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The most wonderful time of the year is here — the fall season. The weather outside is at the perfect temperature, we can finally wear our favourite sweaters and cozy up next to the fireplace at night, and the trees outside are as beautiful as ever. We can pack our plates with our Thanksgiving cravings, pick out a pumpkin at the patch and be whoever we want on Halloween night. But besides the obvious things that we’re all looking forward to, how can you make this fall season extra memorable you ask? We can think of 6 ways that you can do just that, and they’re all outlined for you below.

1. Pumpkins After Dark Drive Thru

September 17th – November 8th

Milton, Ontario

Proximity to Empire Phoenix: 43-minute drive; Proximity to Empire Avalon: 53-minute drive

Canada’s largest outdoor Halloween event is back and it’s bigger than ever. Pumpkins After Dark is an award-winning drive thru event, featuring thousands of hand-carved pumpkins and live carving displays. As a 2.5 km drive, you get approximately one hour of programming — 70% of which is brand new this year. Bring your camera along for the ride, turn on the radio for some spooky music to accompany you and be amazed by this one-of-a-kind art exhibit.

2. The Apple Orchard

Monday; Thursday – Sunday

Hamilton, Ontario

Proximity to Empire Avalon: 36-minute drive

What better way to buy fruits and veggies than hand-picking them yourself? At the Apple Orchard, you can select your own apples, pears, pumpkins, squash, sunflowers and more. Their jaw-dropping landscape features over 10,000 trees to pick from, giving everyone the opportunity to have some family-filled fun. Enjoy their on-site walking trails, corn maze, hay jump, play area and tractor rides. They even have animals ready to greet you upon your visit too.

3. Warner Ranch and Pumpkin Farm

September 4th – October 31st

Welland, Ontario

Proximity to Empire Legacy & Empire Calderwood: 11-minute drive

You won’t want to miss Niagara’s best pumpkin farm during Ontario’s most colourful season. Thousands of gourds, corn stalks, hay bales, apples, squash and corn await you, with a petting zoo and corn maze itching to be explored. Visit during the week for a tractor hayride, or on the weekend to partake in a Belgian horse-drawn hayride instead. Unicorn and pony rides are also available for the little ones of the family, as is an on-site food truck to fuel the fun.

4. Martino Manor

Every weekend in October

Etobicoke, Ontario

Proximity to Empire Phoenix: 4-min drive; Proximity to Empire Quay House: 14-min drive

Martino Manor has been the talk of Toronto for years. On the outside, it may not look so intimidating, but on the inside, it’s been transformed into a frightening haunted house — so scary that only those aged 14+ can attend. Once you enter the home, there’s multiple floors waiting for you to brave, and you’ll have to venture from the attic to the basement in order to get out. Once you’ve finished your trip through the house, the scare doesn’t stop there. Try out their haunted maze in the backyard, filled with jump scares that are designed to make you scream and shout.

5. Canoeing the Grand

May – November

Kitchener, Ontario

Proximity to Empire Riverland: 11-minute drive; Proximity to Empire Wyndfield: 50-minute drive

Looking for a unique fall adventure to embark on? Take in all of fall’s serene beauty while enjoying a canoe ride on the Grand River. If you’re looking for a more peaceful ride, leave your cell phone behind and just connect with nature. Bring your binoculars to spot some wildlife on your trip, and a disposable camera if you’d like. It’s the perfect activity for friends, family and loved ones to partake in and Canoeing The Grand ensures that you have all the equipment you need.

6. Legends of Horror

Select Dates: October 1st – 31st

Toronto, Ontario

Proximity to Empire Maverick: 15-minute drive; Proximity to Empire Maven: 19-minute drive

Every October, Casa Loma — Toronto’s famous castle — opens its doors to visitors and allows them to explore its darkest and most hidden spaces. The grounds are completely transformed into an immersive theatrical experience spanning 2 km that people can guide themselves through at their own pace. If you’ve never been before, it’s a must-see and has plenty in store to entertain all members of the family.

Looking for some other ways to spend your time this fall season? Explore all that there is to do along the Grand River, or gear up for the colder seasons with these family-friendly activities suitable for all ages.


Photos courtesy of: Pumpkins After Dark (Pumpkins After Dark); Toms Dairy Freeze (Martino Manor).


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