Canada is beautiful all year round but during fall (or autumn for us Brits!), Canada really comes to life. Yellow, orange and red hues are hidden from view in warmer months but from mid-September to early November, it’s their time to shine. Here are our top picks for Canadian fall hot spots, all waiting to be discovered on your cruise to Canada.
Laurentian Mountains, Québec
Like something from a fairy tale, Québec City is a living testimonial to the grace of Old Europe. The area is very well known for its autumn colours because of the vast sugar maple, yellow birch and American beech trees.
Situated in southern Québec, north of the St. Lawrence River and Ottawa River, is the Laurentian Mountains. Although Laurentides is one of Québec’s official regions, the mountain range of the same name runs through six other regions: Capitale-Nationale, Outaouais, Lanaudiére, Mauricie, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Côte-Nord. The Laurentian Mountain range is one of the oldest ranges in the world (it contains rocks deposited before the Cambrian period 540 million years ago!), making it the perfect spot to take in the beautiful fall colours Canada has to offer.
There are many tours available that enable you to crisscross the scenic alpine landscape and admire views of the mountain. Discover lakeside villages, take a boat trip and pause for photo opportunities of the stunning foliage.
Parc Jean-Drapeu, Montréal
A UNESCO City of Design, Montréal is Québec’s largest city. Successfully fusing the endearing allure of its European history with contemporary style and renewed thinking, Montréal is Canada’s cultural juggernaut.
Nestled between the glittering shops, downtown restaurants, terraced cafés and churches of Montréal is Parc Jean-Drapeu, a site steeped with history. Consisting of two islands surrounded by the St Lawrence River, Parc Jean-Drapeu is home to an amusement park, a Vegas-style casino, the Montreal Biosphere (an environmental museum), a Formula One race track, the city’s largest outdoor concert venue, an Olympic rowing basin, an aquatics centre and even a beach! Phew.
Cotton ball treetops and weeping willows are a sight for sore eyes any season, but it is during fall that the foliage of Parc Jean-Drapeu really stuns. Best to visit between September and November before the brutal temperatures freeze the city of Montréal altogether.
Trout Lake Park, Vancouver
Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful spots on earth, Vancouver should be at the top of your list if you’re looking to enjoy some fresh air and vibrant Canadian culture.
Trout Lake is in the centre of the 27-hectare John Hendry Park, offering a wide range of both active and passive recreation opportunities. It’s often easy to forget that the park is situated in the centre of Vancouver city because of its beach and extensive wildlife.
Open dawn to dusk, Trout Lake is the perfect autumnal backdrop. Look out for the maple trees buried beneath the ruby lane of red leaves as you wander around this beautiful park.
Saguenay Fjord National Park, Saguenay
Along the banks of the Saguenay Fjord in Saguenay, Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay (or Saguenay Fjord National Park) protects a wide swath of land. Divided into several sectors (Baie-Éternité, Baie-Sainte-Marguerite and Bai du Moulin-á-Baude/Baie-de-Tadoussac), the park has a campground, visitor centre and a via ferrata (a guided climbing experience).
Baie-Éternité in the southwest region of the fjord is home to the Saguenay Fjord Interpretation Centre which features a fascinating exhibition on the formation of the fjord, its geology and wildlife. The Beluga Interpretation Centre in Baie-Sainte-Marguerite in the north region is the perfect spot to sit and wait for beluga whales to congregate in the bay. Bai du Moulin-á-Baude/Baie-de-Tadoussac are in the eastern region. Baie-de-Tadoussac is particularly good for marine mammal sightings during fall and Baie du Moulin-á-Baude features an interpretation centre with exhibits on the parks sand dunes, wildlife, marine life and ecosystems.
A conservation park, Saguenay Fjord National Park is a major attraction especially during fall. Its fauna and flora are exceptionally diverse, and its waters are home to four species of whale; blue, fin, minke and beluga.