Where to go pumpkin picking in Toronto and the GTA

by Jeff Cottrill

The scariest day of the year is upon us soon – Halloween! When the little ghosts, goblins and ghouls come to your door to extort candy from you on Halloween night, who better to greet them than a spooky Jack O’Lantern? The first step is getting the pumpkin to carve, and lucky for you, there are plenty of farms in the Greater Toronto Area where you can pick your own. And you don’t have to stop at one; you can get more of the big orange beasts for pumpkin pie, bread, cookies, cakes and more. (Just be prepared for disappointment if you’re going to wait around for the Great Pumpkin to arrive!). [Photo credit: iStock]

Where to go pumpkin picking in Toronto and the GTA

WEST

Andrews’ Scenic Acres
A wagon ride brings you out to the fields where you can pick your own pumpkins, apples, squash, corn and more in early fall. This Halton Hills farm also hosts a Fall Harvest Festival until Halloween: the kids can ride rescue ponies in the animal section, or have fun with the haunted forest, corn maze, straw mountain or flower-picking area. Ice cream, frogurt and other goodies available too.

  • Season begins: Early September
  • Picking hours: Daily, 9 am to 6 pm
  • More information

Downey’s Farm Market
Downey’s, just north of Brampton, loves pumpkin season so much, the farm makes a whole festival out of it. This year, Pumpkinfest invites families for wagon rides, puppet shows, corn-maze challenges, a straw jump, visits with farm animals and live performances by magicians, comedians and jugglers. $9 admission on weekdays, $14 on weekends; additional charges for paintball and pony rides.

  • Season begins: Mid-September
  • Picking hours: Daily, 9 am to 5 pm
  • More information

Nauman’s Farm
Take a road trip out to Mennonite country for access to more than twenty varieties of pumpkin at Nauman’s in St. Clements. You can pick orange, red, green, white, blue or beige pumpkins of different shapes and sizes. The Fun Area has pumpkin slingshots, corn cannons, mazes, a straw mountain and more. Fun Area admission is $3 weekdays, $5 weekends or $5 and $9 if the corn maze is included.

  • Season begins: October
  • Picking hours: Weekdays, 9 am to 6 pm; weekends and Thanksgiving, 9 am to 5 pm
  • More information

Springridge Farm
Springridge in Milton doesn’t have a regular pick-your-own service, but its Pumpkin Harvest Hoot allows preschool and primary children in school groups to pick a pumpkin from the patch until October 31. Other fun attractions at the fest include the Boo Barn, wagon rides along the Niagara Escarpment, straw bales, a corn trail and farm animals. $7 per child, or $7.50 for the lunchtime program.

  • Season begins: September 21
  • Picking hours: Daily, 9 am to 5 pm
  • More information

NORTH

Brooks Farms
This farm up in Mount Albert has pumpkins of all sizes, ranging from $1 to $10 in price; apples and squash should still be available too. Brooks’ Fall Fun Festival runs on weekends until November 5, with an endless array of activities and entertainment for the little ones, including animated singing chickens, a pirate ship, a pumpkin cannon show and more. $14 admission; free for kids under 2.

  • Season begins: End of September
  • Picking hours: Daily, 9 am to 5 pm
  • More information

Cooper’s CSA Farm & Maze
If you’re up for the drive to Zephyr, Cooper’s community-supported farm has pumpkins for $4 each or $10 for three, plus strawberries and raspberries. The farm is famous for its ten-acre corn maze, and there’s also an asparagus mini-maze, horse swings, a hay climb and a corn box. On weekends, kids can enjoy wagon rides and scavenger hunts. $10 admission to the fun area; free for kids under 3.

  • Season begins: October
  • Picking hours: Wednesday to Friday, 10 am to 7 pm; weekends, 10 am to 5 pm
  • More information

Murphy’s Farm Market
Murphy’s Fall Fun Festival in Alliston runs daily until October 31 and offers wagon rides to the pumpkin patch, where pumpkins of all sizes go for $1 to $5 each – or you can get a pre-picked one for $7. Activities for the tykes include mazes, a corn trail, a pumpkin cannon show on weekends, an obstacle course, a mini-town and an activity book with a prize. $9 festival admission.

  • Season begins: September 22
  • Picking hours: Daily, 9 am to 5 pm
  • More information

Reesor’s Farm Market
A short drive away in Markham, Reesor’s offers lots of pick-your-own and ready-picked pumpkins for sale. Admission is free, as is use of the wheelbarrows, and it’s only $35 for a full barrow of pumpkins. For kids, there’s a giant straw man available for photo ops, as well as a giant corn maze.

  • Season begins: Mid-September
  • Picking hours: Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 6:30 pm
  • More information

Whittamore’s Farm
Another farm, this one in Markham, that celebrates the season with pumpkin-themed fun and games. Pumpkinland has thousands of potential Jacks, along with wagon rides, live shows, animals and lots of things for kids to climb on or slide down; weekends bring a Pumpkin Cannon Show and a spooky forest. $9 admission weekdays, $13 weekends. (This farm closes to the public forever in November.)

  • Season begins: September 17
  • Picking hours: Daily, 10 am to 5 pm
  • More information

EAST

Forsythe Family Farms
Pumpkins are available to pick at this Uxbridge farm throughout September and October, as well as strawberries, pears, plums, apples and a wide array of vegetables. Plenty for kiddies to do here as well, including a Billy Goat mountain, play trains and tractors, a tricycle area and weekend wagon rides and scavenger hunts, plus bunnies for cuddling. Dogs are not permitted, except for service dogs.

  • Season begins: September
  • Picking hours: Weekdays, 9 am to 6 pm; weekends, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
  • More information

Linton’s Farm Market
Pumpkins of all colours, shapes and sizes are ripe for the picking at this half-century-old farm in north Oshawa, and you can buy pre-picked ones as well, along with fruits, cheese, jams and maple syrup at the market. Lots of vegetables grow here too. Kids’ fun includes animals, mazes, corn bowling, wagon rides, a swing, a sand pit and a tricycle track. Pets are not allowed unless they remain in your car.

Pingle’s Farm Market
This Hampton farm is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year, and pumpkins are aplenty this fall, along with apples, squash and more. On the weekend, the farm has lots of activities for the tykes, like the corn maze, wagon rides, mini golf, farm animals and a Pumpkin Chunkin Cannon Show.

  • Season begins: September 23
  • Picking hours: Weekdays, 9 am to 6 pm; weekends and Thanksgiving, 9 am to 5 pm
  • More information

Watson Farms
Watson in Bowmanville offers pumpkins for sale at its farm market. Apples are the only fruit that visitors can pick themselves, but there are free tractor rides on weekends.

  • Season begins: Beginning of October
  • Picking hours: Daily, 9 am to 6 pm
  • More information

Willowtree Farm
The McKay family in Port Perry has a big pumpkin patch where you can pick your own. Normally they have strawberries too, but not this year, and raspberries are a maybe at this point. The farm store includes a bakery, butcher shop and café, and all the animals are raised naturally and ethically.

  • Season begins: Fall
  • Picking hours: Weekdays, 8 am to 7 pm; weekends, 8 am to 6 pm
  • More information
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