest travel destinations is also one of its fast-growing wine regions.
Located on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, between Toronto and Ottawa (under a three-hour drive from each), Prince Edward County’s rural character and innovative wine and culinary scene makes for a great fall getaway for wine and food lovers.
Plan the perfect day of wine touring and tasting with a guided tour.
- Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery, a boutique winery with rustic charm. Wine tasting takes place in a historic barn.
Location: 990 Closson Road, Hillier
- Karlo Estates is the first certified vegan wine in the world and continues to be recognized for their commitment to sustainable winemaking.
Location: 561 Danforth Road, Wellington
- Huff Estate Winery and Inn is a gorgeous, state-of-the-art facility producing award-winning wine. Stay overnight in one of the inn’s luxurious suites.
Location: 990 Closson Road, Hillier
Amazing hiking, biking and canoeing
A vast network of urban, rural and wilderness hiking and cycling trails and connected waterways, rivers and lakes create the perfect outdoor playground, made even better with the beautiful backdrop of fall colour.
Find adventure with:
- Toronto Bicycle Tours will guide you on unique and informative cycling tours in and around Toronto in over five languages.
Location: downtown Toronto
- Rent-a-Bike Ottawa provides bicycle tours to local landmarks and natural sites in downtown Ottawa.
Location: 2 Rideau Street, Ottawa
- Escape Bicycle Tours & Rentals organizes fun, small-group day trip or multi-day bike tours with local guides.
Location: 65 Sparks Street, Ottawa
- Get all the information you need to plan a cycling vacation in Ontario, including equipment rentals, biking routes and organization tours from Ontario by Bike.
- Algonquin Outfitters will help you plan your dream adventure in Ontario’s iconic Algonquin Provincial Park with gear, guiding and more.
- Set out on guided hikes or multi-day canoe trips in Algonquin Park and enjoy accommodation in a rustic cabin with Voyageur Quest.
- Get all the equipment and information needed from Killarney Outfitters to explore the unspoiled wilderness of Killarney Provincial Park, made famous by Canada’s esteemed artists, the Group of Seven.
Sightseeing rail, air and water tours
Capture the spectacular colours on a sightseeing plane, boat or train tour.
Great tours include:
- Cruise the famed lakes of Muskoka surrounded by a spectrum of yellow, red and orange colour onboard the oldest steamships in Canada.
Location: 275 Steamship Bay Road, Gravenhurst
- Join Ottawa Boat Cruises and tour the scenic Rideau Canal and Ottawa River with Ottawa’s urban landscape as a backdrop.
Location: 1 Elgin Street, Ottawa
- In Southeastern Ontario, explore the historic St Lawrence River and legendary 1000 Islands with Rockport Cruises and Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises.
Kingston 1000 Island Cruises, 248 Ontario Street, Kingston
Rockport Cruises, 20 Front Street, Rockport
- The Agawa Canyon Train Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime, 10-hour rail adventure in Northern Ontario that travels deep into the Canadian Shield wilderness providing you with stunning views of lakes, forest and fall foliage.
Location: 87 Huron Street, Sault Ste. Marie
Relaxing destination spas
Treat yourself to yoga, meditation, luxurious body treatments and endless pampering at one of Ontario’s top spas and wellness retreats, including:
- Outdoor hydrotherapy pools, saunas, steam rooms, massages and forest bathing trails surrounding by stunning views and fall colour equals bliss at Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain, a day spa north of Toronto. Stay nearby at Blue Mountain Resort.
Location: 152 Grey Road 21, Blue Mountains
- Vettä Nordic Spa delivers a Nordic inspired spa experience of warm and cool hydrotherapy and Finnish cuisine north of Toronto. Relax nearby at Horseshoe Resort.
Location: 3210 Line, 3 Line North, Oro-Medonte
- St. Anne’s Spa is Canada’s top all-inclusive destination spa resort east of Toronto that provides luxurious accommodation, wellness programs and spa treatments in an idyllic country setting.
Location: 1009 Massey Road, Grafton
- Experience the highest standards of hospitality and elegance at Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa, Ontario’s only Relais & Châteaux accommodation surrounded by manicured lawns, gardens and Carolinian forest about an hour and a half drive west of Toronto.
Location: 1 Langdon Drive, Cambridge
Top film and theatre
Two of Ontario’s most famous theatre festivals run throughout the fall season and North American’s most significant film festival draws movie makers, celebrities and cinema buffs to Ontario in September.
Attend a critically acclaimed live theatre performance or be the first to see groundbreaking films at:
- Experience Shakespearean classics retold with a modern twist, as well as contemporary theatre, at the Stratford Festival in Southwestern Ontario.
Location: 55 Queen Street, Stratford
- The Shaw Festival offers entertaining performances in the heart of Niagara’s wine country and close to the world-famous Niagara Falls
Location: 10 Queen's Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake
- The annual Toronto International Film Festival is one of the world’s influential cinematic events showcasing Oscar-worthy films and hosting glamours galas. you love movies, this is the place to be in mid-September.
Location: downtown Toronto
Autumn is the perfect time to sink a few hole-in-ones at:
- The Marshes Golf Club at Brookstreet Hotel in Ottawa.
Location: 525 Legget Drive, Kanata
- The championship 18-hole course design by Canadian architect Thomas McBroom at Hockley Valley Resort just outside Toronto.
Location: 793522 3rd Line EHS, Mono
- Legends on The Niagara, a two-championship course and driving range with a stunning clubhouse.
Location: 9561 Niagara River Parkway, Niagara Falls
Cozy resorts and cottages
The fall season in Ontario is also about getting warm and cozy with the ones you love.
Experience the finest fall comfort and tranquility at these accommodations:
- Lakeside cabins and cottages at Elmhirst's Resort feature fireplaces and access to a host of great nature based and culinary experiences.
Location: 1045 Settlers Line, Keene
- Deerhurst Resort offers the best of both urban and nature worlds. Based in Huntsville you have access to local theatre, restaurants and breweries but overlooking Lake Peninsula makes this upscale Muskoka resort feel more remote.
Location: 1235 Deerhurst Drive, Huntsville
- JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa is situated beside the peaceful Lake Rosseau in Muskoka.
Location: 1050 Paignton House Road, Minett
- Blue Mountain Resort provides outdoor adventure, dining, shopping and nightlife at its doorstep with comfortable rooms and suites to relax in for the night.
Location: 156 Jozo Weider Boulevard, The Blue Mountains
Last updated: August 22, 2023