Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 17, 2022
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Road trips

10 easy escapes from
Toronto’s concrete jungle

The countryside beckons in autumn when colours ignite forest and field in a blaze that signals the turn of season. It's one of the most appealing times of year for that spontaneous getaway. Making the Escape from Canada's busiest city is easy: there are many ways to embrace that fall feeling just beyond Toronto, either for the day or a weekend away. Here's a list of our 10 favourite ways to fall in love with autumn.

1. Cottage Country
The Haliburton Highlands are a prime summertime getaway in cottage country but resorts keep a cosy fireside atmosphere glowing through the autumn as well. Plus room rates fall with the leaves. At Halimar Resort, 16 lakefront cottages, each with a fireplace, start at $155 per person including breakfast and dinner with a second night free. Stargaze from a hot tub and trek the autumn-carpeted trails. (800) 223-7322;

2. New York state of mind
"The Grand Canyon of the East" is an enticing slogan for Letchworth State Park, 50 kilometres south of Rochester, New York. True, it lacks the grandeur of the famous Arizona chasm, but the Genessee River cuts an impressive path through a 180-metre gorge. And it's only a four-hour drive from Toronto. Stay at the century-old, 15-room Glen Iris Inn at cliff's edge for views of Middle Falls. A winding scenic ridge-top drive offers plenty of changing vistas. Open until November 4. Rooms $85, suites $185. (585) 493-2622;

3. Splash it up at Niagara Falls
In Niagara Falls, swimming pool season doesn't end with summer -- in fact, the fun continues at two giant pools. Fallsview Indoor Waterpark has overnight packages available with three connecting hotels starting from $159. The new Great Wolf Lodge has a woodsy feel and water slides galore. Don't forget to head outdoors to feel the mist from the mighty cascade and gaze in wonder at this force of nature. Fallsview Waterpark: (888) 234-8408; Great Wolf Lodge: (800) 905-9653;

4. All Aboard
Fall's pageantry can be viewed from the comfort of the Credit Valley Explorer, aboard vintage train cars that run through the rolling hills of Caledon. Departing daily in peak colour season from Orangeville, this 70-kilometre journey takes in the scenic Cataract and Forks of the Credit and winds through York region before returning to Orangeville. Refreshments are included and light meals available. Special theme tours run into the winter season as well. By reservation only.

Adults $34.50; youth 12 and under $23.50. (888) 346-0046;

5. Hike the Bruce Trail
For day-trippers looking to breathe fresh country air and get some exercise, the magnificent Bruce Trail lies on the city's doorstep. Pack a picnic and head for one of many access points along the Niagara Escarpment. The village of Mono Centre is a good place to finish with a stop at Peter's Cellar Pub. And if you travel with two cars, you can drop one at your end point so you don't have to return on the same path. (800) 665-4453;

6. Georgian Break
Collingwood is no longer just about skiing Ontario's highest hill. An active cultural scene, culinary adventures and plenty of outdoor activities including golf, caving and small plane excursions extend into late fall. The Autumn Restaurant Walking Tour takes place on October 21 and the Collingwood Music Festival will be held October 27. The town is close enough to Toronto for a day trip but with so much going on, why not stay the weekend? For more events and activities, consult

7. County Trails
The autumn charms of Prince Edward County include tasting apples at roadside orchards, stopping by wineries to learn about the harvest and poking into antique shops and galleries along the way. The Gourmet Trail is making this island county a fast-rising foodie destination featuring locally grown ingredients. There are many historic country inns and bed and breakfasts to choose from for every budget. For breathtaking views, head for Lake on the Mountain where fall's tapestry of colours stretch for miles along the Bay of Quinte, two hours east of Toronto. For more events and activities, consult

8. Down on the farm
Step back in time in the Mennonite country of Elora and St. Jacobs where horse-drawn buggies are the preferred method of transport for a community that put down roots here in the early 1800s. The Saturday market in St. Jacobs has quilts, crafts, candles, cider, cheese and a bounty of vegetables. Taste a ploughman's lunch at the Elora Mill Country Inn, then stop by the St. Jacobs Visitor Centre to learn about the Mennonite way of life. Elora Mill Country Inn: (519) 846-9118; Visitor Centre: (800) 265-3353;

9. Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake charms with its quaint village feel and cosy pubs. Through November 12, an "Old World Meets New World" package at the three Vintage Hotels includes a one night stay for two, breakfast, private wine tasting and British pub sampling, all from $180. Take high tea at the Prince of Wales' Victorian Tea Room and ride the Winery Express Tour in a London cab. (888) 669-5566;

10. Art and the outdoors
The Group of Seven famously captured autumn's striking colours on canvas and an impressive number of these works can be seen at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in nearby Kleinburg. It's the perfect setting for Canadiana: the gallery is built with exposed wood beams and stone and sits in a forest valley where you can stroll to refresh your senses after taking in the art. This fall, the work of nature painter Robert Bateman is also on display followed by an exhibit of work by New Brunswick's Miller Brittain. The gallery hosts Sunday afternoon concerts, guided tours and art chats. Adults $15; students and seniors $12. (888) 213-1121/(905) 893-1121;


This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.