Story by Tricia Edgar
Vacay.ca Outdoors Columnist
Fall is a season that is deserving of its poetry. It’s not blatant like summer’s heat or winter’s snow. It’s a quiet season, when everything is looking to the colder, darker days for rest. With the storms that sway the trees and brilliant leaves that grace the forests, it’s also wildly beautiful. If you’re travelling in Canada this fall, here are some stunning scenes that could inspire your own poetic musings.
A Wave of Colour
Fall means a change in the colours of the landscape, with spectacular reds, oranges and yellows that gradually fade into winter’s whites and greys. The Niagara Parkway near Niagara-on-the-Lake is famous for its glorious fall colour, as are the sugar maples, birches, and beech trees of Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains. If you’re in the west, catch a view of the larches changing colours in the mountains around Lake O’Hara in the Canadian Rockies.
Awe-Inspiring Storm Watching
Go coastal, and feel the beauty of the rainy season. Vancouver Island’s Tofino and Ucluelet are famous for the beauty of the surf. Walk along the beach in the mist or pouring rain, or as the winter storms rage while you’re snug in an ocean-view lodge.
When the fall rains come to British Columbia, the streams fill up with spawning salmon. The pounding water and rolling boulders are inspiring, and the crowds of visitors are mostly gone. Find a safe place to view the water as it roars by, and you’ll understand the true meaning of the word awesome.
Eagles and bears accompany the salmon, feasting as the fish complete their life cycle. Goldstream Provincial Park near Victoria is an excellent place to go salmon-watching, while Brackendale near Squamish is known for its eagles. If you’d like to see wildlife of the larger, hairier variety, day trips and overnight lodges out of Campbell River bring visitors to see the grizzlies as they feast on the fall salmon runs in BC.
Fall Sunsets That Will Blow You Away
On Canada’s prairies, the sky seems to go on forever, and so does the sunset. Sit next to a pond in the evening, enjoying the sounds as night starts to arrive. Go north, and you’ll also have the opportunity to experience the Northern Lights, bits of colourful light that play across the sky in the dark.
Migrations That Will Move You
There’s nothing like the honking of the Canada geese to get you in the mood for fall. It pairs up nicely with a hot cocoa and a toque.
Across Canada’s north, wildflowers begin to fade and the tundra readies itself for the cold winter. In late August, the weather is already cooling, and northern caribou populations begin to make their way south for the winter. If you’re lucky, you may also witness the fall mating season.
If you’re looking for a somewhat more urban experience, Canadian wetlands play host to a myriad of bird species in the fall, as northern birds migrate south. At the Reifel Bird Sanctuary just outside Vancouver, the fall migration of Lesser Snow Geese arrives in October. Up to 20,000 of these birds come to visit the marshes of the Fraser Valley each year. The geese come from Wrangel Island in the Arctic, and they seek out the more temperate climate of Vancouver for the winter.
The Misty Shores
The rest of the year, you can seek the views. In the fall, go for the mist rising off the lake or the seashore. Visit Canada’s east coast for beautiful lighthouses, tiny coves, and small villages as well as busy urban centres. Visit Nova Scotia’s Lighthouse Route for a collection of more than 20 lighthouses, scenic fog and ocean spray.
A Canadian fall is all about the quiet mist and gently falling leaves. It’s also about the power of the storm and the magic of migration. It’s an awe-inspiring season of beauty, and one not to be missed.