Hello, October! We’ve arrived at a new month and the autumn fun is just getting started. It’s time to get spooked at Casa Loma’s legendary haunted castle experience and dive into some fall-themed activities at Toronto’s newly-opened patio oasis. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can journey to an actual beer-picking farm just outside of the GTA. The days may be getting shorter, but that’s no excuse to go home early, especially when there’s so much going on in our lovely city.
Here are 10 of the best things to do in Toronto and beyond.
Back by popular demand, Nights of Lights is an immersive Halloween experience that promises to be even bigger and better than last year. You’ll get to drive through 2.2 km of glowing laneways featuring over 1.5 million LED and RGB lights synchronized to your favourite spooky tunes. You’ll make your way through Trick or Treat Lane, a glowing “neighbourhood” filled with lights while costumed actors hand out candy from a safe distance.
Where: 6 Newkirk Rd
When: October 1st — October 31st
Casa Loma is transforming into a terrifying immersive experience this spooky season. Wander through a 2 km trail through the castle’s gardens, tunnels and some of the “darkest spaces never open to the public,” where theatrical experiences and elaborate sets will haunt you at every turn. The “crescendo” of the experience will bring the walls of the castle to life through incredible 3D projections. We’ve got goosebumps already!
Where: 1 Austin Terrace
When: Opens October 1st
This outdoor patio oasis is opening up in the heart of downtown for the second year in a row, complete with fall foliage, pumpkins, and hay bales to make you feel tucked away from the busy city. In addition to picking and painting your own pumpkin, you can warm up by an open fire, lounge on the hay bale sofa, go pumpkin bowling, and so much more. Plus, you’ll get to indulge in some delicious wood-fired eats and a variety of autumn-inspired cocktails. Pure bliss!
Where: 621 Richmond St
When: October 1st — October 17th, 2021
Enter if you dare into this “seemingly neverending maze of horror” just north of Toronto in Richmond Hill. “Tremble in complete darkness and get ready to be thrilled by our devil’s work,” the description says. This immersive experience will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a real-life Halloween nightmare — that is, if you’re brave enough to even enter the haunted halls.
Where: 9350 Yonge St
When: October 1st—October 31st
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The city has kicked off a new local dining initiative with over 270 restaurants in Toronto participating. These eateries will be offering special feature menus for the next two weeks only and it’s the perfect chance to try something new. The prices range from $15 to $50 per person, not including drinks, taxes, and tip. You can even see a map of all the participating restaurants and the deals they’re offering.
When: Until October 3rd
Where: Various locations
You’ll want to come hungry to this autumn-themed night market with all kinds of delectable dishes to try. Each week of the festival will have a different set of vendors with their own unique cuisine. Whether you’re looking for Halal street food, vegan bites, juicy BBQ or funnel cake, you’ll find it all and more at this outdoor event. Wear your comfiest sweats and prepare for a midnight feast like no other.
Where: 100 City Centre Dr, P6 Parking Lot
When: October 1st — October 3rd
If you’ve done all the apple and pumpkin picking there is to do, here’s an autumn activity you’ve probably never heard of before. A beer-picking farm is opening up this weekend just outside of Toronto and you’ll get to pluck some ripe cans of lager fresh from the trees. There’s lots to do on the farm too, like hanging in the Beer Farm Lounge, taking some photos on a tractor, filling up on comfort food, partaking in some fun activities like Cornhole and Giant Jenga, and downing some refreshing organic beer.
Where: 3961 Old Homestead Rd
When: Saturday, October 2nd, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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There is a brand new interactive public art installation coming to The Bentway next month. It’s taking over a secret room located beneath the Gardiner Expressway at Exhibition Place which has never before been accessed by the public. The installation uses an array of 3,000 lights to create a landscape of upside-down mountains and valleys suspended from the ceiling. Already sounds cool right? Well, get this — the piece moves in tandem with your heartbeat. You have to see it to believe it.
Where: 250 Fort York Blvd
When: Opens October 2nd
Calling all potheads! No, not that kind. An indoor plant sale is happening in Toronto this weekend and you’ll get to stock up on succulents, tropical plants, and cacti galore. There will be a unique choice of plants to choose from, plus experts on-site who can give you tips and tricks on how to choose the right ones for your space. Be Leaf Plant Store has several sales coming up this month and you can get the details on their website.
Where: 364 Dupont St
When: October 1st — October 3rd
Canadian brands Poppy Barley and Flax Home are coming together to host an in-person popup shop at The Ossington House. The pop-up will be full of linen home goods, leather shoes, as well as leather and plant-based accessories. You can spend the afternoon browsing, trying things on, and picking up some new staples for your fall wardrobe.
Where: The Ossington House, 24 Rolyat St
When: October 2nd – 4th
We may be approaching the end of the season, but it’s not too late to enjoy Ontario’s quintessential summer activity — winery tours! The best part is that you don’t even have to drive to wine country yourself. Your ticket comes with round-trip transportation from Toronto’s Union Station Bus Terminal to your choice of two wineries in the Niagara region. Once you arrive, you’ll get to enjoy a 2-hour wine and food pairing, with a pit stop at the Wine Rack on your way home.
Where: 81 Bay St
When: Saturday, October 2nd