When you visualise Canada, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Whether you've ever been to the country or not, there's a solid chance that autumn colours paint the landscapes you're picturing. After all, the country's flag itself proudly displays a red maple leaf... they programmed us to think this way!
Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving, a statutory holiday here, so one of the few three-day weekends during the year, and a chance to get out of the city and explore some of what the Ontario countryside has to offer. It's not my first foray into the beloved cottage country, but at this time of year, the scenery out here takes it to a whole new level. It. Was. Everything.
Some friends and I hired a cabin about two hours' drive from Toronto, in a spot near a small town called Coe Hill. The cabin was bliss - all wood interiors and comfy chairs and rustic bedding. What took the cake though was the way in which we were surrounded on every side by trees in their most stunning moment of seasonal transformation... and we were there to enjoy them at their peak. The colours were as bold as they get, and the breeze that blew all weekend long was enough to cause the leaves to fall, so it felt as though orange and gold snow was perpetually falling, creating a carpet of fallen leaves for us to crunch through. Even by the end of the third day as we packed up to leave, the trees were noticeably barer than when we had arrived, and some were stripped already. We couldn't have got luckier with the timing. Would you LOOK at our driveway?
To add to the genuinely heavenly scenes, the local wildlife was out in full force. Blue jays - absolutely stunning in their bold blue amongst the orange leaves, and adorable with their little tuft of feathers our the back of their heads - regularly visited the bird feeder on the deck. As we cooked the Thanksgiving turkey, we were entertained to no end by squirrels foraging and hoarding away various supplies for the impending winter, doing some seriously impressive acrobatics in the process. They were much smaller and a prettier colour than any squirrels I've seen before, and we figured them out to be North American Red Squirrels. One particularly sassy little chipmunk who is obviously friendly with the cabin's owners hung out with us when we read and drank coffee on the deck, and some wild deer even made an appearance while we were off on a walk. I didn't capture any of the animals on camera, but I offer as a consolation prize this collection of photos from aforementioned walk.
As if I wasn't swooning enough when we packed up to leave, the drive home blew my mind. We had driven up on Friday after work to get that extra night in, meaning we missed the scenery during the drive sadly, though it did make waking up on that first morning pretty magical. On the way back to the city though I truly could not stop gaping... there were at least twenty spots I glimpsed too late as we sped past them that I would have loved to photograph, they were so beautiful. A teeny tiny church nestled amongst orange birch trees. A winding river lined with trees the colour of fire trucks. If I am here for this season next year, I am determined to dedicate a weekend to simply driving around and going on a photo escapade. As it was, this view from the back seat was enough to keep me giddy until then. We even stopped at a pumpkin patch on the way home - a North American seasonal institution and perhaps the most wholesome experience of my life.
I am left utterly enchanted with autumn - baring in mind it was already my favourite season! I can think of no other way to sign off than by sharing a quote from Anne of Green Gables author, L.M. Montgomery, who was herself from this part of the world: