Canadian Staycation: The Best Places to Enjoy Autumn Landscapes Across the Country
As autumn approaches, we take a look at the best places across Canada to enjoy the blazing fall landscapes as the leaves change. Montebello, Quebec. Photo: Courtesy of Jim Byers
When it comes to fall colours, Canadians are blessed. From coast to coast to coast, you’ll find amazing places to enjoy blazing autumn landscapes. And as today (Sept. 22) is officially the first day of autumn, here are some personal favourites.
The Hockley Valley, west of Toronto, is an outstanding place to see the glory of a Canadian fall. Start out in Orangeville and take Highway 10 north to Hockley Road and turn right, then go as far as you like. Airport Road offers a roller coaster-like, dipsy-doodle drive through the Caledon-Headwaters region, with astonishing colours. The Hockley Valley Resort has very good food, spacious units and an excellent golf course. Next door is Adamo Estate Winery, which has a sunny, large patio and very good wines. Foxingham Farm Bed & Breakfast is run by a lovely couple and is across the road from the Mansfield Ski Club. Stop at Heatherlea Farm Shoppe in Caledon for amazing beef and fresh baked goods. They also make amazing sandwiches. Other great Ontario spots include Webster Falls in Hamilton and just about anywhere along the Niagara Escarpment.
Combine an immersion in the colours of fall with a trip to glorious Quebec for a real autumn treat. There are wonderful spas and lovely, quiet inns on lakes lined with scarlet and deep yellow leaves in the Eastern Townships, an hour or so south of Montreal. The town of North Hatley is particularly attractive, as are Sutton and Knowlton. Hillary and Bill Clinton make regular visits to the area to spend time with local author Louise Penny. A drive or walk through the parks of Mont Royal in Montreal is an easy way to see fall colours without breaking the bank. Mont-Tremblant, north of Montreal, is known more for summer golf and winter skiing than fall foliage, but the colours are spectacular in autumn. The Fairmont Le Château Montebello has lovely fall foliage and rests on the banks of the Ottawa River.
You’ll find lovely, deep yellow larch trees and colourful aspens in the Rocky Mountains. Try a gondola ride in Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper for a birds’ eye view of the colours spread out below your feet. About a half hour west of Calgary is Bragg Creek, which has great hikes and wonderful nature spots. There’s also a ton of fall colour in downtown Calgary and in Edmonton. Take a walk through the parks along Calgary’s Bow River for lovely fall views. Rent a bike in Edmonton and take a cycling trip along the North Saskatchewan River for terrific fall foliage views.
Vancouver offers a surprising amount of fall colour in places like Stanley Park, where there are more deciduous trees than in the mountains. The Kootenay Rockies are beautiful, and you’ll also find cool towns such as Fernie and Kimberley. It’s tough to beat Victoria for a combined city and fall foliage experience. Abkhazi Gardens in Victoria is a small, half-hidden garden with stunning plants and floral displays. If you’ve had your fill of fall colour, take a trip along Victoria’s Dallas Road to admire the beach and ocean views.
The Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia is a lovely spot for a Maritimes getaway. Annapolis Royal has fine inns close to the ocean and funky shops. The drive through the Annapolis Valley reveals gorgeous river views and beautiful, small cities such as Bridgetown. Take some of the roads that rise up and over the hills between the valley and the Bay of Fundy for the best views. You’ll also find fabulous views and great wines at Benjamin Bridge winery in the Wolfville area. In downtown Halifax, the Halifax Public Gardens is a beautiful spot for fall foliage. One of the most popular areas to explore in Nova Scotia is the coast near Mahone Bay and Lunenburg. Mahone Bay is especially Instagram-worthy.
A version of this story was published on Aug. 30, 2021