13 amazing stargazing locations in Canada
With its numerous large national parks and diverse natural landscapes, Canada is an ideal place for astronomy lovers, even for beginners. Every corner of the country has something to offer, from the mountains of British Columbia to the beaches of Prince Edward Island. Here are 13 great night sky watching spots from all over Canada!
Garibaldi Provincial Park, British Columbia
Near the resort town of Whistler, Garibaldi Provincial Park is wonderful for hiking and camping in the mountains. Its high altitude and low light pollution make it an excellent stargazing spot for adventurers, nature lovers and amateur astronomers alike.
Jasper National Park, Alberta
One of the world's largest dark-sky preserves, Jasper National Park boasts very low light pollution and recurrent northern lights, making it an ideal spot for amateur astronomy. From the Jasper Planetarium to the Dark Sky Festival held annually in October, there are plenty of opportunities to gaze at the stars. The sky is not the only breathtaking sight: the landscapes of the Canadian Rockies are just as phenomenal.
Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan
The Grasslands National Park is optimal for stargazing, as it is the darkest dark-sky preserve in Canada. Visitors can marvel at the Milky Way, constellations and other astronomical phenomena that are very difficult to see near urban areas. Its vast prairies are perfect for contemplating the starry horizon. It is also one of the best spots for deep-space object observation, which makes it a popular site for astronomers.
Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba
Not only does Whiteshell Provincial Park offer an amazing stargazing experience, but it is also home to another astronomy-related wonder: West Hawk Lake, located in a meteorite crater that is millions of years old. Catch a delightful sunset on the lakeshore before looking up at night for a sight of the Milky Way.
Charleston Lake Provincial Park, Ontario
Located two hours south of Ottawa, Charleston Lake Provincial Park is particularly lively during the Perseid meteor shower, as stargazing parties occur. Astronomers are often present at these parties to guide visitors and answer their questions, and telescopes are usually available for public use.
Mont-Mégantic International Dark-Sky Reserve, Quebec
The Mont-Mégantic International Dark-Sky Reserve is perfect for people who are curious about astronomy and night sky observation. It was named the first International Dark-Sky Reserve in the world by the International Dark-Sky Association in 2007, and is also home to the Mont-Mégantic Observatory.
Torngat Mountains National Park, Newfoundland
Torngat Mountains National Park is for the experienced outdoor lover: its remote location, only accessible by boat or charter plane, makes it the perfect spot for those who like challenges. The scenery is worth the extra effort, as northern lights are very bright and frequent. Inuit culture, astronomy and captivating landscapes collide for an unforgettable excursion.
Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park, New Brunswick
This unique location blends the pleasures of beautiful beaches and night sky observation. The fascinating rock formations are the product of millions of years of erosion caused by tidal action. At night, the stars illuminate the captivating rock structures, making Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park the perfect spot for those who are interested in both geology and astronomy.
Prince Edward Island National Park (incl. Cavendish Beach), PEI
If you are looking for a beach getaway, look no further: Cavendish Beach, located in the Prince Edward Island National Park, is perfect for a charming seaside vacation. Low light pollution makes for very bright stars. Gaze at the sky or watch the stars reflect on the sea for a relaxing astronomy-friendly excursion.
Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia
Both a National Park and a National Historic Site, Kejimkujik National Park is Nova Scotia's only dark-sky preserve. Learn about the importance of astronomy in Mi'kmaq culture at the First Nations Sky Circle while you admire the night sky.
Because of its very low light pollution, its short daylight periods in the winter and its northerly position, Iqaluit is a great place to observe the northern lights. You can enjoy a colourful night sky from October to April, but be sure to bundle up: it can get extremely cold during those months.
Wood Buffalo National Park, Northwest Territories
Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park in Canada, but also the largest dark-sky preserve in the world. Observe constellations, the Milky Way and the northern lights in this haven for wildlife featuring the world's largest herd of free-roaming wood bison. Stars are not the only inhabitants of the night sky: large populations of owls and night hawks roam the park. A Dark Sky Festival is also held annually in August, making astronomy a social experience.
If you can't go see the northern lights in person, don't worry—you can still watch them live from Yellowknife, NT on AuroraMAX!
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