For many it was the perfect summer; hot, hazy and humid - just don’t ask the farmers. This was a nail-biting year for them. Well, that is all coming to an end... in a days many will be swapping their t-shirts for sweaters and those ever-so comfy pair of jeans. (Especially in Southern Ontario, this upcoming Thanksgiving long weekend—brrr).

For the record, the fall season is my personal favourite. I have always loved the feel and smell of a crisp and cool fall day. The sound of leaves crunching under my feet with a distant fireplace sending out the somewhat hypnotic smell of charred wood into the air. I am excited to see how my pooch little Nova reacts,  now that she’s over a year old.

But this fall is particularily memorable for me, as I will be taking another little one (my new baby boy) for a visit to his first pumpkin patch. There are so many exciting things to look forward to in the weeks to come. The backdrop, the main event for all of this is the splendor of autumn -- those blazing wonderful colours. So the question is, will it be a good show?

Before we answer that, perhaps a quick explanation on why the forest changes from green to a cornocopia of colour each year. The main instigator is the interaction of light -- more specifically the number of daylight hours. During the summer months the tree is essentially a factory, one that shuts down in the fall. The trees respond to the decreasing amount of sunlight by producing less and less chlorophyll.

Paul Zammit, the director of Horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Garden says: "The chlorophyll is what gives the plants the green colour that we see. As it breaks down, other pigments in the leaves become more apparent and visible giving rise to the yellow and orange colours we love."

Leaf peepers count on a perfect balance of cool nights and sunny days to help create some of the best shows. Zammit adds that "rich red colours are the result anthocyanin’s pigments which require light and sugar formation to be enhanced. If temperatures stay above freezing and we have good sunny days more anthocyanin’s (red colour) is formed and becomes visible."

Looking at the forecast trends for the remainder of October, mother nature seems to be co-operating, providing decent conditions to set off a continued good show of colours, although maybe a tad damp.

My advice, embrace the new season, get outdoors and enjoy it. It won’t be long before the pallette of mixed primary colours is gone and washed over with white.

I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, and kindly remind you – if you are in a position to do, please support your local food bank.

Here, by the way, is the latest Fall Colour Report.

  • Muskoka 80%
  • Cornwall 50%
  • Owen Sound 90%
  • Niagara 25%
  • Toronto 30%