Top three places to see fall foliage in Toronto

High Park's Maple Leaf Garden
High Park's Maple Leaf Garden surrounded by fall foliage. Charlotte Pun/Toronto Observer

You don’t have to travel miles away to a provincial park just to get a chance to view the changing fall leaves this season. For those who haven’t yet got the chance to see the fall colours, experts predict that we might have up to the second week of November, 2016 before the trees go bald.

Right in the heart of Toronto you will be able to see these magnificent fall colours. All you need is to dedicate a lovely afternoon, a good pair of hiking shoes and that cup of pumpkin spice latte to keep you warm during your city adventure.

Here are the top three places where you can get to see fall foliage in Toronto:

Scenic Route of Don Valley Parkway

This stretch of road along Bayview Avenue is probably the most underrated spot in Toronto. Many commuters drive past this area almost every day of their lives, but who would stop once in a while to appreciate the breathtaking view of nature along the Don Valley Parkway? In this four kilometre scenic route, you will be able to see the vibrant fall colours as you take a drive. You could also pull over at the side of the road to take a few good pictures.

Bluffs of Scarborough

The Scarborough Bluffs, just off from Kingston Road, are one of the best places to view the fall foliage. Bonus points are given to this place because you will be able to enjoy the wonderful view of Lake Ontario, as well. You can also head down to Brimley Beach, which is just another five minute drive away from the lookout.

High Park

The High Park of Toronto is home to not only a myriad of tree species, but also a mini zoo as well as various facilities including restaurants and a High Park Rangers Youth Volunteer facility. This municipal park is 161 hectares large and it is a place where families can enjoy the weekends. Although you will not be able to see the Sakura flowers now, because they usually bloom in the spring, there is a wide range of colours to enjoy at High Park in the fall.

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The executive director of the High Park Nature Centre, Diana Teal, says that the peak period to view the fall foliage is usually around the last two weeks of October, right after Thanksgiving. Trees that are in their peak fall foliage include the sugar maple, sassafras as well as the oak trees.

So why do leaves change their colours in the fall? Teal says that it all boils down to the “internal chemistry” of the trees.

“Some of them, like sugar maple, [and] sassafras produce really beautiful vibrant fall colours and other species of trees, typically oak or the beech trees in the park, their fall colour is actually brown,” Teal says. “It is because those trees have more tannins in their leaves, so their tannins produce different colours.”

We did experience a warmer summer in 2016 compared past years. Teal says that the warmer temperatures are a huge factor in the timing of the colour change in the fall.

“A lot of colour in the tree is produced by the uptake of water, so with a dry summer like the one we had, that can either produce early fall colours or just cause trees to lose their leaves without any changing of colour happening,” Teal said.

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Locations to see fall foliage in Toronto. (Charlotte Pun/Toronto Observer)

About this article

Posted: Nov 12 2016 11:33 pm
Edition: Toronto
Filed under: Special Reports Arts & Life