This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking and making a purchase through the links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This allows me to keep the site up to date and expand on resources. Thanks for reading!
Possibly the best-known city in Canada, Toronto is a perfect blend of culture, entertainment, and nature. While you can find beauty within any season, fall in Toronto can’t be missed.
Whether you’re trying to catch a glimpse of Hollywood’s elite at TIFF or immerse yourself in the stunning autumn colors that can be found around the city, you’ll find true enjoyment of the season in Toronto.
Equal parts natural beauty and booming metropolis, Toronto offers unique experiences that speak to any traveler interested in arts and culture, natural beauty, or exciting activities. Travel during September and October for the best fall experiences.
Toronto In Autumn: Best Things To Do
September in Toronto
As the city transitions from summer to fall, travelers and locals alike are treated to activities and events that mark the beginning of a season filled with cozy sweaters and a lingering scent of cinnamon and drying leaves.
If you find yourself in Toronto in September, consider immersing yourself in the fall season with these events.
Arts & Culture Festivals In Toronto In September
Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
Established in 1976, TIFF celebrates the best in film from around the world. It is second only to Cannes Film Festival in its notoriety and celebrity draw. With nearly 400 films to choose from across downtown Toronto, you may just find yourself experiencing one of the best.
TIFF starts on the first Thursday after Canada’s Labour Day and lasts for eleven days.
The Word on the Street
A weekend festival near the end of September, The Word on the Street celebrates the written word. The event supports authors, publishers, and local bookstores, allowing you to connect with other passionate readers.
Taking place on the shores of Lake Ontario, the book and magazine fair has been around for over 30 years and acknowledges the power of storytelling, ideas, and imagination.
Toronto Comedy Festival (JFL42)
JFL42 features ten days of some of the world’s funniest comedians. Choose the headlining acts that you want to see and then from another 42 acts who are just as hilarious.
Generally taking place at the end of September, tickets go on sale in the summer. So if you know you’ll be visiting Toronto in the fall, make sure you book your passes in advance.
Canadian Football League (CFL) Games
The CFL season starts from the beginning of August and runs until the middle of November. Afterward, you can catch the playoffs and Grey Cup. Toronto’s team, the Argonauts, find their home at BMO Field. If you check the schedule before arriving, you may be able to catch an Argos game during your stay.
The Argonauts have the most Grey Cup wins, so you will see real talent if you manage to get tickets to a game.
The farmers market at the Evergreen Brick Works
Although the Saturday farmers market takes place throughout the year – outdoors from May to November and indoors from November to April – the food and goods offered by vendors are seasonal. Purchase locally grown and made foods or support local artists selling one-of-a-kind pieces that you won’t find anywhere else.
The Evergreen Brick Works, a former paper mill, factory, and quarry, serves as a historical backdrop to the market. You can visit Saturday mornings from 8 to 1.
Go Apple picking
Offered by several farms and orchards just outside the city, apple picking kicks off in August and continues into fall. Get your hands on fresh produce perfect for fall desserts, or just enjoy being outside in some natural beauty. Check out Downey’s Strawberry & Apple Farm, Dixie Orchards, or Carl Laidlaw Orchards for the best picking opportunities.
October In Toronto
October offers a great variety of unique culture and activities. It’s also the best time to see the fall colors gracing the city’s trees before they fall to the ground in preparation for winter.
If you’re lucky enough to make your way to the city in October, make sure you check out these activities.
Arts & Culture Festivals In Toronto In October
Starting in Europe, Nuit Blanche – an all-night arts festival – has since spread to several Canadian cities. Toronto, of course, has become the event for contemporary art in North America. Exhibits can be found in galleries and other spaces all over the city, attracting over 300 artists from around the world.
Make your way to Toronto at the beginning of October if you’re going for Nuit Blanche. This year’s event has been postponed until 2022.
Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA)
For over 40 years, TIFA has welcomed thousands of authors from more than 100 countries to celebrate literature. The festival includes keynote addresses, conferences, and workshops, along with book launches, performances, and special award celebrations. It is also a place to experience artists’ talks, readings, interviews, and discussions.
TIFA lasts 11 days and takes place near the end of October. The 2021 event is scheduled for October 21-31st.
Halloween on Church
Located in the Church Wellesley Village, an LGBT-oriented neighborhood, Halloween on Church is one of the best ways to spend October 31. Thousands of people flock to the pedestrian-only street on Halloween to enjoy The Village’s food, shops, and bars.
If you’re in Toronto for Halloween, grab your costume and head down for free!
The Cask Beer Festival takes place at the Evergreen Brick Works for three days near the middle of the month. It celebrates cask ale that is unpasteurized, unfiltered, and naturally carbonated – all served directly from a barrel.
The event also celebrates food, art, and music with a history going back over fifteen years.
The 2021 event takes place October 18th-20th.
Toronto Chocolate Festival
Running for the whole month of October, the Toronto Chocolate Festival offers plenty of opportunities to indulge in chocolate’s finest. Take part in different chocolate events, including food tastings, afternoon tea, and challenges.
An elite event, tickets for the festival start at about $100 and can cost thousands for groups. However, it’s a unique experience that you’re unlikely to experience anywhere else. Get your tickets well before heading to Toronto if you want to join other chocolate connoisseurs.
Best Places to See Fall Colors in Toronto
If you’re heading to Toronto in the fall, you are going to see beautiful fall colors no matter where you are. However, some places offer unparalleled views that you cannot miss.
The Don Valley: the Evergreen Brick Works are located within the valley, so if you’re heading to the farmers market or Cask Days, this will be an easy one to see.
Glen Stewart Ravine: take yourself along the walking trail that cuts through the park, and you will be directly under some shining examples of fall foliage.
Rouge Park: with many trails to hike around the ravine walls, you can spend an entire day experiencing the fall foliage here. Its rural scenery is accessible via car as well and will convince you that you’ve left Toronto.
Toronto Islands: with gorgeous views of the city’s skyline, and a tranquil ferry ride, you will gain a new appreciation for the season when viewing fall colors from this perspective.
Leslie Street Spit: a part of a more extensive park, the Leslie Street Spit doesn’t have as many trees as other options. However, its location on the water is a perfect way to experience the changing season.
Necropolis Cemetery: one for the Halloween lovers, this one may seem daunting to some. The changing fall leaves against the historic gothic and Victorian architecture make the cemetery one of the best places to see fall colors in Toronto and is unlike any other.
There are several other places to see fall colors near Toronto, but whichever you choose, be sure to go around the middle of October when the colors are most vibrant.
November In Toronoto
Although the best fall activities in Toronto are in the early part of autumn when it’s warmer, there are also exceptional experiences in November as the city starts heading towards the winter months. This is when Christmas starts to infiltrate the city, making Toronto one of the best places to visit in Ontario in winter.
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (RAWF)
Experience the countryside in the city with the RAWF. The largest of its kind, the fair has been a Toronto autumn tradition for over 90 years. Shepherding dogs, horse shows, award-winning food and drink, cooking competitions, and fresh foods all work to create an experience that cannot be found anywhere else.
The fair takes place during the first two weeks of November, welcoming members of the Royal Family of Britain (and Canada) as its honored guests. However, this year’s event is postponed until 2022.
The Toronto Christmas Market
Located in The Distillery District, featuring preserved Victorian-era industrial architecture as its backdrop, the Toronto Christmas Market is held every year. It features foods and goods from local vendors—experience a Christmas countdown, twinkling lights, and fun attractions that pull in plenty of visitors.
The market begins around the middle of November and runs until the end of December.
One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale
The One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale is an indoor artisan market that prides itself on offering ‘one of a kind’ products from local creators. For over 40 years, the Show & Sale has promoted creativity and community. Indulge in crafts and art; find brilliant gifts in preparation for Christmas.
The show runs for two weeks, starting near the end of November. The 2021 event takes place from November 25 to December 5.
Where to stay in Toronto in Fall
If you’re looking to experience fall activities in Toronto, why not stay in one of these impressive accommodations? Encounter remarkable parts of the city and create a stay that is second-to-none.
1 Hotel Toronto
The 1 Hotel Toronto is the cities first eco-hotel, offering a design with the environment at its heart. They are responsible for 2021 trees being planted around the city, which will only add to the fall colors gracing Toronto in a few years.
It aims to minimize its carbon footprint by using on-site composting for reusable soil and renewable energy. Although the price tag is high, its location and distinct features make it worth staying in.
Omni King Edward Hotel/Mokara Spa
For horror lovers and relaxation aficionados alike, the Omni King Edward Hotel has an impressive history of celebrity guests like The Beatles and Elizabeth Taylor. Built over a jail and hanging yard, guests have reported hearing sounds of talking, shaking chandeliers, dancing, and music in the now-closed crystal ballroom. If you’re looking for a scare around autumn’s Halloween season, you can do worse than this hotel.
Complete with a spa, you will have ample time to recover from the frights of the hotel or a day taking in fall around Toronto with body treatments and facials.
Fairmont Royal York Hotel
Another haunted hotel, the Fairmont Royal York Hotel has reports of a grey-haired man and a banquet porter hanging around, refusing to leave. With good-sized rooms and a decent location, you’ll still experience a comfortable and central stay… even if you don’t experience any ghost children laughing or unplanned stops on the elevator.
Another great hotel to stay is the Westin Harbour Castle – you can read my full review here.
Whether visiting the city for a few days or a few weeks, the fall activities in Toronto offer a variety of memorable experiences unmatched by those found in other cities. And if you happen to get bored, you can always take a road trip to one of these places near Toronto to see even more magnificent fall foliage.
Planning a trip to Canada?
Enjoyed this post? Pin it for later!