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The Best Free or Cheap Attractions in Canada

Travelling through Canada doesn’t have to be expensive! Save money and have fun at the same time by visiting some of Canada’s coolest free or cheap attractions. Whether you love fine art, fireworks or fun, you’re sure to discover plenty of entertainment that won’t break the bank. Where are you going on your next Canadian adventure? Check out this list of free and cheap things to do to see if you’ll be near any easily affordable attractions!

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The Forks in Winnipeg. For thousands of years people have been meeting here, a special place where two rivers converge. Join the march of generations when you come to The Forks and enjoy the modern attraction it has become! You can tackle the shopping and dining or head to a point of interest like The Forks Historic Port.

Book a vacation rentals in Winnipeg.

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St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canal Centre. Learn about canal locks and see the process in action from a huge viewing platform! When you’ve seen a boat make its way through the canal, head inside for a free museum experience and perhaps a game of indoor lacrosse.

Book a cottage in St. Catherines.

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Niagara Falls Fireworks. You don’t have to pay out of the nose to enjoy yourself at Niagara Falls! If taking a boat trip or zip line is out of the budget, enjoy a magical adventure when you visit for the lights and fireworks show. You’ll see the falls thundering under colourful lights and get a chance to see fireworks shooting in the park!

Book a cottage in Niagara Falls.

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Changing of the Guard in Ottawa. This European-style morning ritual is a must-see summer experience. Each morning on Parliament Hill, the guard is changed with much fanfare. The sight of so many trained soldiers standing sternly with their tall black hats, bright red uniforms and large bayonets will bring you back to a time when Canada was young.

Book a cottage in Ottawa

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Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica. This cathedral has been standing on Canadian soil since 1647. You can immerse yourself in Québec history when you step through the doors of one of the province’s oldest buildings! Take a free tour to get a look at the stunning interior.

Book a cottage in Quebec.

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Halifax Public Gardens. These beautiful public gardens have been around since the Victorian age. Today, they still look and feel just like something you would have seen in 1867! You can visit for free and learn about the various species of trees, flowers, vines and rare plants.

Book a cottage in Halifax.

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Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta. Budding palaeontologists will love adventuring through this affordable archeological area! Check out the museum, dig sites and artifacts here. You won’t have any trouble imagining gigantic dinosaurs stalking through the barren hills around you!

Book a vacation rental in Alberta.

Saving money doesn’t have to mean skipping activities! Avoid expensive hotel stays when you book a private cottage rental. Find accommodations to your taste and for your price on the CanadaStays website.

Best Fall Foliage in Ontario

Fall is here, and the trees have begun to trade their green summer fashions for brighter shades of orange and yellow. Ontario is perhaps the best place to see fall colours in Canada, since there are so many incredible places to colour-watch throughout the province! Looking for a good Ontario fall colours destination? Here are a few of the best!

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Algonquin Park. With an indescribable display of every leafy shade imaginable, Algonquin Park is perhaps the most stunning place to see a wide array of fall colours in Ontario. The red maple leaves steal the show, but the brilliant yellows, flaming oranges and enduring greens are also a sight to behold.

Book a cottage in Algonquin Park

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Algoma Country. For a perfectly picturesque view of Northern Ontario’s autumnal display, you can’t pass up Algoma Country. Take a train ride down the railroad for a panorama of the colours or hike a mountain to see the bright blue lake ringed with a veritable flame of orange leaves.

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The Bruce Trail. The Bruce Trail may be far too long to complete in just a day or two, but any section of this endless hike is sure to bring you through some of Ontario’s loveliest fall colours. Take the train north of Owen Sound for a view of the fall leaves in Colpoys Bay or hike the Devil’s Monument Loop.

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Dundas Peak. The hike up Dundas Peak is rewarding at any time of year, but autumn is when the real show happens. When you arrive at the top, you can take a breather on a cliff overlooking the entire valley below. Be prepared to be rendered speechless! The mosaic of reds, yellows, oranges and greens below is a view for which you don’t mind hiking. There are many tour companies that offer trips up the mountain, so you may want to join a group tour if you don’t want to go alone.

Book a cottage in Dundas

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Along the Niagara River. The road along the Niagara River is a wonderful place to view autumn leaves. Niagara-on-the-Lake is the crowning glory of this road trip! Take some time to stop and snap a few pictures, wander through the town and enjoy a cup of coffee on a crisp October day.

Book a cottage in Niagara.

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Muskoka. The best way to see fall colours in Muskoka is by taking a road trip all the way to this wonderful fall destination. Get off the main roads and take the back roads! It’s worth slowing down a little and enjoying the scenic view. For awesome fall scenery, drive the backroads of Highway 400, Highway 11 North to Gravenhurst or the Highway 60 Corridor.

Book a cottage in Muskoka.

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Ottawa. Beautiful Ottawa is rendered even more appealing with its fashionable outfit of fall leaves! The city’s historic architecture, lovely lakeside and green lawns are most attractive with a background of orange and yellow foliage. There are many ways to enjoy the fall colours in Ottawa. Take a walk through the park, kayak along the edge of the lake or go all out and run the Ottawa Fall Colours Marathon!

Book a vacation rental in Ottawa.

Now that you know where to go, get out and do it! Need a place to stay during your Ontario fall colours trip? Check out the CanadaStays website for options you’re sure to love!

10 of the Best Pumpkin Patches in Canada

Autumn is upon us, which means it’s time to put the spotlight on the season’s favourite gourd. That’s right – it’s the time of year to pick out a pumpkin! Whether you want to share this classic tradition with your kids or relive your own childhood, be sure to pick one of Canada’s best pumpkin patches for your annual pumpkin excursion.

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1. Downey’s Farm in Caledon, Ontario. This place has it all! Wander through the corn maze, tour the estate winery or head to the family fun play area. No matter what you like to do, you can find it in the high-energy atmosphere at Downey’s Farm!

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2. Le Verger Labonté Orchard in Notre-Dame-de-I’Île-Perrot, Québec. Pick your own apples, pumpkins and squash each autumn at this farm. Take them home to bake or just buy some baked goods at the onsite bakery! There are also corn mazes here, including one specifically for Halloween.

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3. The Chuck Wagon Farm Market in Eldon, PEI. This pumpkin farm has the biggest corn maze in Prince Edward Island! It also has a whole lot more than just your typical fall offerings. Be sure to load up on other produce here, from carrots and cauliflower to honey and herbs. There’s also a kids’ play area so you can make a whole day of fun here with your family.

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4. Whittamore’s Farm in Markham, Ontario. This is basically a theme park, so be prepared to pay an entry fee and be overwhelmed by the sheer number of fun activities. From milking cows to wagon rides, you won’t get bored here. There’s even a pumpkin cannon show!

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5. Eagle Creek Farms in Bowden, Alberta. What makes this place unique is the incredible sunflower maze – the only one of its kind in all of Alberta! Of course, it also includes traditional farm fun like corn mazes and u-pick produce.

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6. The Green Pig Country Market in Salisbury, New Brunswick. This is more than just a market! This place also has fun, family-friendly attractions and events, like the challenging corn maze and flashlight nights.

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7. Richmond Country Farms in Richmond, British Columbia. You can visit this farm and winery all year round, but it’s not until October that the pumpkin patch opens. This kid-friendly attraction is enhanced by characters like Polly Pumpkin and Korny Corn, who will make your trip even more fun!

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8. Springridge Farm in Milton, Ontario. There’s a harvest festival every weekend at Springridge Farm! Let your kids play on the pipe slides and spider climber or pet their favourite animals while you enjoy good food.

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9. Calgary Corn Maze and Fun Farm in Calgary, Alberta. Alberta’s biggest corn maze is found at this awesome family farm! There’s plenty of fun to be had here, from exciting attractions to educational activities and, of course, the pumpkin patch.

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10. Applebarn Pumpkin Farm in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Head to Taves Family Farm to visit Applebarn, a fun family experience that brings agriculture a little closer to home. Introduce your kids to all the classic fun of a farm experience, from hay rides to petting ponies to picking out the perfect pumpkins for your fall activities.

Taking a trip to your favourite pumpkin patch this year? Whether you want to rent a cottage in New Brunswick or explore western Canada and rent a cabin in Alberta, make your trip exceptional when you stay in a vacation rental from CanadaStays. Visit the CanadaStays website to see hundreds of listings for your destination.

How To Boost Your Bookings

As the owner or manager of a vacation rental, you’ve likely already experienced the rise and fall of your business with the changing of the seasons. Every destination has its peak seasons and no matter how spectacular your property, it can be a challenge to generate enough traffic to maintain high occupancy rates throughout the year.

Luckily, you don’t have to depend solely on the tourist season to keep the property income flowing! Here are a few tips to help you creatively boost your vacation rental bookings during your low season:

Identify your off-season guest

Your target off-season guest may not be the same as your peak season guest. While you may prefer to host families at your property, families might be in low supply during the off-season. Budget travellers, young singles and larger groups celebrating milestones may be a better target audience for your off-season listings. Identify the off-season travellers coming to your area and pitch your property accordingly. You may want to keep a peak season listing description and an off-season listing description, switching them out according to the season. If families are your target, you can reference the fun attractions in the vicinity. If your guests are young singles, you can tailor your description to include nearby restaurants and bars.

Only you know your rental home and location. So think about what fits best for your property, and how that changes during the off-season. Not sure how to start identifying your target? Read on!

Trust your data. Look back at your previous season. Who booked your rental property in the off-season? Compile a list of renters and organize them by traveller type. Find the connecting factors and create a profile for your target low-season guest. You may find that this person is completely different than your usual guest. From there, consider the following tips:

Widen your audience. Create a listing that will appeal to a wider audience. If your property is listed with too a narrow focus, step out of your comfort zone and expand the description to appeal to different demographics and traveller types.

Refurbish. You don’t have to refurbish your vacation rental, although that never hurts either! We’re taking about refurbishing your listing. Are your photos up-to-date and do they do your rental justice for the upcoming season? Your audience wants to book a property that looks great, no matter the time of year. What makes your property and location exciting in the low season? Demonstrate how your rental home fits your traveller’s needs. For example, you can add local attractions that are specific to the season.

Allow people to book early… really, really early. Winter travel is booked 100+ days in advance. Make your bookings and pricing available several months before the start of the next season, so you’re ready to accept those early bird bookings.

Lower your price

Lowering your price for the off-season is inevitable. After all, many people travel in the off-season just to take advantage of lower rates. But which rates should you change and how much should you lower your rates? Below are a few easy things you can do to help you make that decision:

Watch the competition. What is your competition charging in the off-season? Check several different listings in your area and put together a list of properties similar to yours. Make sure you’re comparing properties that are similar in size and have booked calendars.

Check hotel prices. How are hotels in your area adjusting their prices for the off-season? You do want to stay competitive with the hotels, but you can also pick up helpful price tips as hotels have years of travel data and professionals dedicated to pricing strategies.

Now that you know what your competition is priced at, you can make sure any price adjustments you make are competitive for the area, or offer an even better price to drive bookings.

A few other things you can also consider:

Remove charges. Can you afford to remove the cleaning fee or extra person charge? These things may only make a small difference for you, but they can definitely tip the scales in your favour when people are looking to book at the best price.

Change your rules. Remove the minimum stay requirements to pick up a few extra customers, or allow children. You can even consider loosening the party restrictions. Any concessions you can make in the off-season can help you book more customers.

Add Extras

If lowering your rates isn’t an option, go the other route and raise your value! If you can offer a better deal at the same price, you’ll still have the chance to snag vacationers who are searching for a great off-season deal. Fun extras can give you the edge over your competitors, and they will certainly catch the eye of anyone browsing through listings.

There are many ways you can do this. Here are a few ideas:
• Offer a late check out option
• Provide a free meal for a week’s stay
• Include basic groceries with the rental
• Greet guests with a bucket of champagne on the counter
• Include tickets to a nearby attraction
• Leave a gift of some kind – a basket of local treats or a piece of art could be a nice touch

Create A Travel Deal

Another way to add value is to create a travel deal. You can run special offers for travellers who book more than a day or two. Making weekdays less expensive than weekends can also encourage people to book the slowest of days. If you need help with creating a travel deal, click here.

As you can see, it’s not impossible to keep bookings steady in the off-season. While it may take a little extra effort to set up in the on-set, and you may not get as large a return as in the peak season, keeping the bookings flowing means you can worry less about income gaps throughout the year. If you can invest a little bit of extra time and effort, you’ll be sure to reap the rewards!

Top 10 Fall Family Activities

Autumn is finally here! Summer is a beautiful season, but there’s something delicious about fall. Is it the colourful leaves? The smell of cinnamon and pumpkin spice? The return to routine? Whatever it is, we definitely love it! Along with the changing colors come many opportunities for family fun. What are you planning for your family this year? Check out our list of the top ten fall family activities for some inspiration!

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1. Harvesting Produce. Fall’s food offerings are profuse, so take advantage of the season and get the best of the best! Of course, there’s no better way to get produce than to pick it yourself. Take your family to pick apples, pumpkins, corn, and more!

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2. Visit a Sunflower Farm. Maple leaves may get the most attention in the fall, but sunflowers are just at gorgeous. Fall is sunflower season, so go get an eyeful! You can visit a sunflower farm to see endless rows of yellow blooms waving gently in the wind.

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3. Have a Harvest Party. Even though you might be far away for Thanksgiving, you can still have a good time with friends at home on any other day! Let your kids help you plan and execute a harvest party for your friends and neighbours.

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4. Take Your Christmas Photo. Fall fashions and colourful leaves make for awesome family photos. Get your Christmas photo out of the way so that you won’t have so much to do once the holiday season rolls around!

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5. Make Fall Crafts. Even the most unenthusiastic of preteens will be willing to do a family craft if it involves emojis. Scroll through Pinterest to find fun craft ideas that will appeal to your family! If that means carving a winking emoji into a pumpkin… so be it.

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6. Collect Pinecones. You can combine this activity with the one above, or let your pinecones stand alone! These make awesome natural decorations for your porch or your home.

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7. Make Halloween Costumes. Why spend a ton of money on costumes if you can make them? Go to the thrift store and let your kids pick out their own outfits, then take them home and jazz them up!

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8. Make a Scarecrow. Some old clothes and a bag of fluff can be transformed into an adorable –and potentially useful – fall decoration! Have fun designing your new fall friend together.

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9. Go to a High School Football Game. Support your local high school by patronizing a game! School games can be just as much fun as pro games, and you can enjoy them in your very own neighbourhood.

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10. Rent a Cabin. Spend a weekend away from the routine with a trip to the mountains! You’ll get to enjoy the fall colours in all their glory, and you can do fun outdoor activities before the first snowfall brings your kids inside. Head to the CanadaStays website to find a rental cottage anywhere in Canada! Make sure to check our top five fall getaways in Canada.

Celebrate Oktoberfest in Kitchener, Ontario

October is the one time of the year that all of North America celebrates German culture, regardless of individual backgrounds and ancestry lines! Tap into your inner Bavarian at the Oktoberfest in Kitchener, Ontario this year for family-friendly fun that goes beyond the usual drinking activities.

Fall Family Bucket List

Fall may be busy with the start of school, the beginning of the holiday season and changes to the weather. However, don’t forget to take advantage of this wonderful season with some family fun! Here’s a bucket list of great family activities for fall. How many can you do? Print this up and stick it to your fridge – your kids will love looking forward to each new adventure!

Top 10 Canadian Destinations for Fall Colour Watching

Fall is perhaps the most beautiful season in Canada! Before we know it, the trees will be bursting with flaming shades of red and orange. If you’re as excited about autumn as most, why not make a weekend trip out of fall colour watching? Escape into the wilderness this autumn for a glimpse of nature’s most brilliant show! Here are some of the best places to go.

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1. Agawa Canyon. The reds and yellows of Agawa Canyon are best enjoyed in by rail! Take Algoma Central Railroad through the canyon – this is a relaxing way to enjoy the colours of nature as the autumnal scenes pass by your window.

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2. Algonquin Provincial Park. Approximately 25 species of trees change colours in Algonquin Provincial Park! This produces an enormous variety of shades and colours, ranging from golden to deep purple.

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3. Bruce Peninsula National Park. Take a hike through the rich colours of Bruce Peninsula National Park! Here, you’ll witness the brilliant contrast of flaming orange leaves against the deep blue of the lake’s water.

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4. Butchart Gardens. It may surprise you to learn that Victoria, British Columbia is home to some of Canada’s most stunning fall colours! Visit the Japanese Garden in Butchart Gardens to see the blaze of fall colours alongside the purples and pinks of the garden flowers.

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5. Cabot Trail. Cape Breton Island’s peak colour-watching time is October, when the most vibrant colors appear in the treetops. Visit in the second week of October and you’re sure to witness a fantastic display!

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6. Fundy Coastal Drive. Rustic New Brunswick is even more picturesque with fall colours in its backdrop! If you’re taking a Thanksgiving weekend trip, this is one of the best places to go.

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7. Lake Agnes. Banff National Park is a summertime wonderland, but its most magical season is autumn. Take the hike from Lake Louis to Lake Agnes for a chance to escape the crowds and see the incredible autumn wilderness in all its glory! This location has some of the best fall colours in western Canada.

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8. Mont Tremblant. The view from Mont Tremblant is truly spectacular! Take the cable car to the top of the mountain – or hike, if you’re able – to see the breathtaking spread of fall colours below.

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9. Muskoka. Red maples are the stars of the fall colours show in Muskoka, Ontario. Take a hike, ride your bike or simply gaze at the brilliant colours from your rental cottage’s front porch – there are many ways to enjoy autumn in Muskoka!

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10. Niagara-on-the-Lake. Drive the highway along the Niagara River and you will enjoy beautiful views of the water and the trees. A stop at one of the lookout points is beautiful at any season, but fall offers an especially wonderful view of Ontario’s small town region!

No matter where you go, you are sure to see impressive fall colours throughout Canada! Whether you want to rent a cottage in Muskoka or explore western Canada and rent a cabin in Banff, make your trip exceptional when you stay in a vacation rental from CanadaStays. You’ll love watching the changing of the leaves as you curl up with a cup of hot cider on the porch of your vacation rental!

Top 5 Fall Getaways in Canada

Vacations aren’t just for summer! Take advantage of the lowered prices, the lack of crowds and the beautiful scenery when you take a fall trip. Canada has endless destinations for fall adventures, but there are a handful of places that you have to visit at least once in your lifetime! Keep reading to learn about Canada’s top five fall destinations.

Most Filmed Canadian Travel Destinations

Did you know that Canada is an immensely popular place for filmmakers to shoot their movies? You have probably walked through a former movie set without even knowing it! From the busy streets of Montréal to remote location in the Canadian Rockies, Canada has served as a beautiful backdrop to many movies of every genre. Curious which Canadian destinations have been filmed the most? Keep reading!