When temperatures dip and the leaves start to turn, fall fairs, corn mazes, and festivals dedicated to pumpkin, apple, wine, and other types of food and drink begin their annual run across Canada. Starting after the Labour Day Weekend in September and continuing through November, these fall festivals give Canadians a variety of ways to celebrate the season, from music appreciation to beer guzzling.
The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia is one of the biggest producers of wine in Canada. For 10 days in early October, this region, with its scenic setting among lakes and mountains, celebrates the fall grape harvest with over 60 events focusing on wine, food, and culture.
Known as the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival, this event series has been held in the region since 1980 and returns from October 3 to 13, 2019, starting with the signature British Columbia Lieutenant Governor's Wine Awards and Reception at the Laurel Heritage Packinghouse in Kelowna.
Niagara Grape & Wine Festival
Featuring winery tours and tastings, concerts, local cuisine, artisan shows, wine seminars, family entertainment, and one of Canada's largest street parades, the annual Niagara Grape and Wine Festival takes place in September each year in the town of St. Catharines, Ontario.
The highlight of the festival, the Montebello Park Experience, takes place in one of the oldest parks in the Niagara region over the course of six days and includes over 50 hours of musical performances and 100 different wines to sample. The 2019 Niagara Grape & Wine Festival is September 2 to 22 and 27 to 29.
The first Saturday after Canadian Thanksgiving (which happens on the second Monday of October each year), the Village of Wellington hosts its annual Pumpkinfest to celebrate the fall season. Other highlights include a parade, contests, games, food, and live entertainment along Main Street.
Wellington is a sweet little slice of Prince Edward County, a thriving agricultural community about three hours east of Toronto. Since the late 1990s, this region has been gaining in popularity and growing its reserve of fine dining options, boutiques, wineries, and inns.
Other seasonal celebrations are held across the county, including Countylicious, a widely popular annual prix fixe festival; the PEC Studion & Gallery Tour; and several county fairs.
The Celtic Colours International Music Festival is held for nine days every October. This unique Cape Breton Island-wide celebration of Celtic culture is held at a time when the region's trees are in full fall splendor, displaying an array of oranges, reds, and golds. It is the largest festival of its kind in North America.
Not only will you enjoy the engaging and playful sounds of Celtic music, but you will immerse yourself in the hospitality and good humor of Cape Bretoners—a special breed of Canadians as enchanting as their landscape. The Celtic Colours International Music Festival takes place from October 11 to 19, 2019, and features over 300 community experiences and more than 50 concert events.
The Prince Edward Island International Shellfish Festival marries maritime hospitality and delectable shellfish, including lobster, crab, mussels, and more. Described as culinary by day, kitchen party by night, this festival features celebrity chefs, live competitions and, of course, an obscene amount of shellfish consumption.
One of the main features of the event is the Shellfish Excellence Award, which is presented by Restaurants Canada to the Island restaurateur who has provided the most exceptional service and promotion of local seafood for the year.
The 2019 PEI Internationa Shellfish Festival will take place from September 19 to 22 across the island.
Oktoberfest celebrations take place all over Canada—especially where there have been large German settlements—but the biggest Oktoberfest in North America takes place in Kitchener-Waterloo. This Bavarian event includes not just beer-guzzling but dozens of family-friendly events, music, and a Canadian Thanksgiving Day parade. Other events include the Ride Dine 'N' Stein bar crawl, the Oktoberfest Golf Experience, the Miss Oktoberfest Gala, Bogenschuetzenfest & the Running Boar, and A Blooming Affair Fashion Show.
K-W Oktoberfest is from October 11 to 19, 2019, at various venues in Kitchener, Cambridge, Mannheim, and Waterloo, Ontario.
Each year, the city of Toronto joins in on the Nuit Blanche tradition in which cities across the globe stage all-night cultural events. The Toronto Nuit Blanche sees over 150 engaging, amusing, thought-provoking, or downright wacky contemporary art projects installed across the city.
Toronto Nuit Blanche takes place from dusk till dawn on either the last Saturday of September or the first one in October (October 5 in 2019).
Located between Toronto and Niagara Falls, the small town of Winona celebrates the harvest season of peaches with a festival over the last weekend of August each year. In 2019, the festival is from August 23 to 25. The Winona Peach Festival features pies, carnival rides, a car show, and a variety of other family-friendly entertainment options as well as a food court, fish pond, arts & craft vendors, a draw lottery, and the crowning of the Festival Queen. Additionally, sweet, juicy peaches are served up in cobblers, pies, crepes, sundaes, and on their own.
Also known as the Festival de montgolfières de Gatineau, the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival features dozens of these colorful aircraft taking to the skies and providing a backdrop for a weekend full of music, strong man competitions, and amusement rides.
Located in the Outaouais region of Quebec, this festival takes place annually on Labour Day weekend, which in 2019 is August 29 to September 2. Other features of the event include a carnival, live concerts, balloon rides, an exhibition of classic and modified cars, arts and crafts vendors, a graffiti contest, and a kids' zone full of family-friendly activities.