Cranberry festivals and flavours in Ontario
From late September and into mid-October, cranberry farmers will harvest the small, round, red fruit from low shrubs and vines grown in freshwater bogs or marshes. Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and have a well-balanced sweet and tart flavour. They make great juices, jams and sauces.
One of Ontario’s most unique fall events is a cranberry festival hosted in Bala, known as the “Cranberry Capital of Ontario”. In addition, there are several other cranberry-themed celebrations and products worth the road trip for this fall season.
Ontario 2023 cranberry festivals and events
Since 1984, over 35 million visitors have flocked to this little town in the Muskoka region every for the annual Bala Cranberry Festival, a three-day celebration in honour of all things cranberry.
Hosted by the township of Muskoka Lakes and Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery, this festival has been named as a “Festivals and Events Ontario Top 100 Event.”
Shop for Muskoka and Canadian artisan products, sample sweet cranberries coated in candy, pick fresh cranberries to bring home and play games in the entertainment zones. Local musicians, talented entertainers and lively attractions are present throughout this fun-filled weekend.
Activities include The Cranberry Portage Farmers’ Market, which features merchants with homemade goods, locally sourced foods and beautifully crafted art. Sample cranberry crepes at the Trinity All Saints Anglican Church and shop for local cranberry merchandise and products at the Bala Cranberry Festival Shop.
Find paid parking lots and accessible parking marked on the website’s Bala Cranberry Festival map. In town, shuttles provide service from Windsor Park to Ted Smith Construction during the festival hours.
Bala Cranberry Festival tickets can be bought online or from a ticket agent by calling 1-888-655-9090. Single full-day passes are $12 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under and a three-day pass is $17 for adults and $8 for kids 12 and under. On Friday, children under 12 are free to attend.
Dates and times: Friday, October 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday, October 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Location: 3130 Muskoka District Road 169, Bala
In response to the growing popularity of the Bala Cranberry Festival, a cranberry-themed driving route with over 30 stops was developed to explore Muskoka’s love for their cranberries in Bala and beyond.
Naturally, one of the top places to visit is Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh at Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery in Bala. Take part in fun harvest activities like the Cranberry Plunge, which involves trudging through the cranberries in hip waders, and the Bog to Bottle Discovery Tour, a unique tour of the farm that includes cranberry wine tasting.
Discover more cranberry-inspired food, drink, products, packages and experiences at restaurants, cafes, breweries and hotels along the route.
Try cranberry chicken wraps, fish and chips or pizza at Bala Bay Takeaway or a cranberry turkey burger with cranberry juice at the Huntsville Brewhouse. Finish with a cup of cranberry gelato at Affogato Café + Gelato or cranberry poutine at Beavertails Huntsville for dessert.
Date: Fall season 2023
Location: Multiple locations across Muskoka
Celebrate all things related to cranberries in Callander, on the shores of Lake Nipissing.
This event begins at the head of the well-worn Cranberry Trail. Along the 2.5-kilometre trail, there will be food, vendors and live music. At the end of the trail is Callander’s cranberry marsh. Remember to bring rubber boots and a pail if you want to stomp around in the marsh and pick your own fresh berries.
Activities for kids will be hosted at the Callander Library, Callander Museum and North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority.
Admission is free, but donations for the Callander Food Bank are welcomed. Shuttle bus service will be available from Centennial Park to the trail head.
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2023
Location: Multiple locations across Callander
Ontario-made cranberry products
In addition to the stops on the Muskoka Cranberry Route, here are more places in Ontario where you can get find cranberry foods and drinks like wines, ciders and jams.
- Upper Canada Cranberries: Located a 12-minute drive south from Ottawa, this is one of three commercial cranberry growers in Ontario and an amazing place to get delicious cranberry sauce, cranberry jam, cranberry chutney and Cranbee (their one-of-a-kind cranberry drink).
Location: 2283 Stagecoach Road, Greely
- Hernder Estate Wines: This third-generation estate winery in the Niagara region features delicious cranberry wine made with fresh berries and 8.3% alcohol.
Location: 1607 Eighth Ave Louth, St. Catharines
- Archibald’s Estate Winery: Purchase apple cranberry wine made with local McIntosh apples or sweet, hard cranberry cider at Archibald’s Estate Winery, an award-winning winery that offers complimentary tastings.
Location: 6275 Liberty Street North, Bowmanville
- Thornbury Craft Cider & Beer: Look for the bright red packaging of the naturally sweet Cranberry Apple Cider or the dry Craft Cranberry Cider on the store shelves of this 3,000-hectare apple orchard.
Location: 90 King Street East, Thornbury
- Chudleigh’s Entertainment Farm: This family farm produces a delicious sparkling cranberry cider made with Ontario apples, fresh cranberries and the farm’s pressed non-alcoholic sparkling cider.
Location: 9528 Regional Road 25, Milton
- Kawartha Country Wines: Pick up tasty cranberry vinaigrette, jam or fruit wine. Try the light “Cranberry Blush” wine for free at the complimentary sampling bar.
- Hawberry Farms: This century-old farm on the south shores of Manitoulin Island features cranberry jam, marmalade and chutney—perfect for your sandwiches, toast or turkey dinners.
Location: 498 Tracy Road, Spring Bay
- Hamley’s Tea & Coffee Company: Sip on refreshing cranberry apple tea at this specialty tea shop, located about a two-hour drive north from Toronto.
Location: 190 Minet's Point Road, Barrie
Last updated: September 19, 2023