10 places to visit in Toronto this fall

by Jeff Cottrill

Sad news, Toronto lovers of fun: summer is ending. No more beach, no more CNE or Centreville, no more TIFF screenings or Blue Jays or Shakespeare in the park ... What’s a person to do now? You could just sit at home and shun the outside world until the holiday season, and we’re not making any judgements about that. Or you could get out of the house and find other places to have a good time, even learn more about the history of your city. Toronto’s full of attractions and other spots you may not have thought of visiting lately, so, start making some fall plans! Here are ten great places in the city you can visit with friends or family this autumn. [Photo credit: iStock]

10 places to visit in Toronto this fall

High Park
Where better to appreciate autumn’s foliage colours than in Toronto’s largest park? It’s nearly four hundred acres of trees, hiking trails, natural areas, history, sports facilities and wildlife. The park has just opened a new Children’s Garden Staircase, and the off-leash areas are popular with locals and their doggy friends. Rush fans can visit Geddy, Alex and Neil, the baby capybaras at the High Park Zoo.

Fort York National Historic Site
The country’s largest cluster of original War of 1812 buildings, Fort York was also the site of a major battle on April 27, 1813, when an American invasion resulted in 477 dead. Today, the only invasions this fort sees are by tourists. You can see what real barracks looked like and view exhibits on the site’s archaeology and the soldier’s trade. The Invictus Games is holding events there in late September.

  • Hours: Weekdays, 10 am to 4 pm; weekends, 10 am to 5 pm
  • Admission: $14.01 adults, $10 seniors, $8.02 teens, $5.99 children 6 to 12, free for children 5 and under
  • Events coming up
  • More information

The Air Canada Centre
Hockey’s back! Raptors basketball is also returning to Toronto in October, and you have less than a year left to spend time in this venue before you have to start calling it the Scotiabank Arena. If you don’t do sportsball, or just can’t bear to watch the Leafs blow another season, you can still catch big concerts this fall from Roger Waters, Guns n’ Roses, Katy Perry, Janet Jackson, Arcade Fire or Chris Rock.

Evergreen Brick Works
The former Don Valley Brick Works is now an award-winning environmental community centre, which hosts guided outdoor walks of the nearby Valley. You can also get a spectacular view of the skyline from the Lookout Path and shop for Halloween pumpkins at the garden market. Enjoy a big barbecue feast on October 14 and a chance to trade goods with others at the Drop, Swap & Shop on October 22.

Black Creek Pioneer Village
Step into the past at this makeshift nineteenth-century community at Jane and Steeles, made up of authentic Ontario historical buildings. Explore the houses of pioneers Samuel Stong and Daniel Flynn, along with barns, schools, inns and more, as costumed tour guides explain what ordinary life was like before Confederation. There’s also an old-fashioned three-course feast on Thanksgiving weekend.

  • Hours: Weekdays: 10 am to 4 pm, weekends and Thanksgiving: 11 am to 4:30 pm
  • Admission: $15 adults, $12 seniors and students (free for seniors weekdays in September), $11 children aged 5 to 14, free for children 4 and under
  • Events coming up
  • More information

Glen Rouge Campground
There’s still time to go camping this year without having to leave the borders of the city: Glen Rouge is open for business until October 29. Pitch a tent here and indulge in the beauty of nature in the fall, with access to hiking trails, a kiddie playground, fire pits for barbecues and free admission to the Petticoat Creek Conservation Area. Your dog is permitted, as long as you keep him or her on a leash.

  • Hours: Daily: 10 am to 10 pm, Monday to Thursday in October: 10 am to 6 pm
  • Admission: Rates range from $26 to $41.50 per night, $156 to $249 per week, $520 to $830 per month
  • More information

Kensington Market
There are still two Pedestrian Sundays left this year – September 24 and October 29 – when you can take over the streets with the other non-drivers and check out the musicians and other performers. But you can also check out the shops, markets and bars in one of Toronto’s most vibrant neighbourhoods anytime, and Urban Adventures hosts an acclaimed walking tour until the end of November.

Casa Loma
The Halloween season is the perfect time to visit Sir Henry Pellatt’s famous urban castle, not just because of its spooky, Gothic appearance, but because October brings Legends of Horror – a terrifying theatrical extravaganza in the underground tunnels. If your heart can’t handle that, try the Casa Loma Escape Series, or just do the standard castle tour to admire the early-twentieth-century elegance.

  • Hours: Daily: 9:30 am to 5 pm, Legends of Horror runs from 7 to 11 pm
  • Admission: $27 adults; $22 seniors and youths; $17 children aged 4 to 13; free for children under four. Legends of Horror tickets $40 online, $45 at the door
  • Events coming up
  • More information

Todmorden Mills
Another great site for local history lovers, Todmorden has the remains of an old Don Valley community from two hundred years ago, with two millers’ houses, a former brewery and a restored theatre and art gallery. Check out the harvest festival September 24, observing Canada’s 150th birthday, as well as the Autumn In the Valley guided walk on October 8 and a handful of upcoming art exhibitions.

  • Hours: Wednesday to Friday: 12 am to 4 pm, weekends: 12 to 4:30 pm
  • Admission: $6.19 adults, $3.54 seniors and teens, $2.65 children aged 6 to 12, free for children under 5
  • Events coming up
  • More information

Scarborough Bluffs
Some areas of the Bluffs have been closed off recently, due to water saturation and instability, but there should still be plenty of places through the eleven parks to see incredible autumn colours. Fifteen kilometres long and twelve thousand years in the making, the Bluffs offer walking trails, gardens, sports facilities and some amazing views of Lake Ontario.

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