Set in the most expansive wilderness, Canada has what may seem like an endless supply of natural wonders for its citizens and those from abroad choosing to wander through it. As the second-largest country in the world, that is a total area of 9,985 million km² to explore. While each season in this beautiful country comes with majestic characteristics, the fall, with its fanfare of rust-colored foliage, adds a mystical filter to the Great White North. If you'll be here from September to November, here is our ultimate bucket list for Fall in Canada.
Why You Should Get Excited About Fall in Canada
Canada is bursting with a bounty of rusty shades throughout the fall, making it a haven for those constantly searching for the most "Instagrammable" spots and those who just appreciate the sweater and pumpkin-spice latte weather. The mild weather is ideal for venturing out and about, so take a lookout list of things to do in Canada during the Fall season.
What to Include on Your Bucket List for Fall in Canada
There’s lots to do in Canada during the fall. Here’s what you need to add to your bucket list.
Northern Lights Display
You cannot visit the Great White North without seeing the Northern lights. The best time to see this is from September to March. The summer months in the North have daylight for most of the day, so the sun drowns out the Northern lights. So, it is best you head out during fall in Canada to witness the splendor.
The country's most northwestern territory, the Yukon is sparsely populated, with little light pollution. This makes it the perfect place for Aurora Borealis sightings. Regulars recommended taking in the pitch-black sky from a luxurious outdoor hot tub, but any setting will do.
Other places to view the Northern lights from Yellowknife, Churchill in Manitoba, Banff & Jasper (for summer) in Alberta, Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories, Iqaluit in Nunavut, and Kuujjuaq, Quebec.
The Cranberry Plunge
If cranberries are your favorite, you'll have the opportunity to quite literally dive into it at Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery in Ontario. Experience the life of a cranberry grower by taking the Cranberry Plunge and walking into a pool of floating cranberries. You'll have time to splash around while having the most amazing photoshoot. You can also add a wine or wagon tour to the experience.
What is fall without pumpkins everywhere? If spotting them gets you all nostalgic, Punkinferno will take that to the next level. Set in Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario, you'll find around 7000 carved pumpkins transformed into the most incredible one-kilometer art exhibition, all set up against the most fantastic 19th-century backdrop.
Prepare to be mesmerized by artist-inspired, glowing pumpkins that have been fashioned into all sorts of shapes and characters. With something to captivate every age group, this experience is not to be missed.
The Canadian Salmon Run
You cannot think about Canada without thinking about an abundance of salmon. For this reason, the country's salmon runs are a must-see. The early salmon run in Goldstream Provincial Park, Langford, British Columbia, is undoubtedly a fall highlight. And not just for us humans. You'll find black bears and bald eagles looking to join in as thousands of Chinook, Chum, and Coho salmon make their way up the Goldstream. Enjoying nature at its finest is a real treat - seeing the salmon head upstream for the spawning season while the bears and eagles swoop in for a feed. While there, you can also head to the Capilano River Hatchery in Vancouver, where local salmon species are bred and protected.
Salute to the Sockeye
Still, on the topic of salmon runs, you might also want to check out The Salute to the Sockeye at the Tsútswecw Provincial Park in British Columbia. Celebrated by indigenous groups for years, the event occurs in the dominant year of the four-year cycle (2022, 2026, 2030), so start planning for the next one. Reports show that around 2.2 million sockeye return to the Shuswap Lake in an average dominant run year. A considerable amount of this sockeye spawn can be found in the Adams River between Adams Lake and Shuswap Lake.
Get Lost in An 11-Acre Corn Maze
You'll want to try this if you've never ventured into a maze. At Downey's Corn Maze Adventure, you'll find intricate pathways to navigate as you try to get to the exit point of the corn maze. This year's offering is over 8 km long. The fun includes a scavenger hunt and various other games, making getting lost quite fun. This a-Maze-ing experience runs from September 1 to October 31, 2023. It is one of the most ideal things to do in Canada with your kids.
A fishing village in Nova Scotia, Lunenburg, used to be a rum-running and ship-building port town. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the ideal setting for those postcard-like images. If you love that quaint, small-town feel, you'll be charmed by all the brightly painted British Colonial buildings, which, together with the autumn shades, can be pretty stunning. Book a history tour and have a buddy to play photographer. It's definitely a big one for Fall in Canada.
Polar Bear Season
Every year, Canada's polar bears migrate from inland areas to the Hudson Bay shoreline and Churchill. There are believed to be around 1,200, if not more, that make this fall move. The migration period is usually from around October to the beginning of November.
Getting a Canadian Visitor Visa
To travel to Canada, you will need a Canadian Visitor visa (also called a temporary resident visa) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada. This will depend on:
- The kind of travel document you have
- The country this document was issued by
- Your mode of travel to Canada
This official document proves that you have met the criteria for entry to Canada. Chances are, you'll probably also require one if you'll be transiting through a Canadian airport en route to another destination.
Types of Visitor Visas
There are two types of Canadian Visitor Visas. Let's take a look at each one below.
The Multiple-entry Visa
This visa allows you to enter Canada for up to 6 months for about ten years or until your current passport expires. You can apply for a new Canadian visitor visa when your passport expires.
The Single-entry Visa
With a single-entry visa, you'll be allowed entry to Canada once. Entry will be allowed under the following circumstances:
- For an official visit
- If you qualify for a fee exemption
- If you're going to be part of a Canadian event
If you're planning a working holiday in Canada, learn more about how you can get your adventures started.
Pathways to Canadian Permanent Residency
If you'd like to experience more than just one fall in the Great White North, you'll be thrilled to learn that there are many pathways to gaining Canadian Permanent Residency. Below are some of the most popular options for cementing your status here.
The Express Entry System
The Express Entry System is popular with foreign skilled workers who wish to immigrate to Canada sooner rather than later. This speedy leap to a new chapter amongst the many shades of maple leaves is made possible by the online system's six-month application processing times. You can apply to one of three Federal Economic Immigration programs:
- The Federal Skilled Worker Program,
- The Canadian Experience Class Program, and
- The Federal Skilled Trades Program.
The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
If a particular province in Canada has stolen your heart, why not apply for a provincial nomination to settle there? The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allows 11 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories to nominate foreign nationals to work and move to a particular region. Foreign nationals are nominated according to a province's economic and labor needs, so you must also research whether your skills are in demand in your chosen region. You have two application options:
- Direct application to the province of your choice
- Express Entry
Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP)
If you love being near the ocean, you may want to settle in one of Canada's maritime provinces via the Atlantic Immigration Program. This pathway allows you to gain Canadian permanent residency in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, or New Brunswick. It is designed to help employers in the region attract workers to bridge labor gaps that Canadians can't candidates cannot fill. So, if you are ready to immigrate to Canada and live by the sea, this program is for you.
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)
In love with the tranquility of small-town living? Then, you may want to opt for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP). This is a Canadian immigration program that facilitates economic immigration to smaller communities. It is community-driven, so participating communities handle the immigration of foreign nationals and pair them with the most suitable local job vacancies.
Participating communities include:
- Claresholm, Alberta
- Vernon, British Columbia
- West Kootenay, British Columbia
- North Bay, Ontario
- Sudbury, Ontario
- Thunder Bay, Ontario
- Brandon, Manitoba
- Timmins, Ontario
- Altona/Rhineland, Manitoba
- Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
How Can I Extend My Stay in Canada After My Canadian Visitor Visa Expires?
You could apply for a visitor record. This will give you a new expiry date for your visa. You have to apply at least 30 days before visitor visa expiry. You can apply online for this extension on the IRCC website.
What is the Processing Time for a Tourist Visa?
The Canada tourist visa processing time will differ from country to country. The processing time for Canada's visitor visa ranges from 21 - 484 days, depending on your country of origin. Learn more about Canada’s Visa Processing times.