As autumn makes its way across Canada, there are places in just about every province where you may enjoy the blaze of changing colors. Up for exploring? Here are a few suggestions.
The Canadian Rockies in British Columbia and Alberta offer shades of gold, with aspens often contrasting with the dark hues of evergreens. Outside the high mountains there are other beauties to explore, as leaves change on Vancouver Island on the Pacific Coast, and through the backroads of Alberta.
The prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are better known for opportunities to see northern lights and polar bears than heights of changing colors, but it’s well worth your time to look. Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg each have parks and residential streets where seasonal colors flourish.
Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba offers seasonal colors as well as the chance to see wildlife including moose, bears, and wolves, and to join park rangers to become a citizen scientist for a day. The Qu’appelle Valley in Saskatchewan offers striking views as leaves change. As the folk at Tourism Saskatchewan suggest, taking a drive down any back road in the province is likely to lead to autumn beauty.
Northern Ontario around Timmins and beyond is often ablaze with color. As much as northern Ontario resonates with autumn colors, so do its cities. The University of Toronto campus is one of my favorite places for autumn walks. The Rideau Canal Bike Trail in Ottawa offers autumn foliage along a UNESCO World Heritage site. Large or small, Ontario’s cities offer hints of color and full on extravagances of it both, in street side trees and in city parks.
Not that far away is Niagara Falls, where water’s power and autumn colors meet.
Quebec City and Montreal host that mix of cityscape enlivened by nature’s paintbrush too. It is when you get outside the larger cities, into the Eastern Townships, that autumn’s colors stand out, however.
You might take time to do stargazing while there. Mont Tremblant, known as a ski destination, is a fine place to see before the snows begin, too.
Then there are the Maritimes. Up north in Newfoundland, Gros Morne’s dramatic landscapes can be covered with seasonal color. The Cabot Trail, in the Cape Breton Highlands of Nova Scotia, is often considered one of the world’s top scenic routes, to which the blaze of autumn adds its own dimension. New Brunswick has both mountain and lowland, city and rural areas. It’s sometimes called the New England of Canada, especially in autumn.
Prince Edward Island has its own autumn beauty, especially to be appreciated by day and long distance hikers and bikers along the Confederation Trail and by visitors to Prince Edward Island National Park. You will find touches of autumn color along the streets of Charlottetown as well. Another thing to know about PEI: because of its geography it has one of the longest autumnal seasons in Canada.
Perhaps you’ve visited the prairie provinces, or the Maritimes, the Rockies, or Quebec in other seasons. Pick one or two – or all of them – for autumn exploration, and you’ll be well rewarded.
As a soundtrack for your journey, you might try these albums from Catherine MacLellan, The Fretless, and Keith Murphy.
Autumn is turning to winter as I write this, though there’s still a good bit of autumn left for you to enjoy. Good thing about that, though — seasons turn and turn again. There will be another autumn.
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