While fall’s arrival means that winter’s frozen grip is not far behind, there are few Canadians who don’t look forward to autumn’s festival of foliage. Here are five of the best places to enjoy the country’s autumnal displays:
1. Banff, Alberta
Banff’s Rocky Mountain range always inspires awe, but it puts on one of its best shows in the fall. The area’s larch trees — unique conifers that actually shed their needles come winter — transform from a vibrant green to a searing yellow and the mountains look like they’ve been dipped in gold.
Tip: For the best view of the larches do the Larch Valley / Minnestimma Lakes hike at Banff National Park. Stay at the majestic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which offers complimentary guest shuttles to some of the best larch-viewing hikes.
2. Agawa Canyon via Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Serious leaf peepers head to northern Ontario for one of the country’s most resplendent — and artistically immortalized — displays of autumn colours. The Algoma Canyon was a beloved backdrop for many of Canada’s famed Group of Seven’s autumnal portraits. The isolated canyon is only accessible via hiking trail or train.
Tip: The most popular way to see the canyon is via the Agawa Canyon Tour Train in Sault Ste. Marie, which offers day trips, as well as a variety of overnight packages. Immerse yourself in the great outdoors by overnighting at one of the cozy cottages at Glenview Cottages and Campground.
3. Bas St. Laurent, Quebec
Though the Laurentien Mountains get the most press for fall foliage, Quebecers avoid the tourists and head two hours outside of Quebec to the area around Kamouraska to catch Mother Nature’s flashy fall displays. The drive from Kamouraska to Bic National Park through picturesque fishing villages along the St. Laurence is especially breathtaking.
Tip: Stop at Bistro Cote Est to enjoy a delicious meal and watch the sun set over the St. Laurence river. Stay at La Fée Gourmande; the charming B&B is also home to a sublime artisanal chocolate shop.
4. Vancouver, BC
Many might be surprised to learn that British Columbia actually hosts one of the country’s best autumnal displays. Every September and October the city’s 405-hectar Stanley Park changes from a verdant green into a kaleidoscope of fall colors as leaves turn red, pumpkin and plum.
Tip: Rent a bike (there are a number of rental spots at the park entrance) and ride along the Stanley Park Seawall. Stay at the nearby Sylvia Hotel, which is covered in creeping ivy that turns a rich red every fall.
5. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
The Cabot trail is largely regarded as the most scenic drive in the country but autumn is when the area really puts on a show. Bright bursts of fiery red, orange and yellow bring to mind spotlights on a stage illuminating a luminous landscape.
Tip: If you’re there in early October don’t miss a chance to check out the annual Celtic Colors festival, which celebrates Celtic music and history. To really immerse yourself in Celtic culture, stay at the Keltic Lodge Resort with excellent views of Cape Smokey and the highlands.
Off the beaten path is no problem for Avioners in search of breathtaking Canadian colours. Book your flight or rent a car with points earned using your RBC Avion card.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.