Events and activities in Toronto this fall include a city-wide, all night art party, a brand new festival in an abandoned soap factory and of course the terrifying handful of Halloween events, parties and shows.
Here are my picks for the top things to do in Toronto this fall.
See some of the world's most impressive athletes
The 2017 Invictus Games takes over Toronto until September 30 and will see 550 competitors from 17 nations compete in 12 paralympic-style sports such as swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball. Some of the events are even free and famous names are showing up for the opening and closing ceremonies.
Play around in an abandoned soap factory
The first-ever EDIT festival is happening in an old soap factory, and it's going to be pretty spectacular. From September 28 to October 8 you'll be able to wander around all five floors of the space at this art, innovation and technology festival with talks, parties, installations and real live science in front of your face.
Stay up all night at an art extravaganza
The 12th edition of Nuit Blanche, Toronto's free, city-wide sunset-to-sunrise celebration of contemporary art returns September 30 with larger than life installations and works transforming spaces all around us for one night only.
Meet the former President of the United States
Some former Presidents and someone who almost became one are stopping by Toronto this fall to give a speech. Tickets might be pricey but if you're willing to fork over the dough you could listen to what Hillary Clinton, her husband Bill or Barack Obama think about Trump, Rocketman and the state of the world we live in.
Get spooked with Guillermo Del Toro
The notorious horror and fantasy director gets his own exhibit at the AGO and it's a creepy one. To accompany this, the AGO will be showing classic horror films on Friday's for the entire season at 10 p.m., and there's a Del Toro book signing event on September 27.
Get inspired by a YouTube star
Get your selfie stick out because the weekend of September 28, many of your fave YouTube stars are coming to Toronto. The annual Buffer Film Fest is not only a festival screening YouTube premieres, but also a conference, and events to meet creators, the women of YouTube, and Travel and Adventure channel hosts.
Food and drink
Get stuffed at a food festival
It's time to start gathering food for winter... and by that I mean eating a lot to add an extra layer to keep warm, like a squirrel. There are several delicious fall food fests such as NoshFest, the sprawling Gourmet Food and Wine Show, a Chocolate Festival and the Baking and Sweets convention.
Raise a stein for Oktoberfest
From vegan food events to underwater beer parties and massive gatherings of people under one tent celebrating Bavarian heritage in lederhosen, there's an Oktoberfest party for every taste this season starting at the end of September into October.
Taste one of a kind beers
Cask Days gives Toronto access to hundreds of unfiltered, unpasteurized cask-conditioned ales from across Canada and the United States. The three-day event happens October 20-22 at the Brickworks and there'll be chefs on hand to pair the beers with food.
Eat some free poutine
Now a yearly tradition for fry lovers of Toronto, Smoke's Poutinerie's World Poutine Eating Championship on October 14 not only lets you watch people publicly pig out on the gooey concoction, but there's a show from a KISS tribute band and free poutine for all.
Sip some suds at a new brewpub
Eat and drink at one of Toronto's new boutique hotels
Toronto's boutique hotel scene got a big upgrade this summer with the opening of the always jam-packed Broadview Hotel and luxurious, already-celebrity hot spot Bisha. Bisha has entire floor designed by Lenny Kravitz and some of the Broadview's 58 rooms include brass polls.
Milk a cow at the Royal Winter Fair
Kind of like the Ex of the fall, the Royal Winter Fair is a tradition that takes Torontonians inside the world of farming, grooming, pageant shows, baby animals and food. A chef demo highlight this year includes David Wolfman, who will demonstrate the art of indigenous fusion cooking.
Shop at a haunted market
Halloween isn't only about parties and dressing up, it's also about totally spooky horror conventions and creepy bazaars or haunted markets where you'll find shrunken heads and potions. Don't forget about the new Harry Potter themed store for some milder spell casting tools.
Trick or Treat
Halloween in the city is also very much about the parties and all the major events to scare the living right out of you. Major events like Church St. Halloween, Halloween Haunt, Screemers, Legends of Horror at Casa Loma and the haunted walk at Pioneer Village should scare you right into next year.
March along a pumpkin parade
Almost as fun as seeing all the Halloween lawns, decks and balconies in the city decorated are admiring all the pumpkins lined up in one place. Sorauren Park, Bellwoods, Centennial Park and Riverdale Park West are the most popular spots, with hundreds of jack-o-lanters on display the evening of November 1 around 6 p.m.
Get your lightsaber on for one last time
Grab your lightsaber (or buy one on site for $10) and head to Nathan Phillips Square for one final battle of good versus evil. Organizers have announced this will be the final organized battle Happening October 7. Arrive at 8 p.m. to be divided into two teams and then battle at 9.
Grow your mustache
November is also known as Movember, a time where men around the city decide to grow hair on their upper lip. Moustaches are totally in for 2017, so a lot of guys already have a head start. Check Movember Toronto's Facebook page for upcoming 10th anniversary events, such as the big launch party on November 1.
Fashion and Design
Shop local at a craft show or market
Fall is the season for gathering, whether it's thing we need or not, it's a great time to support local vendors before that terrifying shopping season actually kick ins. There's the One of a Kind Show, Bunz Holiday Market, Eco Market and the Bellwoods Holiday Flea to get you started.
Shop for something specific
Shop Toronto's vintage scene
Toronto's vintage scene is alive and kicking thanks to two major shopping events this season. The Vintage Clothing Show on September 30 is one of the largest in the country and the fall edition of the Vintage Art Crawl on October 26 is happening in vintage stores all over the city's west side.
Get ready for the holidays
They're busy, crowded, kind of cold and a bit fabricated, but there's still something kind of lovely about wandering around a Christmas Market. Toronto has a few good ones: namely the Toronto Christmas Market, the Christmas is Coming Market, and the massive Holiday Fair in the Square.
Discover 40 years of Goth style
Goth fashion probably dates back to the years when Dracula was roaming around castles, but thanks to the Bata Shoes Museum, we'll get a bit more context than this. The 40 Years of Goth Shoes event on October 19 celebrates the boots and shoes worn by women in this fascinating subculture.
Discover Toronto's newest live music venues
There was a time where it seemed the city was losing its music venues at a terrifying rate, but to balance this, there've been a few new spots opening up. Less Bar, the newly relocated Hideout and the re-opened Hugh's Room are just three to check out.
Get up and close with your favourite band
The days of massive outdoor music festivals are long gone, but there are at least 45 fantastic shows you'll want to check out this fall. From Jay-Z to Kesha, Guns 'N Roses to Arcade Fire, a lot of big names are coming through. Also don't miss the return of Unsound Festival.
Discover a band before it breaks out
Toronto's Indie Music Week is November 7-12 and not only does it include shows at venues all over the city, but it also incorporates the Reel Indie Film Fest, the Indie tech day and an annual music conference.
Rediscover the opera
Opera Atelier launches their 2017/18 season this fall with a Dora Award winning production of Mozart's period opera, The Marriage of Figaro from October 26 - November 4. Make sure to check out their Operatix program to get cheap tickets for folks under 30 years old.
Celebrate 70 years of the Horseshoe
Arts and Film
Get lit at a book fair
It's time to cozy up with a book or a zine now that the leaves are falling and lucky for you there are many opportunities to grab something new to curl up with. Don't miss events like Word on the Street, CanZine, the International Festival of Authors and the 30th birthday of a beloved Roncesvalles book shop.
See the world in a whole new way
The World Press photo exhibit at Brookfield Place runs October 3-24 and presents the best visual journalism of the past year. Check out the most compelling, stunning and sometimes disturbing photos of the year in one place, for free.
Visit Toronto's new Indigenous Art Gallery
OCAD U's brand new Onsite Gallery recently threw a block party to celebrate the grand opening of their contemporary art space. With a strong focus on Indigenous art, the gallery will mainly be a showcase spot for OCAD art shows, a much needed creative space in the city.
Watch the world's greatest acrobats
Cirque Du Soleil's latest show Volta is now playing under the big top in Toronto and it has people talking thanks to its high flying bike tricks, state-of-the-art multimedia surprises and music from M83. It's playing until November 13 in the Port Lands.
Take in an art show
Check out this list of the best art shows happening this season to narrow your focus. Not only do all the major institutions have big shows this season (as well as the massive Toronto Art Show at the convention centre), but a lot of the city's smaller galleries have must-see exhibits as well.
See inside Union Station at the new Stephen Bulger Gallery
This fall Toronto gets a sneak peek inside the inner workings of the Union Station renovation project. It's a big one and photographer Larry Towell got the scoop, displaying his latest photo project at the newly located Stephen Bulger Gallery on Dundas St. West.
Party in an art gallery
The First Thursday parties at the AGO and weekly Friday Night Live parties at the ROM are always a welcome event to return in the fall. This seasons programming includes tie-ins with Guillermo Del Toro's new show, Peaches and the ROM's Anishinaabeg: Art & Power exhibit.
See some live theatre
Toronto's live theatre scene is bubbling lately with some pretty exciting and highly anticipated theatre productions happening this fall, as well as the opening of spaces like the Assembly Theatre and the east side's Crow's Theatre.
Go beyond TIFF
Now that the big player is out of the way, it's time to check out all the other cool film fests happening this fall in Toronto. There's the Denis Villeneuve film retrospective, ImagiNative, the Macedonian film fest, Indie Horror Film Fest, After Dark, Blood in the Snow, Planet in Focus, and the totally free European Union film festival.
Sports and Outdoors
Cheer on the TFC
TFC is having their best season ever so with the Jays out of the playoffs there's no better time to cheer on Toronto's best sports team right now. Regular season games run through October and tickets are still available.
Work up a sweat
Just because summer is over, doesn't mean you have to give up on all physical activity. There are plenty of fall running events to join, all kinds of unconventional fitness facilities to stay fit with and a brand new Crunch gym chain if you're into that sort of thing.
Explore the newest addition to Toronto's waterfront
It's made entirely of driftwood and held together by screws so take a stroll and take a photo of the giant reclining on a rock at Humber Bay. The statue sits next to the driftwood Toronto sign created earlier this summer.
Be amazed at the fall colours
Something good came out of all that rain! Fall colours this fall are set to be spectacular, covering the city and its valleys and parks in a sea of yellow. It's all thanks to our population of Sugar Maples, and fortunately we have many, many options to see them.
Visit Toronto's new book garden
Take a fall hike
You don't need to leave the city to see the glorious fall colours. There are plenty of fantastic fall hiking trails in and just on the outskirts of Toronto for you to discover. Even the world's largest hiking trail now runs through the city, so strap on your boots, pack a snack and get walking.
Have a campfire in a park
Once the temperatures start dropping, the idea of sprawling out on a blanket in a park isn't that appealing. So why not book a fire pit or have a lakeside bonfire moment in Toronto's newest park by the water.
Out of town
Take a classic fall getaway
Now that fall colours are already showing north of the city, it's time to get out of town! We've made a list of the top places to escape the busy streets, and another list for stunning late fall getaways in case you're a last minute planner.
Find the perfect pumpkin patch
You can usually find pumpkins for sale at most corner stores in the city but it's way more fun to head slightly out of town to a massive pumpkin patch. Just be aware, seasonal jack-o'-lanterns direct from a pumpkin patch aren't necessarily a cheaper option. If low price is a factor, you'll be better off at No Frills.
Take in nature on a boardwalk
Toronto is surrounded by beautiful boardwalks. There's the incredible boardwalk in Clifton Hills, the beautiful elevated boardwalk in Crawford Lake and a top secret boardwalk just two hours outside of the city. Strap on your heels or hiking books and stomp those forestial runways.
Look at the leaves from a treetop park
Ever miss your childhood treehouse days? Or maybe you never had one and finally want to live that out? The Treetop Trekking aerial park in Stouffville lets you take a zipline atop the canopy for ultimate fall foliage viewing. There's also climbing and swinging, but the zipline trek will cost you $59.99.
Go inside a glowing tunnel
The Brockville Railway Tunnel has recently been restored as a glowing pedestrian passageway. The 525 metre passageway now features a stunning LED light show that changes colours as people travel underneath downtown Brockville. It's pure Instagram heaven.
Explore wine country
Wine tours are such an easy and fun thing to do outside of the city, you'll kick yourself for not having done it sooner. Take a train, bring your bike or rent one once you arrive, and head to Niagara on the Lake to check out Wayne Gretzky's winery among many others, some delicious restaurants and stay somewhere fancy or affordable.
by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO