Just like many places in Ontario, fall is one of the most magical seasons in Peterborough. As the temperatures cool, the leaves begin to turn, and the smell of warm wood-burning fireplaces pierce the crisp air, there’s really nothing quite like an autumn day in Peterborough.
And the numbers prove it — fall is one of Peterborough’s busiest times of year for visitors and tourists to stop by, with no small thanks being owed to our stunning natural scenery, small-town charm, and fun festive fall activities.
With so many wonderful autumn-themed events and attractions, we love spending this time of year right here in Peterborough, which is exactly why we decided to put together this list.
Whether it’s your first time visiting Peterborough or you’ve been here before, read through this list of our top things to do here in the fall for some extra inspiration ahead of the coming season.
Visit The Norwood Fall Fair
Situated just a quick drive east of Peterborough in the neighbouring town of Norwood is where you’ll find the Norwood Fall Fair, one of the most historic and beloved festive fall attractions in the Peterborough area.
This charming fall fair is a celebration of the rural community’s rich agricultural history and tradition and has been a hugely popular annual event for over 150 years.
Historically, the Norwood Fall Fair was a symbolic gathering for members of the local agricultural community where farmers and producers came together to celebrate the year’s harvest and share goods times with one another.
Today, the spirit of the annual Norwood Fall Fair lives on, attracting about 40,000 visitors over the course of the Thanksgiving long weekend each year. Whether they’re Norwood locals, Peterborough neighbours, or visitors from anywhere else, everyone’s invited to take part in the games, shows, festivities, and competitions held throughout this traditional country fair.
Learn more about what it’s like to live in Peterborough year-round by visiting our Welcome To Peterborough community page!
Shop Local At Farmers’ Markets
If you’re looking for the freshest, tastiest, and most ethically sourced produce you can get your hands on, nothing even comes close to a local farmers’ market. And in Peterborough, we’re more than lucky enough to have a few great ones to choose from.
The first that comes to mind is the Peterborough Farmers’ Market, a year-round celebration of locally grown produce and handmade goods located right here in Peterborough at 136 Landsdowne Street.
Depending on the time of year, you might find the market outside in the Memorial Centre parking lot (from May 1 to October 31) or inside in the Morrow Building (from November 1 to April 30). Either way, you can depend on over 100 local vendors to supply you with some of Peterborough’s finest local food and crafts every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
If you can’t find precisely what you’re looking for there, try out the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market or the Peterborough Wednesday Farmers’ Market, both located at the Peterborough Square Courtyard in downtown Peterborough.
Both of these fantastic downtown Peterborough markets run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Wednesdays respectively, and feature offerings from local farmers, prepared food vendors, and local artisans.
No matter which market or day of the week you visit this fall, we know you’ll be thrilled you did when you tuck into your first freshly-picked apple or freshly baked butter tart from one of our inspiring Peterborough markets.
Looking for more fun Peterborough activities? Get our local insight on our favourite things to do by reading our related blog post 5 Fun Things To Do In The City Of Peterborough Right Now.
Go Spot The Fall Foliage
One of our favourite things about living in Peterborough is how close to nature it allows you to be. We’re absolutely encompassed by some of Ontario’s most beautiful parks, lakes, lochs, and green spaces, and there’s nearly no better time to enjoy them than in the fall when the brilliant foliage is out on full display.
If you enjoy the vibrantly-coloured changing autumn leaves as much as we do, then you’ll love Peterborough’s own Jackson Park. This expansive public park just a stone’s throw away from downtown Peterborough is among the most scenic areas in the city to enjoy autumn nature at its very best.
Make sure you cross over the park’s landmark Pagoda Bridge, which crosses over a small stream that runs through Jackson Park. Often the setting for weddings, small events, photography, or just some beautiful fall sightseeing, the Pagoda Bridge is one of the park’s best features.
If you followed that small stream in Jackson Park just a few kilometres west, it would lead you to the Jackson Creek Kiwanis Trail, which can also be found along Ackison Road. At that juncture, the trail actually joins up with part of the Trans-Canada Trail, which can then be followed up through some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the Peterborough area.
Fantastic for foliage watching, the Jackson Creek Kiwanis Trail is also famous for bird and critter watching along with other nature activities, especially seeing as the trail runs alongside the Jackson Creek, which offers the perfect habitat for nature and wildlife.
If you’re thinking about making the move to Peterborough sometime soon, we always recommend you get the help of a local Realtor®. Here’s why: 5 Reasons To Use A Local Peterborough REALTOR®.
Head Out Horseback Riding
Don’t feel like hiking out to take in the fall foliage around Peterborough? We don’t blame you when you can get an even better view from high up on a saddle — and that’s just what the Stillbrook Riding Stables specialize in.
Located in the nearby community of Keene (just a short drive east of Peterborough), Stillbrook Riding Stables has an abundance of scenic riding trails that wind through some of the most picturesque parts of their local area.
Stillbrook’s year-round guided horseback riding tours welcomes riders of all skill levels aged 6 years old and up, and offers group trail rides for up to 10 people at a time. There’s really nothing more special than watching the fall foliage turn right up close with the sound of lightly-treading horseshoes underneath you.
Whether you’re part of a couple, a family, or a larger group of friends, this is a great way to enjoy a crisp autumn afternoon outdoors.
Stop For Refreshments In Lakefield
If you followed the gorgeous Otonabee River just a few kilometres north of Peterborough, you’d soon discover the charming community of Lakefield, which is part of the Selwyn township.
This adorable little destination is where you’ll find some of our favourite cafes and bakeries, and makes for the perfect little pitstop in the autumn months. While there are many great restaurants and cafes in Lakefield to choose from, we definitely find ourselves returning to a few in particular.
First, we strongly recommend you check out The Nutty Bean Cafe in Lakefield. Something about the way they brew their organic fair-trade coffee always redefines our idea of a great cup of Joe and in the colder months, it always seems to lift our spirits that much higher. Plus, they also have a great selection of simple yet delicious snacks, from sandwiches to wraps to salads, you can always rely on The Nutty Bean for a great breakfast or lunch.
If you’re still feeling peckish, head up the street to 127 Queen Street where you’ll find the community’s namesake baked goods destination, Lakefield Bakery. If you’ve got a sweet tooth (or three) you’ll truly be in heaven here, as this locally-owned and operated bakery has a huge selection of delicious treats to choose from fresh-baked daily.
Look out for their drool-worthy fall-themed muffins, scones, and cakes, but whatever you order, make sure not to miss out on their famous butter tarts!
Can’t get the idea of moving to Peterborough out of your mind? You can trust in our local expertise and extensive Peterborough real estate experience to help you find the home of your dreams here. Have a browse through our latest listings, then learn more about how we can help you find the home of your dreams here.