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Fall for Canada: Why autumn is the best season to get outdoors

Autumn in Canada is a leaf-peeping, road-tripping, wildlife-viewing delight where the landscape is painted in rich autumnal colours and the weather is crisp and clear. It’s the ideal season to get outdoors and explore Canada from coast to coast to coast by road and rail.

Autumn in Canada is a leaf-peeping, road-tripping, wildlife-viewing delight where the landscape is painted in rich autumnal colours and the weather is crisp and clear. It’s the ideal season to get outdoors and explore Canada from coast to coast to coast by road and rail.

Fast and fun facts

  • How to get there: Air Canada flies direct from Australia to Vancouver and onwards to other destinations in Canada. Direct flights are also available with Qantas and via Nadi with Fiji Airways.
  • When to go: Autumn in Canada runs from September to November.
  • Did you know? Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined with more than 50 per cent of the planet’s natural lakes located within its borders.
  • Yum fact: Savour autumn tastes at the annual Fall Flavours Food & Drink Festival on Prince Edward Island aka ‘Canada’s Food Island’ in October.
  • Did you know? Canada has 37 national parks and 10 national park reserves, covering 31 per cent of its territorial natural regions.

Go on a wildlife wilderness adventure

Grizzly bear in BC, Canada
Grizzly bear in BC. Image: Julie King

Autumn is the season for pinch-me wildlife encounters. October to November is prime polar bear viewing in the polar bear capital of the world, Churchill in Manitoba. Hop aboard a tundra vehicle tour to spy polar bears congregating on Hudson Bay, waiting for sheet ice to form.

Grizzly and black bears are also out and about in British Columbia, particularly from late August to early October. Take a land or boat tour in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest in search of grizzly, black and rare Kermode or Spirit bears who in turn are lured by one of the world’s largest salmon runs. Stay at Knight Inlet Lodge and Great Bear Lodge for an immersive guided bear-viewing experience in autumn.

Get outdoors in nature

Autumn glory in Jasper National Park. Image: Destination Canada

Nature puts on quite a show in Canada’s autumn months with a vivid display of foliage from September to late October. Known as leaf-peeping season, the forest canopies are ablaze with colour in the national parks, making it the perfect time for hiking, mountain biking or horse riding.

In Jasper National Park in Alberta, you can hike or bike the Canadian Rockies on the popular Jasper Discovery or Wapiti trails. After a day on the trails, enjoy the night-time show. Jasper is the world’s second-largest dark sky preserve and the clear skies and minimal light pollution will give you a front-row seat to the Milky Way.

Holidaymakers can also revel in autumnal colours close to the cities. Situated between Toronto and Ottawa, 1000 Islands is a postcard-perfect archipelago best explored by sea or air to glimpse the 1,864 isles studded with autumn foliage.  In BC’s capital Victoria, the famous Butchart Gardens are a must-visit in autumn, particularly for the vibrant Japanese Garden.

Hit the road

Road-tripping on Prince Edward Island. Image: Destination Canada

In Canada, you don’t even have to venture far off the beaten track to see vivid foliage. See the landscape change colour on one of Canada’s epic road trips where trees framing the highways showcase a gradient of autumn hues.

Drive from Vancouver in BC to Calgary, Alberta on the Crowsnest Highway, passing awe-inspiring peaks and stopping in charming mountain towns. Explore Quebec on a road trip from Montreal to Gaspésie along the scenic St Lawrence River. Or take Nova Scotia’s iconic Cabot Trail, a 300km coastal loop that encompasses seascapes to scenery.

Romance the rails

Stunning scenery on the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. Image: Destination Ontario

Take the scenic route on a classic rail journey to see the autumn landscape glide by your train window. The popular 10-hour Agawa Canyon Tour Train is a one-day panoramic rail trip in Northern Ontario through pristine vistas that only runs from 3 August to 15 October.

Ride in style on Rocky Mountaineer’s Rainforest to Gold Rush route, travelling from Vancouver, BC via the famous resort town of Whistler to Jasper, Alberta. Or explore Quebec’s Charlevoix region in depth on the Train de Charlevoix, a 125km rail cruise experience along the Saint-Laurent.

To really see Canada’s autumn glory, embark on VIA Rail’s cross-country The Canadian train. The four-day, east-west sleeper rail journey from Toronto, Ontario passes through Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta provinces to Vancouver, BC.

Witness the Northern Lights

Witness the Northern Lights in the Yukon. Image: HynesM

Think you can only see the Northern Lights in winter? Autumn offers another opportunity to see the Aurora borealis throughout Canada. Located above the Arctic Circle, the Yukon, Northwest Territories and northern Manitoba offer the optimal environment to witness this glorious light phenomenon.

In the Northwest Territories, stay at the fly-in, fly-out Yellow Dog Lodge or in downtown Yellowknife and transfer to a nearby viewing station like Aurora Village. Or camp out in the wilderness with Northern Tales tours in the Yukon. In Manitoba, aurora chasers can watch the skies and fish at Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge, a two-hour flight from Winnipeg.

How to become a Canada Specialist

Polar bears in autumn. Image: Travel Manitoba

Take your Canuck knowledge to the next level and become a certified Canada expert. Join the Canada Specialist Program (CSP) to learn more about the diverse landscapes and experiences, gain access to exclusive content and valuable tools to help you promote and sell Canada plus network with other agents via the closed Facebook group. Click here to sign up now!

Want more Canada inspo? Head to keepexploring.com to discover why you’ll fall for Canada in autumn.

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