Five Canadian Fall Food Festivals October 1, 2016 · 8 min. readDisclaimer: While the thoughts and opinions are my own, this article was brought to you by a third party. Also, this article may contain affiliate links.
Autumn has officially begun, and with it comes plenty of crunchy leaves, wool toques, cool nights and freshly harvested food. It doesn't matter if you live near the icy shores of the Atlantic, in a bustling metropolis like Toronto, among the rolling plains of Alberta or in the towering mountains of British Columbia; the whole country is in the midst of harvest. While I have already written about the Savour the Southeast Festival in Medicine Hat, there are plenty of other food festivals going on across Canada for you to enjoy.
Fall Flavours, Prince Edward Island
(Sept. 2 - Oct. 2)
While the Fall Flavours is nearing its completion, the food served out on the East Coast is so unique that it is worth visiting any time of the year. PEI is famous for its large yield of potatoes, and the abundance of lobster, mussels, and scallops allows for an unmatched culinary treat. Their website also mentions several family friendly events like potato picking, lobster catching, and oyster harvesting for participants to take part in.
One of the oldest locations in Canada, Charlottetown has plenty of character hotels and buildings to lodge in. One of these hotels is The Great George, built in 1846. This is the location where delegates for the 1864 Charlottetown Conference stayed, an event which ultimately led to Confederation and the formation of Canada. This location would be ideal for anybody interested in visiting the Birthplace of Confederation for the 150th anniversary of Canada next year. Rooms are about $170 a night.
Indulge New Brunswick Food and Wine Festival, St. Andrews, New Brunswick
(Oct. 14 - 15)
Similar to PEI, New Brunswick loves their potatoes, fresh fish and wonderful wines. While I have never been to St. Andrews, I discovered this adorable city during my Cross-Canada Instagram Challenge last year and I immediately added it to my bucket-list. With a population near only 2,000 people, St. Andrews is a major tourist destination during the summer but quickly dies off in the fall – making this the perfect time to visit! This city boasts many historical buildings, with several structures having been floated up from Maine during the American Revolutionary War in 1783. For more information about the festival, visit their website.
During my Cross-Canada Instagram Challenge last year I also discovered the Algonquin Resort, which is right near St. Andrews. While the hotel has many unique features, one of the most peculiar are their bathtubs. Unlike bathtubs in other hotels, the bathtubs at the Algonquin Resort have four taps – two cold and hot water taps, and two cold and hot salt water taps. Situated near the Bay of Fundy, the hotel has water pumped up right from the ocean into the guests' hotel room. At four stories tall, this legendary hotel has over 240 rooms and two restaurants, making it the perfect Maritime getaway.
Toronto Chocolate Festival, Ontario
(Oct. 15 - Nov. 6, 2016)
It's a chocolate festival. Do I really have to say more? Once a 10-day-long event, it has grown to a 23-day-long event in the past 10 years. The purpose of the festival is to incorporate as many chocolate themed events as possible. These events are all either entertaining, educational or just plain fun. They include things such as a Chocolate Afternoon Tea, the Toronto Luxury Chocolate Show and the ChocOlympics featuring the original 911 Chocolate Relay. Don't forget to visit their website to read more about what's happening during this three-week-long festival.
There are scores of places to stay in Toronto, but one of the nicest is The Omni King Edward Hotel. First opening in 1903, this century-old building once hailed as being completely fire proof. It has just shy of 300 rooms and has hosted several of the biggest celebrities in history, such as Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Elvis Presley, Britney Spears and the Beatles. It can be a little pricey to stay here, with rooms upwards of $567 a night, but it is well worth the cost.
Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival, Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta
(Oct. 14 - 15, and Nov. 4 - 5, 2016)
The Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival is the largest wine and food festival in Alberta. It showcases a wide variety of different wines, scotches, imported beers and premium spirits. Gourmet food samples from local restaurants and hotels are also available for ticket-holders. A portion of the sales of early-bird or front-of-the-line tickets goes toward the residents of Fort McMurray, who had their city devastated by a fire earlier this year.
If staying in Edmonton, you'll want to visit the Westin Edmonton Hotel. It is close to the heart of Alberta's capital and is only a six-minute drive from Commonwealth Stadium. If staying in Calgary, I recommend visiting Hotel Arts, a popular boutique style hotel. Both hotels are also the host for the wine and food festival.
Okanagan Wine Festival, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
(Sept. 29 - Oct. 9, 2016)
By the number of orchards in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, there is no surprise that this is the finest place in the country for growing grapes. With beautiful weather late into the year, the Okanagan Valley is full of a variety of green, orange, yellow and red trees, improving the already beautiful landscape. An oenophile paradise, The Okanagan Wine Festival also offers many local foods and dishes to complement their endless tastes of wine. If wine, snacks and some of the most stunning landscapes in Canada are your forte, you won't want to miss out on this festival!
If you're looking to get away and spoil yourself, you'll want to check out the Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, BC. This resort opened in 2010 and strives to combine European hospitality with North American luxury. The hotel is also infused with 3.5 million Swarovski crystals that dazzle guests upon entering. Between the Okanagan and Kalamalka Lakes, this hotel offers an unprecedented view of the dynamic British Columbian landscape.
Have you been to any of these festivals? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
The links on this article are not affilate links. All images were provided by Hotels.com or the respective festivals.
Don't forget to pin it!
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
Stonehenge, Saskatchewan, is just a little over two hours southwest of Regina, just past the town of Assiniboia. I've explored this area of the province before on previous trips, but I've never been to Stonehenge. In fact, my journey started out as a trip to Castle Butte, but after seeing a nearby marker for Stonehenge on a map, that quickly became my primary destination.
I've driven this area a few times looking for abandoned buildings. Normally I'd keep an eye out for them, but I knew most of them were a little further south. Before I got that far, I took the turn off to Ogema.
I recently had the opportunity to test drive a 2017 Ford Explorer. I grew up learning how to drive a Ford Windstar so I figured an Explorer shouldn't be that much different. Sure, one is an SUV the other is a van, but a Ford's a Ford, right? Well, not exactly. From the moment I sat down, I knew it would be a very different experience from what I was used to.
There were things about the Explorer I liked, and some that I didn't, but it was overall a very nice vehicle. It drove smoothly, turned nicely and handled grid roads very well. I found the brakes to be a little touchy, but by the time the week ended, I mastered how to brake without awkwardly lurching myself forward.
Beyond the learning curve with the brakes, here are my positive and negative experiences with the 2017 Ford Explorer:
Several months ago Ford Canada approached me to review their 2017 Ford Explorer. I wanted to see how it handled grid roads, so I took it to a variety of ghost towns, abandoned houses and empty villages around Saskatchewan. I had a lot of fun with the article, and I guess Ford liked it too because a few months later they invited me to go out to the Sunshine Coast to try out a few other vehicles.
There were a few differences between this trip and the one I did around Saskatchewan. The first difference was that this was in the wooded forests of British Columbia and not the flat prairie of Saskatchewan. Instead of having the vehicle for a week, this would be a 2-day trip from Vancouver to the Painted Boat Resort and back again. Also, instead of traveling solo, I'd be travelling with several lifestyle and travel bloggers from across Western Canada – including the 2015 Saskatchewanderer Ashlyn George from The Lost Girl's Guide to Finding the World.
The vehicle we got on the way up to the resort was the same red Ford Explorer I tried out earlier this year. This worked out great for me as I was already very familiar with the vehicle and its quirks. On the way back Ashlyn drove a white 2017 Ford Edge.