Fall in Ontario’s cottage country is an eagerly anticipated event – and for good reason. With lush forests from Georgian Bay to Algonquin Park lit up with brilliant reds, oranges and yellows, and hundreds of lakes sparkling with crisp blues, folks from far and wide make the annual trek to these parts to marvel at the show – even if they’ve seen it dozens of times before.
This year, kick your viewing pleasure up a notch on a float plane tour with Georgian Bay Airways to experience the (seriously) epic scope of it all.
“The view of the region from the sky is so different than that from a car or boat,” says Nicole Saulnier, who established the award-winning airline and flight school with her husband Keith in 2002. “People are surprised at how Georgian Bay shoreline reminds them of the Caribbean for instance, once they view it from above. I’ve even been asked if there are dolphins in the waters by some new-to-the-wilderness customers.”
Though in spring and summer a tour over the 30,000 Islands is more sought after (and features the more rugged and more sparse terrain of Georgian Bay coast), in fall navigation of the Cessna 180 or Found Bush Hawk float planes turns inland to showcase Mother Nature’s autumn fireworks. This year, due to increased demand to experience the fall colours from above, Georgian Bay Airways has introduced a new, breath-taking route over the forests of Parry Sound and Muskoka – a sightseeing adventure you will never – ever – forget.
Longer than regular tours offered by Georgian Bay Airways, the Fall Colours Tour (clocking in a 45-minutes) departs the company’s seaplane base in Parry Sound, Ontario and heads inland towards The Ridge at Manitou, a beautiful 18-hole golf course nestled on the shores of Lake Manitouwabing.
The flight then turns slightly south to do a fly-by of the historic Village of Rosseau (also home to the popular Rosseau Farmers’ Market). Continuing south along the shores of Lake Rosseau, you can check out some amazing summer cottages for which the region is known.
The pilot will then loop around for an aerial view of the JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa in Minett, and onto Lake Joseph, where more impressive cottages can be seen. All through the tour you will enjoy the most incredible views of fall foliage you’ll find anywhere in Canada.
Special Packages for a Special Getaway
Georgian Bay Airways has multiple package deals to help you plan a longer getaway to Parry Sound and area. Consider a Fall Mid-Week Stay at Sunny Point Resort, Cottages & Inn on Otter Lake with float plane pick-up and drop-off into downtown Parry Sound for some sightseeing and retail adventuring.
Bring your sweetheart and book the Fall Romantic Getaway, which includes 1-night accommodation in the ‘Retreat Room’ at 40 Bay Street Bed & Breakfast (located at the Parry Sound harbour), full breakfast, dining at Bistro By The Bay, and a Romantic Sunset Champagne tour for two with Georgian Bay Airways (including a framed photo of your flight).
Head out for major exploring of a remote island of Georgian Bay with the Fly, Hike & Stay package. Departing from the seaplane base in Parry Sound, your pilot will deliver you to Wreck Island, which is part of the Massassauga Provincial Park (and only accessible by plane or boat). Explore the trail for a couple hours and then reconnect with Georgian Bay Airways for a return flight.
Book a “Fly & Golf” package and get dropped off on beautiful Lake Manitouwabing for some rounds at The Ridge at Manitou. You can also “Fly & ATV” – a adrenaline-packed adventure that includes hitting some trails on the Canadian shield with Bear Claw Tours.
Anyone heading to the Bala Cranberry Festival this fall should also be sure to keep an eye out for Georgian Bay Airways downtown. Weather-permitting they will be running fall colour tours in “the cranberry capital of Ontario” at one of the season’s most popular events.