Canada's Best Fall Festivals
When temperatures dip and the leaves start to turn, fall fairs, corn mazes, pumpkin, apple, wine, and other types of food and drink festivals begin their annual run across Canada. Starting after the Labour Day Weekend and continuing through November, these fall festivals give Canadians a variety of ways to celebrate the season, from music appreciation to beer guzzling.
Okanagan Wine Festival
The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia is—along with the Niagara Wine Region—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 events focusing on wine, food, and culture.
Niagara Wine Festival
Enjoy more than 100 events including winery tours and tastings, concerts, Niagara cuisine, artisan shows, wine seminars, family entertainment, and one of Canada's largest street parades.
The Niagara Wine Region is adjacent to Niagara Falls, home to one of the world's most famous waterfalls. Take in the awesomeness of Niagara Falls, which is busy and touristy, and complement it with a more refined visit to wineries and restaurants in this rural nearby area.
Every October, the town of Wellington celebrates the fall season by seeking out the biggest pumpkin. Other highlights include a parade, contests, games, food, and entertainment.
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
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.
Prince Edward International Shellfish
The PEI 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. It is held every September.
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.
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.
The Winona Peach Festival
What's not to love about a small-town festival celebrating the fuzziest of fruits? The Winona Peach Festival features pies, carnival rides, a car show, and more. Winona even crowns a local gal Festival Queen. Sweet, juicy peaches are served up in cobblers, pies, crepes in sundaes, or on their own. If you want authentic small-town Ontario fun, this is it. Winona is a small town between Toronto and Niagara Falls.
The Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival
Dozens of colorful hot air balloons provide the backdrop for a weekend of music, strong man competitions (because...why not?), and amusement rides at the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival in the Outaouais region of Quebec. This festival takes place annually on Labour Day weekend.