10 festive places to go apple picking in Canada

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It’s fall! And with fall, at least in many parts of Canada, come apples—Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Snow, and, of course, the classic Canadian McIntosh, discovered and bred in Dundela, Ontario in 1811. Apples are synonymous with cooler nights, pulling cosy sweaters out of storage, and gorgeous autumn leaves. The best way to indulge in the crisp, juicy, just-a-little-tart fruit? Go pick your own!

Here’s a list of some of the best apple orchards in the country to get you started—though we know there are plenty more.

Taves Family Farm Applebarn – Abbotsford, British Columbia

Celebrating 25 years of of farming this year, the Applebarn is a popular destination in the Fraser Valley. Along with pick-your-own apples, the Applebarn features an incredible array of activities for kids, including (deep breath): a hay ride, a petting zoo, a corn maze, pony rides, vegetable cannons (yes, you read that right), a giant bouncy pillow, and a pumpkin patch. You’ll definitely want to pick some apples, but if you have kids, that’s just the beginning.

Davison Orchards – Vernon, British Columbia 

The Okanagan Valley’s temperate climate means it’s the home both of lovely wines and delectable apples. Davison Orchards offers a wide range of activities for kids and adults alike, from a collection of antique tractors, tractor-drawn orchard tours (which includes picking), and the Crazy Cow Kid Corral, a one-acre play area for kids, complete with water pumps, a treehouse, slides, and sandboxes. Plus, parents and grandparents can keep an eye on little ones from the comfort of shaded lawn chairs. A cafe and bakery onsite means no one will go away hungry—even if you don’t feel like cooking an apple pie yourself.

Symmetree Orchard – Luseland, Saskatchewan

The Prairies’ short growing season means some neat varieties are available that aren’t as common in the rest of the country. Symmetree offers more than 20 different kinds of chemical-free apples (although some are out of season now), as well as pick-your-own cherries and Saskatoon berries—come back next summer to take advantage of the earlier ripening fruit.

Smyth’s Apple Orchard – Dundela, Ontario

Yes, this is where it all began. Samuel Smyth—the great-grandfather of the current owners—grafted branches from the original McIntosh tree onto his own trees. And although the last first-generation graft taken from the original McIntosh tree died in 2011, there are still plenty of Macs available at Smyth’s (and they’re in season right now). You can check also out two monuments to John McIntosh close by. You can’t actually pick your own apples here, but the history makes Smyth’s worth visiting.

Chudleigh’s – Halton Hills, Ontario

For a lot of people who grew up around Toronto, Chudleigh’s is the apple orchard. Started in 1957, three generations of Chudleighs have now worked the Milton farm, which now boasts a thriving commercial bakery business as well as a destination farm. With 13 varieties of apples available to pick (and more available bagged in their store), you can get your fill of apples, then grab a drink in their licensed restaurant. Kids can take advantage of a large play area, complete with farm animals, a straw maze, and “retired” tractors that perfect for photos.

Apple Land Station – Thorndale, Ontario

What goes better together than apples and trains? Okay, if that seems like an odd combo, you need to go to Apple Land Station and ride their half-scale replica of an 1850 L-train. Conveniently, the train takes you to the orchard, where you can pick your fill. For non-train enthusiasts, the orchard, located close to London, also offers a giant sand mountain, farm animals, and a pumpkin patch.

Vergers Hillspring – Franklin, Quebec

Located in Quebec’s scenic Suroît region, this orchard has a nice, long growing season, running from late August until mid-October. Complete with an outdoor park and bouncy castles, more than 10 species of farm animals, and an on-site shop and restaurant, Hillspring has everything for a day out with the family. Go in late winter and check out their sugaring shack as well—and don’t forget to pick up some apple doughnuts.

Cidrerie Verger Ferland – Compton, Quebec

Explore another side of apples with the delicious cider that’s available at Cidrerie Verger Ferland in Quebec’s Eastern Townships (the ice cider is especially delicious). Pick your own, of course, and don’t forget to pick up a few pies or jellies while you’re at it. Take a hike along the orchard’s trail and you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view.

Foot Family Farm – Woodville, Nova Scotia

Along with an orchard of 13 apple varieties, Foote Family Farm is home to 400 beehives. If you visit in the fall, you can watch honey being extracted from the honeycomb. Set against the backdrop of North Mountain, the farm is a perfect spot for a fall picnic.

Willowbank UPick Farm

Six generations of the Johnson family have worked on Willowbank Farm, which offers apples, pears, plums, and pumpkins to pick. Kids will enjoy getting up close and personal with the farm alpaca, and antique buffs will get a kick out of the more than 100 horse-drawn vehicles on display in the horse barn.