The Best Spots to Embrace Fall in Toronto
Published: October 5, 2022
October and early November is one of the best times to visit Toronto. With warm, sunny days giving way to crisp, cooler evenings, the city’s trees put on a spectacular and colourful show. With so many parks and green spaces in Toronto, there is no shortage of places to embrace the fantastic fall foliage from some of the city’s most spectacular lookouts and viewpoints. Before heading out, be sure to check out the Ontario fall colour report for the latest seasonal status on the changing leaves around Ontario and places to see fall colours near Toronto.
Evergreen Brick Works
Check out the stunning view of downtown Toronto from the top of the Don Valley Brickworks Park Lookout at Evergreen Brick Works. If you’re short on time, the easy trail hike takes just 20 minutes and offers an uninterrupted view of the Don Valley’s treetops, including Red Maples. Brick Works is bustling on Saturdays with the year-round farmers’ market and daily garden market making it a fun way to spend a half-day here. Be sure to check out the public art and grab a pick-me-up fresh coffee or beer and cider during your fall visit.
High Park is the crown jewel of Toronto’s parks and while the crowds may come out every spring to take in the cherry blossoms, the changing colours of the Manitoba Maple trees demand attention every fall. Just blocks from UP Express Bloor Station and Bloor Street West, take in the colours on one of the park’s many walking paths or have a picnic under the tree canopy as it transforms into hues of reds, golds, and orange. Visit in the morning to capture the fall colours reflected on the mirror-still Grenadier and Catfish Ponds.
If you plan on biking through the park this fall, remember UP Express’ bicycle policy has recently changed. Only bicycles that can be folded or stored in an aircraft-ready bicycle box are permitted onboard.
Head downtown Toronto to the shores of Lake Ontario, Coronation Park is perfect for taking photographs of the fall foliage in the early morning to avoid crowds. Near Ontario Place and the Martin Goodman Trail, Coronation Park makes a great start to a fall morning along Toronto’s Harbourfront accessible a short distance from UP Express Union Station.
Want to feel like you’ve stepped into the world of Harry Potter? The charming footpath at the University of Toronto’s St. George Campus will make you feel like you’re at Hogwarts, especially as the leaves begin to turn golden in the autumn for the ultimate back-to-school vibe set to the sounds of rustling leaves. The UP Express might not be like the Hogwarts Express, but it can connect you to the Philosopher’s Walk just as quickly. The journey from UP Express Pearson Station to UP Express Union Station takes just 25 minutes, every day. Plus, don’t forget students save 40% on UP Express fares with PRESTO and the youth and post-secondary student discount.
Sometimes fall weather doesn’t quite cooperate with outdoor activities. When it’s too rainy or cool to head outdoors, visit Toronto’s Allan Gardens. Dating back to 1854, the Victorian-style indoor botanical garden boasts six greenhouses and is set under a canopy of trees that change colours come fall. Connections and transfers to and from GO Transit and TTC are quick and easy, making UP Express Union Station a great starting point for exploring Toronto and beyond this autumn.
Riverdale Park East
Enjoy the warm autumn afternoons with a picnic while taking in some fall foliage in Riverdale Park East. Home to one of the city’s best sunset views, the Maple and ash trees look like they’re ablaze when the autumn sun hits. Offering an unforgettable view of the Toronto skyline featuring the CN Tower, the park connects to the Lower Don River Trail if you want to get closer to nature on foot or by bike. Cap off your autumn visit at the Riverdale Farm nearby to see the goats, cows, pigs, and sheep and gardens for a free taste of fall farm life right in the city.
David A. Balfour Park
A scenic and serene walk through David A. Balfour Park in midtown Toronto is a must-visit every fall. A moderate 2.7 kilometer forested trail loop along a ravine is a popular spot for bird watchers and hikers year-round, but feels like an enchanted hidden forest every fall. Bring your pup along on this park walk where they are welcome to enjoy trails and grassy areas but must be kept on a leash. UP Express allows for two leashed dogs when you board on weekdays between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. until the end of service, and all day on weekends and holidays. Outside of these hours, dogs are welcome on board but must be in a pet carrier that can fit on your lap or under your seat.
Ontario’s landmark waterfront park, Trillium Park gives a great view of the city from the summit at the park’s southern tip for one of the best photo opportunities of the Toronto skyline from the water’s edge. The summit’s gentle slopes and rolling hills are the best spot to lay out a blanket and have a picnic while looking out over the waters of Lake Ontario and the changing fall leaves. The Romantic Garden makes it a great place to snap cute couples pics before exploring the views along waterfront path. With several areas and trails worth exploring, the park was designed in consultation with people from across Ontario, including the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
If you’re short on time in downtown Toronto, Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West is a great place to see some fall beauty. Behind a black Victorian iron fence, the winding path through the historic law society is open to the public. Grab a coffee and stroll under a cover of yellow, red, and orange autumn leaves for a little taste of fall, only a 15-minute walk from UP Express Union Station.
Head a little further afield and explore Rouge National Urban Park as it comes alive with breathtaking changing leaves every fall. A spectacular showcase of the Greater Toronto Area’s biodiversity, Rouge Park has it all including the city’s only campground and one of the region’s largest marshes. Filled with over 10 kilometers of hiking trails and bike paths, this Carolinian ecosystem is also home to some of Canada’s oldest Indigenous sites dating back over 10,000 years. For the best fall hiking with a view, head to the Vista Trail viewing platform or Glen Eagles Vista Trail in the park.
Located outside of downtown Toronto, the park is easy to get to from UP Express Union Station. Simply continue your journey onto GO Transit’s network of trains by connecting to the GO Train to the Rouge Hill GO Station near the park.
Explore The Niagara Escarpment From Toronto
Some of the best autumn views are along the famous Niagara Escarpment, part of which is located just outside of Toronto. A UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, this 725 km stretch between Lake Ontario and the Bruce Peninsula has the oldest forest ecosystem and trees in North America – and it’s absolutely stunning in the fall! A must-see on any visit to Toronto, these escarpment lookouts outside the city make for a great day trip from downtown’s UP Express Union Station. Now get on you walking shoes, and get out exploring!
If you’re looking for a fall colour excursion outside of Toronto, Niagara Falls is worth the trip. A 90-minute drive from downtown Toronto, this natural wonder is awe-inspiring year-round, but feels truly magical during October and early November as the leaves along the Niagara escarpment change colours. Stroll along the pathways of the Niagara Parkway amid the autumn gardens and listen to the thundering waters of the waterfalls for a day-trip from Toronto you won’t soon forget.
From UP Express Union Station, it’s an easy connection to the GO Train service to downtown Niagara Falls. The journey itself will offer some great views of the autumn leaves along the Niagara escarpment, especially from the GO Train’s upper carriage level.
A short drive or GO Transit ride from UP Express Union Station is Dundas Peak, located in Hamilton, for some of the best fall foliage near Toronto. Nature trails at this popular fall hiking spot offer picturesque viewpoints overlooking scenic small towns and waterfalls in the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area. From this bird’s eye view in the fall, the sea of trees below show off their spectacular displays of green, red, orange, and golden hues every fall. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the hiking trails, be sure to book your entry in advance to avoid disappointment.