This might be a controversial opinion, especially to the die-hard summer patio crowd, but fall in Ontario is actually nicer than the summer. Sure, the summer has an abundance of activities, and yes it has sunshine and parks and the Toronto Ex… but fall still beats it.
While summer can be uncomfortably humid all over the province, with a seemingly endless parade of mosquitoes and black flies, fall maintains a moderate temperature without any of those pesky biting bugs. More than that, fall feels atmospheric. The leaves are turning rust-coloured, the air is brisk and clear, and even the overcast days have a kind of gloomy charm.
There is also a lot to do in the fall. The worst of the weather is yet to come, and in order to celebrate the mild weather and seasonal vegetation, there are festivals, activities and events all over the province. To help you find the right ones, and to help you make the most out of (arguably) Ontario’s finest season, here is a list of six quintessentially fall things to do.
Take in the Scenery at Algonquin Park
Algonquin Park’s dense forestation becomes absolutely breathtaking in the fall, as the heaps of bushy canopy turn evocative shades of red, brown and yellow. Not yet too cold to bear, camping is still an option in the shoulder season, and can actually help you avoid the summer crowds. If you’ve never camped in fall before – much less camped in Algonquin in the fall – you have to try it this year.
Throw a Few Axes in Kitchener
Fall is here, which means it’s time to break out your flannels and jeans. And to complete the look, check out Kitchener’s favourite axe throwing facility, where, for the small price of a drop-in admission, you get to compete with friends by hurling axes at a wooden target. The sport, which got its start right here in Ontario, has spread worldwide now, with celebrities and major athletes getting in on the fun. It’s a great way to blow off some of that back-to-routine steam and work in a little light exercise.
Visit the Southeastern Cider Festival in Napanee
The apple is fall’s most emblematic fruit, but rather than just biting into one, why not let it ferment for a few weeks, turning sweet and fizzy, and then drink the resulting apple drink while relaxing in an orchard? That’s the value of visiting one of Ontario’s many amazing cider orchards. But to taste them all at once, in one place, check out the Southeastern Cider Festival in Napanee, where ciders from all across the province are showcased.
Warm Up at the Toronto Soup Festival
They have festivals for just about everything, don’t they? But here’s one most people can get behind: the Toronto Soup Festival. Taking place outdoors at the Garrison Common at Fort York, the festival serves up a huge variety of different soups from a number of different Toronto vendors. Thankfully, the soups are ladled into small enough bowls that you can sample a few before getting full. It takes place in late October, but don’t worry about the cold – the soup should warm you up just fine!
Get Lost in the Saunders Farm Corn Maze
The Saunders Farm in Ottawa always has something going on. Its hayrides, haunted house and numerous kids’ activities are enough to draw families year-round. But come during the fall and you’ll find what has to be some of Ontario’s best corn mazes. There are 10 hedge and puzzle mazes to try, each beautifully manicured and each offering a challenge. It makes a great date idea, or a perfect way to spend a family weekend.
Scare Yourself at the 6ix Screams Horror Film Festival
What’s better than a horror movie marathon right before Halloween? An indie horror movie marathon, that’s what. That’s precisely what you get with a ticket to the 6ix Screams Horror Film Festival, a showcase of both Canadian and International horror offerings that promise to give you nightmares well into the winter. There are, of course, other horror festivals around Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Just check your local listings for info.
Summer is great and all, but fall in Ontario just can’t be beat. To make the most out of the beautiful foliage, crisp and fresh air, exciting activities and seasonal offerings, save this list and work your way through it. Then, when December rolls around, you can hibernate in peace, knowing you’ve made the most out of the fall.