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AUTUMN Thanks to bountiful harvests and brilliant foliage, fall is an ideal travel time. Just arrive early if you're venturing beyond major locales. Outlying tour operators, and even lodgings, might close after Canadian Thanksgiving—Columbus Day in the U.S.— and not reopen until May. FALL FLAVOURS Nationwide, vintners toast the grape harvest by popping corks and hosting festivals that feature winery tours, tastings, seminars, food pairings and the like. The largest of the lot—the Niagara Wine Festival, held in the heart of Ontario wine country—bridges three September weekends ( www.niagarawine B.C. counters in early October with the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival, a 10-day fete in the famously fertile Okanagan Valley ( Nova Scotia's burgeoning wine industry also shows off with open houses and the occasional grape stomp. For a different spin on the harvest theme, visit a U-pick apple orchard, negotiate a corn maze, or attend an agricultural event in the province's Annapolis Valley. Top contenders are the Hants County Exhibition, a September fixture since 1765 ( ), and the Pumpkin Festival, a quirky October affair that begins with a pumpkin weigh-in and ends with a race involving boats crafted from giant pumpkins ( www.worldsbiggest ). FLAMBOYANT FOLIAGE It's not only foodies and farm fans who appreciate autumn here. Canada ranks high on any leaf peeper's bucket list because the blend of deciduous trees creates a remark- able range of colours. Once contrasting stands of evergreen and a backdrop of blue water are added to the equation, the results are extraordinary. Although beautiful across Canada, the fiery display tends to be best in the central and eastern portions of the country from the third week of September until mid-October. Québec's Laurentian Mountains and the Gaspé Peninsula offer spectacular fall road trips, as do New Brunswick's Fundy Coast and the St. John River Valley where weathered bridges and barns enhance the postcard-worthy palette. Cape Breton's Cabot Trail is a feast for ears and eyes since peak colours coincide with the music- oriented Celtic Colours International Festival in mid-October ( www.celtic- ). For a painterly perspective, drive into Ontario's Algonquin Park or ride the Algoma Central Railroad (www. to see scenery that inspired the Group of Seven. DEGREES OF DIFFERENCE Big-name attractions can be equally fabulous in different seasons. Consider Ontario's Rideau Canal. In warm weather, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is beloved by boaters; in the coldest months, a 7.8-km (4.85-mi.) stretch in central Ottawa becomes the world's largest naturally frozen skating rink. Niagara Falls is another case in point. Summer's iconic cascades resemble supersized ice sculptures in winter; rushing melt-water lends extra oomph in spring while the proximity of so much fine Niagara wine adds an intoxicating element in autumn. EXPERIENCE CANADA FROM COAST TO COAST TO COAST Supported Self Guided & Small Group Active Holidays 1-866-305-2257 47 William St, Ottawa (ON) K1N 6Z9 GREATCANADIANTRAILS.COM canada HIKING / BACKPACKING CYCLING PADDLING MOUNTAINEERING WOMEN'S ADVENTURES 39

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