6 in the 6: Unique Fall Experiences

Autumn in Toronto is not just about pumpkin spice lattes and cozy sweaters. This year, why not uncover some lesser-known, but equally charming experiences a short drive away from the city. While pumpkin patches and apple orchards are classic fall activities, we’d like to introduce you to a more eclectic list of options that will add a delightful twist to your seasonal adventures.

From tranquil forest strolls to intriguing cultural outings, we’re here to guide you towards a collection of unique fall experiences that will make your autumn memorable, all while keeping you comfortably close to the bustling heart of Toronto.

1. Haunted Walks, The Village at Black Creek

For years, curious ghost tour guests have been asking for a more in-depth experience to explore the haunted side of Black Creek Pioneer Village. Finally, guests can attend a spine-chilling paranormal adventure, where groups of 12 or fewer will have exclusive access to investigate haunted heritage buildings on site — in the dark!  As the moon rises high and shadows grow long, visitors will delve into the mysteries of the supernatural world. Each group will have a unique and unpredictable experience. This unforgettable eerie evening will delight ghost story enthusiasts, fearless paranormal investigators, history aficionados, urban explorers, and anyone with a curiosity about
the unknown.

2. The Bala Cranberry Festival, Muskoka, ON

<em>Photo Credit: Explorers' Edge from Canada, cc by 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons</em>

Nestled in the heart of Muskoka, Ontario, the Bala Cranberry Festival is a vibrant celebration of all things cranberry. Each autumn, this charming town transforms into a cranberry wonderland, drawing visitors from far and wide. At the festival, you can immerse yourself in cranberry-inspired culinary delights, from cranberry jams to pies and wines. The highlight is the “Cran Jam” where locals and visitors dance to live music amidst a sea of floating cranberries. With artisan vendors, a cranberry-themed fashion show, and a chance to wade into a cranberry bog, the Bala Cranberry Festival offers a taste of tart delight you won’t want to miss.

3. The Cheltenham Badlands, Caledon, ON

Nestled in the heart of Caledon, Ontario lies a natural wonder that has intrigued visitors for decades—the Cheltenham Badlands. This unique landscape is a striking tableau of exposed red shale hills and narrow gullies, creating an otherworldly terrain reminiscent of the surface of Mars. Formed thousands of years ago by poor farming practices and erosion, the Badlands offer a glimpse into the Earth’s geological history, and a setting that’s perfect for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. In the heart of Southern Ontario, the Cheltenham Badlands serve as a vivid reminder of nature’s power and resilience.

4. The Painted Ladies, Grimsby, ON

Grimsby, Ontario boasts a treasure trove of Victorian-era architectural gems known as the Painted Lady houses. These captivating homes, dating back to the late 19th century, feature ornate detailing, vibrant colours, and asymmetrical designs which embody the essence of Victorian style. Each house is a visual delight, with intricate woodwork, stained glass windows, and charming wrap-around porches. What sets Grimsby’s Painted Lady houses apart from other Victorian homes is their kaleidoscope of colours. From pastel pinks to vibrant reds, these homes stand as a testament to individuality and creativity. Preservation efforts ensure they remain beautifully intact, inviting residents and visitors to take self-guided walking tours and immerse themselves in the town’s rich history.

5. The Apple Pie Trail, South Georgian Bay, ON

Fall is the perfect season to discover the best culinary, drink and outdoor experiences in the region through South Georgian Bay’s Apple Pie Trail. Explore the Trail’s many local orchards and breweries, apple-inspired art, seasonal sweet and savoury menus, outdoor activities, and the history of apple country. Learn what inspires the local farmers, business owners, distillers, and artisans to live and breathe apple. The Apple Pie Trail is a self-guided trail, download the app or the map and start planning your adventure.

6. Fall Serenity Cruise, Trent-Severn Waterway, ON 

In 1920, the Trent-Severn Waterway was opened to navigation across central Ontario from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay. This 386 km stretch of scenic lakes, rivers and locks was created over a period of 87 years, in conjunction with the water transport needs of the local lumber industry and the neighbouring communities. Since 1920, subsequent ongoing development and improvements to the infrastructure have resulted in a modern recreational waterway which locks over 120,000 boats per season. Kawartha cruises showcase a diversity of engineering including the Peterborough Lift Lock, the Kirkfield Lift Lock and the Big Chute Marine Railway. The Kawartha Fall Serenity cruise runs from October 15-20. Guests will enjoy the quiet splendour as they cruise. More than a journey, this cruise offers a deep connection with nature’s seasonal transformation.