Autumn in St. John’s, NL

Canada’s oldest city offers a wide range of outdoor activities, festivals and cultural programs for tourists and locals this fall.

There is no shortage of things to do in St. John’s, Newfoundland during this autumn season. Visitors and locals can sample the local produce during harvest time, enjoy beautiful fall colours while walking a scenic trail or attend a festival or craft fair. The following are just a few of the city’s best known attractions.

Lester’s Farm Market in St. John’s

Lester’s Farm Market is the perfect place to experience the freshness of locally grown food at harvest time. Open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Lester’s sells produce grown on its family farm. Produce currently available includes potatoes, carrots, onions and corn. Children will love the petting barn where they can feed animals such as miniature ponies, calves and sheep. The corn maze will delight kids and adults alike. Be sure to attend this year’s Pumpkinfest on October 17, 2009, featuring Lester’s popular pumpkin patch. Activities at Pumpkinfest include the pumpkin catapult, face painting and trailer rides.

Berry Picking at Cape Spear and Pippy Park

Berry picking is a favourite pastime in Newfoundland. Blueberries and partridgeberries are plentiful in the St. John’s area in the fall. Blueberries grow from mid August to mid or late September and can be found on shrub lined trails, roads and highways. A popular spot for blueberry picking in the St. John’s area is on the trail from Blackhead to Cape Spear.

The partridgeberry, also known as the lingonberry, is a tart, red berry that grows on a low shrub in bogs and barrens in Newfoundland. Partridgeberries can be found from September until the first frost. A good place to pick partridgeberries in St. John’s is in Pippy Park. They are most commonly used to make jams but can also be used for making wine, muffins and pies.

St. John’s Haunted Hike

The St. John’s Haunted Hike is a walking tour that highlights the ghost stories and dark secrets of the city’s past. Winding through the streets of downtown St. John’s, the autumn hike will take you past the sites of historic public hangings, haunted buildings and unexplained phenomenon. The hike consists of two tours. The Sinners and Spirits Tour, which features tales of murder, intrigue and duels, is held Sunday and Monday evenings. The more family friendly Ghosties and Ghoulies Tour takes place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. All tours cost $5.00 per person. The Haunted Hike ends for the season on September 10.

Mardi Gras in St. John’s

The St. John’s Halloween Mardi Gras is a popular downtown festival geared towards adults age 19 and older. This year’s Mardi Gras will be held on the evenings of October 30 and 31, 2009 on George Street. The street will be closed off on both nights. A entry fee of $15 will allow access to any bar on the street. Participants will enjoy live music and a Halloween costume contest.

St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival

The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival was established in 1989 to support and promote women filmmakers. Every autumn, the talents of female writers, producers and directors are showcased in this unique event. During the week of October 20-24, 2009, film screenings will be held at various venues throughout St. John’s, including the Arts & Culture Centre and The Majestic Theatre. The general public is welcome to attend a film workshop and seminar series.

Doors Open St. John’s

Doors Open is a program that allows visitors free access to historic sites that are normally closed to the public or charge an entrance fee. Over the course of two days, (September 12 and13, 2009) members of the public will have a chance to explore 15 culturally significant properties in the St. John’s area. They include Commissariat House, Newman Wine Vaults, Quidi Vidi Battery, the HMCS Cabot and the Central Fire Station.

St. John’s Fine Craft and Design Fair

At the Fine Craft and Design Fair, craftspeople from all over the province and the country display their handmade treasures. This annual event will be held at the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre from November 4 – 8 and November 11 – 15. Craft lovers will enjoy browsing through one-of-a-kind Newfoundland crafts such as handmade clothing, jewellery and fine art. Admission is free but donations will be accepted for the Community Food Sharing Association.

St. John’s has a wide variety of events and programs to enjoy this fall. Through them, visitors and locals alike will experience the beauty and culture of an historic city.

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