Summer is over and frankly, fall’s crisp cool air and hazy, sun-filled evenings are a welcome relief. While the season often begins with a tinge of melancholy, each year, Canadians fall in love with fall all over again. It’s the season of the harvest, of fiery leaves, of warm and comforting drinks. Here are 25 ways to appreciate Canada’s most sentimental season.
1. Go apple-picking
Apple-picking is a great outdoor activity and a lovely way to spend a fall day. It’s a great outing for the whole family, and best of all, at the end of it, you’ll have a delicious bag of crisp, juicy apples.
2. Make apple cider
Once you’ve got apples from the orchard, you can start the process of turning them into spiced cider that you can enjoy on cool fall evenings. And for a little extra merriment, try making hard cider (instructions here).
3. Jump in a pile of leaves
Return to your childhood by taking a flying leap into pile of crunchy leaves. The crunching beneath your body and the dry, earthy smell they release are the very essence of fall.
4. Get lost in a corn maze
Corn is an important crop to Canadians, and we have ample space for creating giant, intricate mazes that are a joy to get lost in. Many corn mazes also have booths selling hot chocolate, petting zoos, and occasionally even pumpkin patches.
5. Have a corn roast
After you leave a corn maze, you may find yourself craving a big, buttery ear of the stuff. Fire up the barbecue, get together with friends and family, and enjoy the autumn’s golden harvest.
6. Get a new sweater
There’s nothing quite like snuggling up in a brand new sweater. Whether it’s a thrift store find, a soft cashmere turtleneck, or a one-of-a-kind hand-knit piece, there’s a special pleasure that comes with pulling a sweater over your head for the first time in months.
7. Start a new knitting project
Speaking of hand-knit sweaters, fall is the perfect time to get started on a new knitting project. You can anticipate the coming winter by getting a jump-start on a new hat or pair of mittens. You’ll thank yourself later.
8. Harvest your garden
If you keep a vegetable garden during the summer, now is when all your hard work pays off. Your squashes and root vegetables should be getting nice and big, and fruits should be hanging off the vines. Make a day of harvesting, and then plan a delicious homegrown dinner.
9. Pickle and preserve
If you have a big garden, chances are you can’t eat everything you harvest before it spoils. The solution? Pickles and preserves. This is another great group activity. Pickle and can your fruits and veggies, and send everyone home with their own jars full of delicacies.
10. Carve a pumpkin
The process of choosing the perfect size and shape of pumpkin is an essential fall rite—as is trying to capture the perfect expression with your carving tools. And don’t forget to save the insides. . .
11. Roast pumpkin seeds
Here’s why you should keep your pumpkin guts: delicious, home-roasted pumpkin seeds. Choose the perfect mixture of spices, toss them on a baking pan, and voila: a delicious, crunchy snack.
12. Chop wood
Autumn is the season of storing up the things you’ll need for winter, and if you have a fireplace, that means it’s time to grab your axe and your finest plaid shirt and get chopping. There’s nothing like the sense of accomplishment that comes from chopping and stacking your own fuel.
13. Make homemade pumpkin-spice lattes
Fall is the season of the pumpkin-spice latte, but this year, why not save a few dollars and make your own? All it takes are some simple ingredients and your favourite espresso. Recipe here.
14. Watch a scary movie
As nights grow cooler and the misty evenings are filled with the whistling of the wind, you may find yourself craving an evening in on the couch. Get into the atmosphere by turning off the lights and turning on your favourite scary movie—whether that’s The Exorcist or Harry Potter is up to you to decide.
15. Learn a new craft
As the weather cools down, your focus may begin to shift from the woods and fields to the great indoors. Make the most of your inside time by taking up a new craft: knitting, crocheting, beading, collaging—your imagination is the limit.
16. Make zucchini bread
Zucchini plants tend to explode in the fall, and you may find yourself wondering to do with them all. The answer: zucchini bread. It’s definitely the most fun way to eat your vegetables. Get the recipe here.
17. Go for a walk in the park
Autumn is arguably Canada’s most visually spectacular season. Take in the brilliant leaves at a local park or ravine, and make sure to bring a mug of hot chocolate.
18. Start your indoor herb garden
Gardening season may be over, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your green thumb fade. Set up some planters with lights if needed, and enjoy fresh-tasting herbs all year.
19. Have a clothing swap
It’s time to get rid of some of your summer clothes, and perhaps acquire some warmer attire. A clothing swap is a great, non-wasteful way to get rid of items and perhaps pick up some new ones. Any clothes that don’t get swapped can be donated to a shelter.
20. Take a family photo
The introspective time of year is when you take stock of things, and that makes it perfect for taking a family portrait, especially out among the brilliant fall colours. Take a hike or head to your favourite outdoor spot with your family and capture the moment.
21. Volunteer and donate for a better Thanksgiving
This Thanksgiving, make sure that everyone is able to enjoy the season by helping out at a shelter or donating to an organization that serves thanksgiving meals to people who might not otherwise get to celebrate. It’s guaranteed to make this your best Thanksgiving ever.
22. Make your own teas
It’s time to stop icing your teas and start focusing on creating the perfect hot tea experience. You can build your own tea blends by getting creative with spices and dried herbs from your garden, and enjoy them in your favourite mug on a cool autumn evening.
23. Check out a fall festival
Canada is home to tons of fall festivals, so look for one close to you and check it out. There are pumpkin festivals, wine festivals, art festivals, and many more. Whatever your interests, there’s a fall festival for you.
24. Have a bonfire
Dry fall branches make for perfect bonfire kindling, so take advantage of it and cook outdoors: bake some potatoes in foil, roast hot dogs, and make sure to bring the ingredients for s’mores.
25. Take one last trip to the cottage
You may not be able to swim or sunbathe, but there’s nothing like staring over a cool, clear lake or walking through a still forest during the autumn calm. Take in the beauty one last time, through a more wistful lens.