My Must-Do List for Ottawa in October

October is one of my favourite times of the year. You get Thanksgiving and Halloween in the same month – what’s not to like! It’s also the time where the trees are at their most beautiful here in Ottawa. So, it’s looking like a busy next few weeks for me and my kids, because there are so many October activities I want to cram in before the month is over. Here is my list of must-do October events in the Ottawa area, for anyone who wants to check them out with us!

Fall Rhapsody in Gatineau Park

Hiking up to the waterfall at the Carbide Mills ruins is one of my favourite spots in Gatineau Park.

Gatineau Park is THE place to go in the fall to see the most gorgeous leafy landscapes. Weekends can get busy in the park, but it is worth braving the crowds to take in all the park has to offer. The last few years I have really enjoyed the Fall Rhapsody programming put on by the NCC. It officially runs from September 30 – October 22.

There is a free shuttle in service on weekends. I often park at Camp Fortune and hop on the shuttle bus to some of the park’s most lovely look outs  – it makes parking way easier! You can also hop on the chair lift ride at Camp Fortune, or enjoy a Sunday brunch at the ski lodge. For Canada’s 150th anniversary, the NCC is offering a new shuttle route departing from the ByWard Market in Ottawa, and travelling to Champlain Lookout.

There are so many lovely hikes to do with the family in Gatineau Park. Some of my favourite are Pink Lake, the Waterfall trail from the Mackenzie King Estate, and the Carbide Mills Waterfall Hike (as seen with my kids in the photo above).

Sugar Shacks and the Changing Leaves

I recently devoted a whole post to the fact that there are a few sugar shacks open in the upcoming weeks for eating pancakes, and taking in the gorgeous fall colours. For more information on visiting Fulton’s or Wheelers in the upcoming weeks, check out that blog post here.


Last year my family visited Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village for the first time, and we were blown away. It’s not a short drive – it takes about an hour or so to get there from Ottawa, but it is well worth the trip.

There are 7000 hand crafted pumpkins on display, and this year’s theme is Canada 150. There are a number of restaurant options at Upper Canada Village, so we really enjoyed grabbing dinner in the very family-friendly cafeteria there, and then taking a hot apple cider to go as we strolled around and marvelled at the pumpkin displays.

I recommend buying tickets online ahead of time, and don’t be dissuaded by a long line up (in my experience the line moved quite quickly). Do prepare for mud and cool autumn evening weather! It was very muddy when we visited last year. It is a stroller friendly event.

Saunders Farm

Saunders Farm is a fabulous spot to take the family in October. The haunting season runs every weekend, from 10 am – 6 pm on Saturdays and 10 am – 5 pm on Sundays. There is so muchfor kids to do : a kids discovery barn, tree house and playgrounds, a number of mazes, puppet theatre, haunted hayride, jumping pillows and pirate ship, as well as lots of delicious food options, and a march of monsters parade.

You really can spend a full day at Saunders Farm, which is good, because it’s not cheap and you’ll want to get your money’s worth. Admission runs around $20 per person (and only kids aged 2 and under are free), so keep that in mind. You can save a few dollars by buying your tickets online ahead of time.

Pumpkin Patches

And of course, you have to visit a pumpkin patch in October! I try not to get my pumpkins too early, because we have some aggressive squirrels around our house who always seem to take major chunks out of our pumpkins as they sit on the porch!

Last year the kids and I really enjoyed choosing our pumpkins from Millers Farm and Market in Manotick. They have 8 acres of pick your own fall produce, with a wagon ride running on the weekends. You can also explore the corn maze and jump in the straw bale pile.

There is also a wonderful pumpkin patch at Cannamore Orchard (comes with lots to do with their Acres of Terror), Log Cabin Orchard and Pumpkin Patch (free wagon rides, petting zoo, apple cider and baked goods), The Log Farm has plenty of pumpkins as well as a Saturday farmer’s market, and animals, a corn maze and wagon rides, and Proulx Berry Farm is another farm with so much to offer (giant Halloween playground with play parks, wagon rides, petting zoo, haunted house, mazes and a snack bar).

It is going to be hard to choose where to get our pumpkins from this year!

This is my must-do list so far for October, but I would love to hear what makes your list! Happy Fall everyone!

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