The best time to visit Ontario is in October.
Ontario, the heart of Canada, offers a rich tapestry of experiences for travellers. As the fall season settles in, you’ll find cheaper fares, quieter destinations, cooler temperatures, and, most of all, the stunning tapestry of fall leaves. Join us as we journey from Toronto to Collingwood, Elora, Paris, St. Catharines, and back, experiencing some of the best of Ontario. We’ve got lots of delicious reasons why the best time to visit Ontario is in October!
Day 1: Toronto – The Gateway to Ontario
Begin your adventure in Toronto, the largest city in Canada. In October, the city is less crowded. This makes it the perfect time to explore iconic attractions such as the CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, and the Distillery District. Enjoy cooler temperatures and crisp air as you stroll along the picturesque Harbourfront, surrounded by the vibrant colors of fall. By the way, we highly recommend flying Porter Airlines if you can. This is a first class economy experience all the way. For a unique, uncomplicated landing, fly into Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island and enjoy the charm of the short ferry ride to the city centre.
Day 2: Collingwood – A Scenic Drive North to October’s splendour
Leave Toronto behind for the tranquil town of Collingwood in South Georgian Bay, a two-hour drive away. October brings a sense of serenity to Collingwood, with less expensive accommodations and fewer crowds. By the time you catch the first glimpse of the leaves you’ll agree that the best time to visit Ontario is October. The fall foliage paints the landscape with shades of red, orange, and gold, creating a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities and exploration. Be sure to make reservations at the popular Hearts in Kimberley. Even in the quieter months you’ll find this farm to table restaurant bustling and always delicious.
Day 3: Collingwood – Embrace the Outdoors
Spend the day hiking the trails of Blue Mountain or enjoying water sports on Georgian Bay, all while enveloped in the breathtaking autumn hues. Check out the Agora-Path of Light, go golfing or indulge at the spa! It’s the perfect time to unplug and only use your phone for taking photos!
Day 4: Elora – Quaint Elegance
Drive to Elora, a charming town where fall’s beauty graces every corner. Referred to as Ontario’s most beautiful village by Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson, explore Elora Gorge Conservation Area and visit the Elora Mill, where the Grand River provides a picturesque view of the surrounding fall foliage. The town is quieter and more tranquil in October, creating the perfect ambiance for relaxation. Don’t be fooled by the quaint facade! This town is cool and culturally rich. With fabulous shopping, art, theatre and restaurants there is something for everyone’s interests. We absolutely love the location, the building and the food at La FONTANA. Reservations recommended.
Day 5: Elora – Art and Culture in October
October offers a unique charm in Elora’s art galleries and craft shops. Explore the Elora Centre for the Arts and immerse yourself in the creative spirit of the season. October in Elora also offers a cool tradition called Monster Month. With ghoulishly great events like the Witches Night Out, the Psychic Fare, Lantern Tours and Monster Walk, the entire village is decked out with fabulous decorations to celebrate the ghostly month. Just another reason why visiting October is the best month to visit Ontario.
Day 6: Paris – A Slice of Europe in Ontario
Drive to Paris, a small town with a European ambiance that is even more inviting in the cooler October weather. Enjoy leisurely walks along the cobblestone streets, and savour the charming atmosphere as you dine at Juniper Dining Co just a block up from the Grand River. Just over ten minutes away is our recommendation for your night’s accommodation: The Copper Loft. This AirBnB went through a transformation by vintage Maven Megan. Follow her Instagram journey at the copper and gold project.
Day 7: Paris – Outdoor Adventure
October is the best time to visit Ontario. Go for a canoe or kayak trip along the Grand River, surrounded by the stunning colors of autumn. Explore local products, including handmade goods and artisanal foods at the Paris Wincey Mills Co. And we love getting the insight of a local when we are in Paris. So we recommend you reach out to Spicy Jan of Tasty Road Trips to curate you a delicious walking tour of the area.
Day 8: St. Catharines – The Garden City
In October, St. Catharines, known as the Garden City, displays its lush gardens and fall colors at their finest. Enjoy the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta course, the Henley Island Boardwalk, and the region’s wineries, all with a quieter and more serene atmosphere. Depending on what time you arrive make sure you go for breakfast or lunch or brunch at Bistro Mirepoix. From lobster benny to the brisket burger you can never count on something being on the menu. But what you can always count on is that everything on the menu is absolutely decadent!
Day 9: St. Catharines – Wine Country
Discover the Niagara wine region with a wine tour, sampling some of Ontario’s finest vintages. The vineyards are adorned with vibrant fall foliage, making this a memorable wine-tasting experience. Just a short drive from St. Catharines is Tawse Winery, an organic winery where you can enjoy library tastings of past vintages.
Don’t forget to visit the picturesque town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, with more wineries, home of the Shaw Festival and location for numerous well-known films. When navigating quieter streets and less crowds you’ll see why we say that October is the best time to visit Ontario.
Day 10: Return to Toronto
As you return to Toronto, make the most of the quiet, cool October atmosphere. Explore any missed attractions or indulge in some last-minute shopping along Queen Street West or Kensington Market. When in Kensington Market be sure to indulge in the authentic flavour of Jamaican Roti.
A ten-day adventure from Toronto to Collingwood, Elora, Paris, St. Catharines, and back is most magical in October. Cheaper fares, quieter destinations, cooler temperatures, and the stunning tapestry of fall leaves make this journey through Ontario truly unforgettable. Ontario’s charm lies in its ability to offer a little something for everyone, and in October, the province’s beauty is at its peak. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and immerse yourself in the autumn splendor of Ontario on this extraordinary journey.