If you’re looking to travel this fall, where should you book? You don’t have to look too far and thankfully, there’s good potential for travel with less hassle, lower rates and feel-good temperatures. “Canada’s fall weather is sort of perfect,” says Jordana Manchester, a luxury travel advisor with Tripzter Travel. “You get to skip the summertime humidity and enjoy stunning fall foliage from coast to coast.” Her top picks? Toronto, Victoria, Whitehorse and Charlottetown.
Where to go: Toronto
Why it’s worth the trip: Yes, we know the largest city in Canada gets lots of buzz, but hear us out: the fall welcomes the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (Sept. 8-18) and is an opportune time to see five of the city’s main sports teams. Leafs and Raptors preseason kicks off in September and October (tickets are usually less expensive than the regular season), Blue Jays and Toronto FC games run until the end of September, Argonauts until October.
What kind of weather to expect: There’s still warm summer-like weather in September (between 14 and 23 C, October is milder (8 to 15 C), November is chillier (2 to 9 C).
How much you can save: According to Kayak, an online travel search engine, domestic flights to Toronto are on average 19 per cent cheaper in the fall versus the summer. And Travelzoo, a popular travel deals website, says the best available rates for hotels in Toronto drops 20 to 30 per cent in the shoulder season.
Where to stay: For proximity to the TIFF Bell Lightbox, major sports arenas and downtown nightlife, Shangri-La is an upscale stay that’ll make you feel like you’re truly on vacation. The Drake Hotel in the West Queen West neighbourhood delivers on artsy vibes and fun times.
Where to go: Victoria
Why it’s worth the trip: B.C.’s charming capital is not only the warmest city in the country most of the year – it’s located in a sub-Mediterranean climate zone after all – it sees the lowest amount of rainfall on the entire West Coast (half the amount of its next-door neighbour Vancouver). Also, fall is the best time to go whale watching: the largest groupings of humpbacks appear in September, October and sometimes into November, too.
What kind of weather to expect: It’s mild here all autumn long: September temperatures are anywhere between 11 and 18 C, October is 9 to 14 C and November is 6 to 10 C.
How much you can save: Kayak’s data shows that flights to Victoria are 13-per-cent cheaper in the fall; Travelzoo reports a 25- to 35-per-cent price drop for hotels.
Where to go: Whitehorse, Yukon
Why it’s worth the trip: the Northern Lights, hands down. The natural light display is visible August to April and although it can be seen from Whitehorse proper, it’s best to take a short drive away from the city lights to see it at its brightest. Fall is also the best time to spot Yukon wildlife, from bison and grizzly bears to caribou and moose. Plus: salmon season runs until the end of September.
What kind of weather to expect: September weather ranges from 2 to 12 C. You will definitely need a warm jacket in October and November: temperatures range from -13 to 5 C.
How much you can save: Flights to Whitehorse from within Canada are 13-per-cent less expensive in the fall according to Kayak. As for hotels? Travelzoo says Whitehorse rates decrease 30 or 40 per cent.
Where to stay: Edgewater Hotel, a cozy boutique hotel on the banks of the Yukon River, for its history (there has been a hotel here since the Great Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890s). Or the Best Western Gold Rush Inn for its lively Gold Pan Saloon and on-site Aveda spa.
Where to go: Charlottetown
Why it’s worth the trip: two words: lobster season! (PEI has two lobster fishing seasons: one in May and June and one from August to October.) In addition to eating your way around the biggest city in Canada’s smallest province, the fall foliage is at its brightest in October. Explore it via the 273-kilometre Confederation Trail that runs along a decommissioned railway line.
What kind of weather to expect: It’s quintessential fall sweater-weather here all shoulder season long: 10 to 18 C in September, 5 to 12 C in October, 0 to 6 C in November.
How much you can save: Average savings on flights? Around 20 per cent according to Kayak. Hotel prices are 30- to 35-per-cent less in the fall says Travelzoo.
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