Fall is a short but sweet season in Toronto, just a slim window between the sweltering heat of summer and the wind chill winter brings with it. However, there are many ways to take advantage of autumn in the city. Whether you are participating in one of the many events and activities happening during the fall in Toronto, going apple or pumpkin picking, or finding somewhere to catch sight of the fall foliage, there’s plenty to add to your fall must-do list in the city.
Many events have been scaled back or canceled in 2020, so be sure to confirm details with the individual organizers before finalizing your plans.
Fall is the time to take advantage of going to pick-your-own farms for a bushel of apples. There are plenty of places in and around Toronto to stock up on apples of all kinds including Downey’s Strawberry & Apple Farm in Caledon where you can choose from 13 popular varieties of apples. Dixie Orchards is another good option with over 20 varietals of apples, where you can also take a hayride through the orchard to check some of them out. Pick apples and pears at Carl Laidlaw Orchards where you can also take a wagon ride and shop the barn market.
Many of the local orchards have special procedures in place for fall 2020, including different operating hours, face mask policies, limited services, or reservation systems. Be sure to check the webpage for whichever farm you plan to visit so you can safely enjoy your day collecting fresh apples.
Nuit Blanche, the all-night contemporary art extravaganza, is the largest contemporary art event in North America. It attracts over 300 artists, both local and international, who exhibit their projects in galleries and spaces in various neighborhoods across the city. The free event is taking place virtually in 2020, with digital content and online events beginning at sunset on October 3 and going on until sunrise.
One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale
Get all of your holiday shopping done early and all in one place at this year's One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale. The annual artisan fair usually happens at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place, but the 2020 event is happening all online, so you can shop around for handmade crafts from wherever you're located. You can expect a wide selection of locally-made items up for grabs, ranging from unique fashion and home decor finds, to bath and body care, art, ceramics, accessories, food, and more. The virtual fair begins on October 22 and lasts until December 20, 2020, so start your holiday shopping early for the best finds.
Watching the leaves change color from green into a colorful canopy of red, orange, and ocher is one of the best things about the fall season. You can head north of the city to see the real show, with plenty of spectacular options around Ontario for prime leaf peeping. The Bruce Peninsula is one of the closest options to Toronto and is worth a day trip, but head to Algonquin Park or the Agawa Canyon if you have time for a longer excursion.
However, there are also plenty of urban options right in Toronto to get a good look at the fall colors, including High Park, Rouge Park, Scarborough Bluffs, and Leslie Street Spit. If you don't have a way to travel outside of Toronto, don't miss out on fall foliage inside the city limits and accessible by public transit.
International Festival of Authors
Should you be on the lookout for new reading material, you might just find some inspiration at the International Festival of Authors happening virtually in 2020 from October 22 to November 1. The festival got its start in 1974 and in that time has seen 9,000 authors from over 100 countries participate. Over the 11-day event you can expect author readings, interviews, panels, lectures, book signings, and more, all offered via web videos or podcasts. There are over 200 participants representing a wide range of literature, from fiction to memoirs to graphic novels.
The Toronto Christmas Market
Just on the precipice between fall and winter comes the annual Toronto Christmas Market held at the historic Distillery District. This mega-popular event draws enthusiastic crowds ready to embrace the holiday spirit and the event itself is pretty magical. Twinkle lights and massive decorated trees let you know you’re in the right place as you make your way towards and through various vendors selling handmade crafts, beer gardens where you can have a pint or warm up with a hot toddy, or music stages with live entertainment. It’s a one-stop shop for all things festive, but note that things get excessively crowded on weekends.
Toronto Chocolate Festival
The Toronto Chocolate Festival was canceled in 2020.
Calling all chocoholics. The annual Toronto Chocolate Festival is the city's biggest event to celebrate all things chocolate, so if you have a sweet tooth you might what to think about making time for this one. Started in 2005, the multi-day, city-wide festival aims to incorporate as many chocolate-centric events as possible including chocolate afternoon tea and even a craft beer and chocolate pairing.
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair was canceled in 2020.
It’s a fall tradition for many people in Toronto to make a visit to the annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, happening at Exhibition Place. The largest combined indoor agricultural fair and international equestrian competition in the world encompasses quite a lot, which makes it such a long-running event in Toronto. People make the trip for a variety of reasons, including the horse show, agricultural competitions, wine competition, butter sculpting, live music, food demos featuring local chefs, and much more.
Cask Days was canceled in 2020.
Beer fans, especially fans of cask ale, have something to look forward to in the fall in the form of Cask Days at Evergreen Brick Works. The cask-conditioned beer festival involves over 400 casks and more than 200 beers and ciders. If you’re wondering what, exactly, cask-ale is, it’s unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally carbonated ale. And once it’s tapped, the beer is best consumed in two to three days. Breweries and cider producers from across Canada and the United States will be participating and there will also be food and music on-site courtesy of local DJs, as well as a temporary gallery space inside the festival showcasing the best in beer label and design.