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Picture taken by Diana Alandete at Provincial Park in Muskoka Ontario.

by Diana Alandete

I emigrated from Colombia, South America to Canada over 25 years ago.  Since then, I have always lived in the Province of Ontario.  I am very happy with my personal and professional life in Canada.  I initially had to get used to the big fluctuations of temperatures, and other changes that we face as newcomers when we immigrate to a different country, however I can say today that the greatest positive change that I have experienced in my entire life has been to come to Canada.

In reference to the gorgeous seasons of Canada, it was definitely a tremendous change.  I love and enjoy the four seasons in Canada.  I was so used to seeing green trees all year round, as there is only one season in Colombia.  We always have the same temperature, with minor fluctuation depending on the region where we live, with it being a little bit cooler above sea level, in the higher altitudes of the mountains, and warmer temperatures in the valleys at sea level.

When I came to Canada in the first week of October 1993, I landed into an amazing colorful fall season, and I got so impressed with the trees changing colors.  I had never witnessed or experienced such a stunning transformation and breathtaking scenery of Autumn.

I wondered right away, how could this be happening to the trees?  Why did this happen to them?  I did not understand this!

I decided to do some research on the leaf color changes, and found out that the leaves of the trees change due to reduced sunlight and colder temperatures.  As a result, the leaves cannot produce the sugars that maintain the green pigment, chlorophyll, as part of the photosynthesis process, as they do in the warm summer months.

What an amazing display of different colors and a stunning contrast blend of yellow, orange and reds.   Some 0f the leaves on the trees stay green, because they are stronger and able to adapt to the freezing temperatures of the winter season.   The Conifers (evergreens), such as Pines and Spruce, are prime examples of trees whose leaves stay green.

The Deciduous trees are not able to adapt to the freezing cold temperatures and lack of sunlight, which include the Sugar Maples, Red Maples, Aspen (Poplar), Birch, and Tamaracks species.

As a result, these trees extract the green chlorophyll and start showing their natural pigments (carotenes, xanthophylls, and the anthocyanins), which were dormant during the summer months.  This amazing process results in this brilliant display of orange, red, and bright yellow colors.

Algonquin Provincial Park is my favorite place to visit in Northern Ontario, Canada.  I go there several times during the year, to enjoy nature and experience all the four sea­­­sons, and to witness firsthand, this transformation in nature; from summer to fall, to winter, and then spring.  I enjoy going to this special place, for relaxation and to recharge my mind, body and soul.

I like to walk on different trails in the Park, and to see the flora and fauna of this beautiful area. I have seen large Moose and Deer walking freely in the wild, as well as loons, big turtles and all kind of birds, and of course, the gorgeous colors of fall.

I wish that the fall colors would stay longer on the trees in order to enjoy them more, however this colorful display only lasts from mid-September to mid-October.  After that, the leaves start turning brown and then get blown away by the strong winds, rain and snow, creating a crispy colorful carpet on the ground, which acts as a shield to protect their own roots.  These now barren trees start going dormant, and get ready to face the extreme cold temperatures of the coming winter season.

See more about Algonquin Provincial Park in the following: http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/virtual/webcam/index.php