16 Outstanding Fall Adventures & Activities in Canada
With fall officially underway in a few short days it’s time to think about what you can do to take advantage of what I think is the best season in Canada. With a little luck we’ll get sunny warm days, cool nights and no bugs.
Here are 16 outstanding adventures and activities I think would be great fun to do this fall.
- The obvious choice is to hit the road or the trails in search of the best fall foliage. Where do you find that? There are fantastic colours all over the country but the best colours are seen in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces. Some of the hot spots to visit include the Laurentians, Eastern Townships and Gatineau Hills of Quebec, Algonquin Park in Ontario, Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, the Fundy Trail, Kouchibouguac National Park and some of the river valleys like the St. John River and Miramichi River Route in New Brunswick. In Alberta head to Lake Louise and join the throngs hiking to the Larch Valley, located on the way to Sentinel Pass.
Mount Tremblant, Quebec decked out for fall
- Have you always wanted to see a grizzly bear? With salmon spawning there is no better time to see grizzlies than right now. You can head to Bella Coola on the coast of BC or inland on a multi-day trip to Chilko Lake. Knight Inlet is also a great place to watch them.
- Can you tell the difference between a poisonous and non-poisonous mushroom? If not why not sign up for a course and spend a day outside mushroom hunting. There are a number of Mycological Societies across Canada that offer meetings and outings. Terra Nova National Park in Newfoundland hosts a mushroom foray at the end of September. If you’d rather eat them than look for them check out the Sunshine Coast Mushroom Festival in mid-October.
Edible or poisonous mushrooms? I have no idea.
- Have you ever been to the Adam’s River in the Shuswap region of British Columbia? Every October you can watch thousands if not millions of sockeye salmon return to spawn on the Adam’s River. Big years are considered to be every fourth year – and 2014 is the next big year.
Adam’s River sockeye
- Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan is now a Dark Sky Preserve. This is where you can see some of the darkest skies in Canada – and what better time than at night in the fall before it’s too cold outside. I’ll be heading there next week to explore the park during the day and at night in a Ford Flex - thoughtfully provided by Ford.
- The Celtic Colours International Festival on Cape Breton Island takes place from October 5th to 13th. This is your chance to attend a fiddle or square dancing workshop. Listen to music including Natalie McMaster, a Cape Breton girl. Catch a Gaelic breakfast, try playing the harp or learn how to quilt. There are loads of activities for all ages.
Cheticamp area – where some of the concerts are played
- I remember my grandmother raving about her trip up the Agawa Canyon near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on the Algoma Central Railway. It’s a one day trip that transports you through the forests of the Canadian Shield. Fall colours are spectacular especially in the latter half of September and into the first week of October.
Getting ready to explore the Agawa Canyon by train
- Grapes are ripening in the Okanagan so that means the Okanagan Fall Festival is just around the corner. This year the festival begins September 28th and runs until October 7th. Take a vineyard tour, eat lunch among the vines or learn about wine and food pairings.
Grapes ripening in the Okanagan
- The 61st annual Niagara Wine Festival opens on September 21st and runs until the 30th. Take a seminar on How to Educate Your Senses. Watch the parade, catch some concerts in the vineyards and treat your palate so some amazing wine.
Niagara vineyard beside Lake Ontario
- Beer and bratwurst are the stars – at least as far as food is concerned at the annual Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo. This is the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany. This year it runs from October 5-13th.
- If you’re a bird lover than catching one of the fall migrations is what you’ll want to do. In Ontario head for Point Pelee. On the west coast visit the Riefel Bird Sanctuary near Vancouver. Snow geese start arriving in early October in huge numbers – between 50,000 and 100,000 birds depending on the year.
Snow geese in flight at Reifel
- It may not feel like fall if you head to Churchill, Manitoba but if you’d like to see polar bears en masse then mid- October to mid-November is the time to go.
Polar bears in Churchill
- Head to northern latitudes in search of the Northern Lights.
- Go apple picking in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, in the Niagara region of Ontario or in the Eastern Townships in Quebec.
- Visit a local fall fair and search out the biggest pumpkins and squash. Or go to a farmer’s market and support the local farms.
- Get out for one last day in the kayak or canoe.
Kayaking in Calgary
What is your favourite fall activity?
Photo credit: Mount Tremblant, grizzly, Algoma train, Adam’s River sockeye, snow geese, northern lights
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