For this year’s leaf-peeping, our eyes are on Canada. It’s not that we’re trying to be nonconformists (we love you, Vermont!), it’s just that Canada in October offers unique charms—early Thanksgiving, red maple leaves, blue Maple Leafs—just up the road. So we plan to follow IgoUgo members’ recommendations for northern fall getaways to see something new and stay within budget.
Prince Edward Island
“The autumn colors and the ‘bright red mud’ make PEI a really pretty place in the fall,” says Nova Scotian tvordj. She and her mother took a ferry to the neighboring island province for an October road trip and found a charming bed-and-breakfast at shoulder-season rates and plenty of Anne of Green Gables-style fun. She enjoyed everything from walking on surprisingly large sand dunes to shopping for crafts and says, “Prince Edward Island is a lovely, scenic place to visit. They brag about their golf courses and beaches, of course, but there are historic attractions and family activities, too.”
Saint John, New Brunswick, native keepitreal recommends visiting the famous tides of Fundy National Park during the beginning of October, when “the weather is cooler and you beat the crowds,” to take advantage of “great off-season specials” and “beautiful fall foliage.” It’s also the best season for whale-watching, as SeemaDevi found: “We had a beautiful two-hour whale-watching trip and got a glimpse of minke whales, finback whales, grey seals, harbour seals, and birds—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that adds to the mysticism and intrigue” of the area.
“For a New England scene with a French flavor, visit Quebec in the autumn,” is drumlin’s advice—and she’s from Connecticut! Montreal in the fall, she says, “is not congested and relaxing, yet the weather is gorgeous, and you can still have your dinner on the outside terraces.” She ventured outside the city for some old and new rites of fall: boat rides, cave tours, hiking, and “lots of wine.” Lawkos and jjpaws focused on fall hiking and biking around Lac Morency and Mont Tremblant, respectively, enjoying the “colorful ski hills” and “wonderful network of cycling paths and hiking trails.” And Lorne Brandt and his wife spent a full six days “exploring the area east and south of Montreal, near the Vermont border, in the glory of autumn.”
Sindy71 and family enjoyed a fall getaway in Barrie, Ontario, that included Niagara Falls and impressive museums, restaurants, and shows. “October was a great time to go,” she says, though she warns that next time she’d go earlier in the month to take advantage of some attractions that had closed for the season. Other travelers love Niagara Falls best in autumn, too: “It was phenomenal in the fall. Everywhere we looked we saw nature at its best,” raves flexie12. Up in Sault Ste. Marie, the best vistas are below the Agawa Canyon Train Tour, which offers “breathtaking views of colors of the surrounding valley,” according to Slack.
One of the perks of visiting western Canada in October is enjoying a prelude to ski season. “Consider Whistler in the autumn before ski season opens,” says fall fan 2togo, and “enjoy cool mountain air, great restaurants, and no crowds along with luxury resort accommodations.” Further west, on Vancouver Island, Peregrine’s plan for a mid-October trip was “rewarded with blue skies, few tourists, one grey whale, and gorgeous autumn color.” She especially recommends BC capital city Victoria, where “the trees in their glorious autumn clothes were breathtaking.”