By Christina Kaniewski, Build ON Program Coordinator 
September 23rd is the first official day of fall and this is when the leaves slowly start to turn shades of red, orange, and gold, and a refreshing chill fills the air. Ontario transforms into a captivating wonderland during the fall season. From stunning foliage displays to cozy harvest festivals, there's something enchanting for everyone to experience in this beautiful Canadian province.

If you want to take a scenic drive there are plenty of options for you. You can take a drive through Gatineau Park, Algonquin Provincial Park, or the Muskoka region to witness the breathtaking fall foliage. If you need to stretch your legs after the drive, indulge in a rejuvenating hike in one of the trails where you can enjoy the beauty of autumn. If you’re feeling super adventurous and want a view of the autumn  trees, Gatineau Park has a ziplining course that is being run until October.  Another option to do when visiting a park is bundling up and getting in a kayak or canoe for a peaceful daytime excursion.

Depending on where you are living there are several fall fairs across the province. These fairs are filled with vibrant farmers markets, small carnival rides, games, delectable food trucks, petting zoo exhibits and much more. Fall fairs offer a little something for everyone. Fairs in Ontario have a history dating back to the 19th century when agricultural societies were established to promote farming practices. These early fairs served as a way for farmers to showcase their produce and livestock, fostering agricultural innovation and knowledge exchange. Over time, Ontario fairs evolved to embrace a wider range of entertainment and community activities, becoming cherished events that celebrate the province's rural heritage while offering entertainment and education for residents and visitors alike.

Ontario has a plethora of apple orchards where you can go and pick your own apples. There are several orchards that offer a tractor ride to take you out to the fields of apples. Following your harvest, savor the moment with warm, freshly baked donuts and a steaming cup of hot apple cider—an ideal family outing. There are several apple orchards around the province you can visit. If you’re living in the National Capital region, I recommend visiting Mountain Orchards. Chudleigh’s is located in Milton and is about an hour drive from Toronto. There are lots of activities for both adults and children.

Another family fun activity is exploring local pumpkin patches to find the perfect pumpkin to carve or paint for Halloween. This is where farmers grow their pumpkins and you get to pick which one you want to take home! Many families will carve their pumpkin right before Halloween and put it out on their porch for decoration. Another fun activity is having a pumpkin carving contest with a group of friends. Make sure you save the pumpkin seeds and bake them as a delicious snack! Every year Upper Canada Village hosts Pumpkinferno.  Pumpkinferno is a mesmerizing autumn spectacle where thousands of intricately carved pumpkins come to life in enchanting displays, casting a magical glow across the historic village grounds, captivating visitors of all ages with its dazzling charm.

If your someone who loves spooky stuff then haunted attractions are just for you.  You can get into the Halloween spirit by visiting haunted houses, haunted hayrides, mazes, and other eerie attractions. A few cities offer Ghost Walks which would be a fun spooky activity to do with a group of friends. You can also find more bone-chilling activities in Ontario in your area by visiting this link.

In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October, presenting a special occasion for gathering with loved ones and savoring culinary delights. You can even put those freshly picked apples to good use in crafting a mouth-watering apple pie. For those inclined to dine out, Ontario's charming inns and restaurants offer hearty Thanksgiving feasts that are sure to satisfy the most discerning palates.

Fall in Ontario is an unforgettable experience, where nature's beauty and cultural festivities come together to create lasting memories. So, grab your sweater and camera and immerse yourself in the magic of autumn in this picturesque province.