Let’s just state the obvious — Autumn in Ontario is BEAUTIFUL. Although we end up saying “farewell” to the hot, sunny beach days of Summer, the colourful changes in the leaves, sweet smells of apple and cinnamon, and delicious tastes of pumpkin-everything make the adjustment to cooler temps a little more bearable (in my humble opinion, anyway). You may agree with this, or totally disagree… but despite how you feel about the change of seasons, it’s always important to make the best of it! And so, in order to help you make the most of this rather short season, I decided to compile a small list of the 7 ways to best experience it in Ontario, Canada.
Go apple picking
A wholesome, fun, and delicious way to spend an afternoon outdoors, apple picking has to be one of the most popular fall activities in the province. With many family farms and orchards scattered about, you’ll find plenty of unique options. Some will provide an excellent variety of apples to choose from, along with bakeries attached filled with apple pies, strudels, crisps and even ciders to purchase. Others will even include things like wagon rides and petting zoos! Check out your local area – chances are you won’t have to venture too far to find a local family farm to support.
This year, my friend and I visited the Orchard Home Farm. For one of the best selection of apples to choose from and pick your own, check them out here.
Visit a local pumpkin patch
Pretty standard indeed, but whether you’re looking to festively decorate for Thanksgiving or Halloween, bake, or get crafty with DIY projects, a visit to the pumpkin patch is always a worthwhile venture. Similar to the apple orchards, chances are you will find a local farm close by to support on a beautiful Autumn day. So cozy-up in your most basic Fall attire, with your favourite latte in hand, and go find that perfect pumpkin.
This year, my friend and I visited the Shantz Family Farm in Petersburg. Check them out here. There was a corn maze, mini play area for children, a small petting zoo, and plenty of pumpkins and gourds to choose from!
Attend a Fall Fair
Another common activity advertised throughout the province during the Fall season, is a good old-fashioned Fall Fair. Generally booming with tons of activities for families, couples, and children of all ages, Fall Fairs are bound to bring out the young spirit in all of us. With agricultural displays, games and activities, delicious Fair food, shows and entertainment, and more, a visit to any Fall Fair capitalizes on all the best features of Autumn. My favourite Fall Fair has to be the Rockton World’s Fair in Hamilton, Ontario (taking place annually during the Thanksgiving long weekend), which has been an established tradition in my fam-jam for years!
Check out more on the Rockton World’s Fair here.
Visit a local farmer’s market
Farmer’s markets are generally a good call at any time of year, but there is just something about the smells of a good farmer’s market in autumn… Wandering the stalls with a hot apple cider in hand, as fresh crisp air fills your lungs and fallen leaves crunch beneath your feet… This is another great place to pick up amazing seasonal baked goods like pies and jams and other preservatives, or decorative pieces like beautiful bouquets, cornstalks, and gourds. My parents reside close to the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market outside of Kitchener, and so I never miss the chance to visit this place during the month of October.
Find more information on the Saint Jacobs Farmer’s Market here.
Go for a hike
While the colours are absolutely spectacular in Northern Ontario, there are plenty of amazing places to hike and experience the beauty of Fall, no matter where you are in the province. Thankfully, Ontario is filled with Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas which make for perfectly picturesque and calming strolls through trails which line cliffs, lakes, and forests. Head outside of the city and bask in the fresh Fall air, surrounded by the beauty of mother nature. It’s good for the soul, I promise.
Get spooked at a haunted house
It wouldn’t be autumn in Canada without Halloween, and what better way to embrace the holiday than to attend a haunted house? After all, while dressing up and trick-or-treating may run its course as we get older, haunted houses will always be here to stay, no matter what our age… Depending on your interests and level of comfort with the whole ‘horror genre’, you can usually find many different types of haunted houses, looking to provide you with a fun and memorable (and sometimes, scarring) experience. There are many Halloween Haunts offered throughout Ontario involving farms, factories, castles and even amusement parks.
This year, I took on the Legends of Horror Haunted House at Casa Loma in Toronto. Click here to read more about the experience.
Thought this was more of a German thing? Well, it is…. but, did you know that Kitchener, Ontario is actually home to the second biggest Oktoberfest celebration in the world (the biggest outside of Germany)? This is due to its long history of German roots (The original name of Kitchener was actually ‘Berlin’)! Based off of the original German Oktoberfest, Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival is held every October, beginning the Friday before Thanksgiving, lasting for 9 days. Though often recognized for its celebration of beer, other cultural and entertainment events take place, attracting families and other ‘festers throughout the days. The Oktoberfest parade takes place on Thanksgiving Day and is televised throughout the entire country.
Learn more about the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest here.
And there you have it — Autumn in all of it’s glory, as celebrated in Ontario, Canada! What’s your favourite way to celebrate the Fall season?
Keep it cozy,