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Don’t Look Up! Best places to view the Total Solar Eclipse


including the top eclipse viewing events near Toronto

On April 8th, observers across the continent will witness the moon moving between the sun and the Earth. In certain locations, this celestial event will result in a partial solar eclipse. However, in places such as Hamilton, Burlington, Ont., Six Nations, Ont., and the Niagara Region, the moon will completely obscure the sun’s light, creating a total solar eclipse!


The duration of the eclipse will differ depending on your location. In Hamilton, for instance, the sun will be fully obscured for approximately two minutes beginning at 3:18 p.m. ET, as reported by the Canadian Space Agency. However, it will begin to be partially covered around 2 p.m. and will remain so until about 4:30 p.m.

There will be several group watching’s happening around the province. Here are a few of them closer to Toronto:

Eclipse viewing events near Toronto


CF Limeridge Mall

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Hamilton Centre is hosting an all-day event at CF Limeridge, rain or shine, which is open to the public at no cost.

Attendees will have the opportunity to use professional telescopes equipped with safe solar filters or bring their own equipment, according to the group. The event will feature educational activities suitable for children and adults, complimentary eclipse glasses and parking facilities.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in overflow parking lots C and D, and pre-registration is required.

Tim Hortons Field

Additionally, the city is organizing a free ticketed event at Tim Hortons Field, which includes free parking and distribution of eclipse glasses to guests.

Bayfront and Confederation Beach Park

The city has also designated several parks as “eclipse viewing areas,” such as Bayfront and Confederation Beach Park, where eclipse glasses will be available for visitors.

Ron Joyce Stadium, MacMaster

For those affiliated with McMaster University, there is an option to attend the school’s viewing party at the Ron Joyce Stadium from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are free but limited to four per McMaster community member.

Six Nations of the Grand River

People can gather at Six Nations Parks & Recreation to view the eclipse between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Burlington, Ont.

Royal Botanical Gardens’ arboretum

The Royal Botanical Gardens’ arboretum will host a “picnic-style”viewing party from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. featuring the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers. The event is free, but you have to register and pay to park.

St. Catharines

Brock U Main campus

St. Catharines, Ont. Brock University has organized an event from 12 to 4 p.m. on the day of the eclipse. This event, located at the main campus, is free and open to the public, but the university encourages attendees to register beforehand. Limited paid parking will be available. The event will feature a range of educational exhibits led by researchers and a community viewing of the eclipse.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls Power Station

Niagara Falls, Ont. Niagara Parks is highlighting various events leading up to and including eclipse day. The Power Station will host educators and a mobile planetarium from April 5 to 8, with talks by NASA and Canadian Space Agency scientists.

Table Rock Centre and Butterfly Conservatory

From April 6 to 8, the nearby Table Rock Centre will offer interactive workshops for children. On the day of the eclipse, the Butterfly Conservatory will feature an astronomer from Toronto Metropolitan University engaging with guests.

For the eclipse event on April 7, Niagara Falls will have special lighting, and on April 8, there will be live music performances by The Glorious Sons, JJ Wilde, New Friends, The Boneheads, and the Niagara Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra will play a prelude to the eclipse, pausing when the moon completely blocks the sun.

Wainfleet, Ont.

Ball’s Falls, Binbrook and Long Beach parks

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority is opening its Ball’s Falls, Binbrook, and Long Beach parks early for the eclipse.

At Long Beach in Wainfleet, Ont., the group camping area will be available for day-use on April 8. People can also book sites to camp at from April 7 to April 8.

Port Colborne

Vale Health & Wellness Centre

At the Vale Health & Wellness Centre, there will be telescopes to view the eclipse, and an inflatable planetarium.

Niagara declares State of Emergency

A state of emergency has been declared in the Niagara Region in anticipation of the large influx of visitors expected to gather there for the solar eclipse on April 8.

Regional Chair Jim Bradley declared the state of emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) on Thursday, March 28, as a precautionary measure, according to a news release from the region.

The release emphasized that the state of emergency grants additional tools to ensure the safety of residents, visitors, and critical infrastructure during the event.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to safely enjoy the eclipse in Niagara, with local governments, emergency responders, schools, and organizations collaborating with the province and other partners to facilitate a safe experience.

Police estimates suggest that up to one million people could converge on Niagara Falls alone, given its prime location along the path of totality for the eclipse.

Regional Chair Bradley expressed readiness for the event, stating that Niagara will be prepared to welcome thousands of visitors on April 8 for this rare celestial event.

Expect Large Crowds and long lines

The release advises individuals to expect large crowds and long lines and recommends completing essential tasks such as refueling vehicles, purchasing groceries, and running errands before the eclipse day.

Travellers are urged to follow local directives and road signs, refraining from stopping, taking pictures, or exiting vehicles on highways to view the eclipse.

Wear ISO 12312-2 certified glasses

For safe viewing, only wear ISO 12312-2 certified glasses, as noted by the region. Additionally, Niagara Region plans to close some facilities and modify services to reduce traffic congestion on the roads during the event.

Shutting Schools for the Eclipse

As North America anticipates a rare solar event, school districts in eastern Canada are carefully evaluating potential learning opportunities against safety concerns, with most prioritizing safety measures.

Numerous school boards are arranging for students to be away from school during the total solar eclipse on April 8, either by canceling classes or opting for early dismissal. They express worries that students may risk eye damage from directly viewing the sun or encounter hazards while traveling home during the mid-afternoon darkness.

The path of totality, a roughly 200-kilometer-wide area where the moon completely blocks the sun’s light, spans cities and towns in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. Although the full eclipse lasts only one to three minutes, the entire event is expected to span over two hours during the mid to late afternoon.

For example, in Toronto, which lies just outside the path of totality and will experience only a partial eclipse peaking at 3:19 p.m. ET, the largest school board rescheduled a professional development day for teachers from April 19 to April 8 due to concerns about student safety.

A Chance to Learn

Tracy Webb, an astrophysicist affiliated with the Trottier Space Institute at McGill University in Montreal, is concerned that school closures deny children a unique and valuable learning experience.

Montreal falls within the path of totality for the upcoming solar eclipse, leading to the closure of most schools and daycares, including the Centre de services scolaire de Montréal, one of the city’s major French-language school boards.

While acknowledging the schools’ responsibility to ensure student safety during school hours, Webb emphasizes the importance of maintaining a balanced perspective. She believes that the eclipse’s minute-and-a-half of darkness in Montreal, which will be more akin to twilight than complete darkness, will not cause significant disruptions in the city.

Webb plans to bring her own children to her workplace to observe the eclipse on that day. Ideally, she envisions a scenario where everyone could have the day off to witness this rare celestial event together.

The eclipse has sparked a debate over balancing educational opportunities with safety concerns in schools. Webb worries that the current approach may only allow children whose parents can take time off work to experience the eclipse, suggesting that collaboration between school boards and government authorities could have enabled broader access to this unique event for all students.

Safety Tips for Viewing the Eclipse

Even if schools are not organizing viewing events, Tracy Webb advises parents to look for eclipse viewing opportunities in their local communities.

In Montreal, McGill University will host an eclipse fair providing 20,000 pairs of protective glasses for public use.

To ensure your eclipse glasses are safe, Panos Christakis suggests testing them by observing a bright, uncovered light bulb. You should only see a “very faint dot” through properly functioning eclipse glasses.

Various eclipse viewing parties are planned in Quebec along the path of totality.

Many of the top eclipse events in Ontario are scheduled in Hamilton and Niagara on April 8.

Christakis emphasizes that it is safe to remove eclipse glasses only during the brief period of totality when the sun is completely obscured by the moon, and only the sun’s corona is visible as a faint halo.

You will know when this occurs as you will no longer see anything through the glasses. Once even a small portion of the sun reappears, immediately put the glasses back on.

“It is an extraordinary experience that children should ideally be part of, but always in a safe manner — using the correct glasses and under adult supervision,” Christakis emphasized.

Final Thoughts

As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming solar eclipse, let us remember to prioritize safety above all else. Viewing the eclipse with certified protective eyewear or using indirect viewing methods ensures the enjoyment of this rare celestial event without risking eye damage. Areas within the eclipse’s path will witness the spectacular dance of celestial bodies. As a precautionary measure, the temporary shutting of schools during peak eclipse times not only ensures the safety of students but also encourages families to experience this awe-inspiring phenomenon together. Let’s cherish this moment safely and marvel at the wonders of our universe.

by Myles Shane

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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