Under the path reach for the moon

Visitors to parts of Eastern Canada on April 8 2024 could be moonstruck – that is if they time it right and are in the right location, says Peter Ellegard

Under the path reach for the moon

Visitors to parts of Eastern Canada on April 8 2024 could be moonstruck – that is if they time it right and are in the right location, says Peter Ellegard

A swathe of Canada will be directly under the path of a rare total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8.

The eclipse – that is when the moon passes in front of the sun and completely obscures it – will trace a path north-east across the U.S. from Texas, before crossing over southern Ontario and Québec and the western part of Prince Edward Island.

It will then head across the centre of New Brunswick, clipping the northern tip of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton before cutting through the middle of Newfoundland.

It will last between two and three minutes, depending on where you are viewing it from.

The full total eclipse is easier to see in clear weather, but an eerie daytime darkness is still perceptible with cloud cover.

In total, the total eclipse will be over Canada for 34 minutes, starting at Pelee Island in Ontario just before 15.13pm.

Toronto will experience only a partial eclipse as it is marginally outside the totality path, while Montréal will be just inside the path and viewers there will be able to see the spectacle for about a minute.

Niagara Falls, Belleville, Kingston and Cornwall will be perfect spots to watch the total eclipse from in Ontario. Those in London, Toronto, Oshawa and Ottawa may be just out of the total eclipse’s path, but will still have great views.

However, Niagara Falls will be close to the sweet spot and will experience three and a half minutes of total eclipse, from around 15.18pm. Hotels there are already gearing up for a big influx of visitors and events are being planned to coincide with the solar spectacle, including by Niagara Parks, with specific details to be announced.

“Niagara Falls will be the premier destination for viewing the eclipse in Canada. Not only will you get to see the celestial wonder that is the total solar eclipse, you will get to do it while gazing at one of the natural wonders of the world,” said Janice Thomson, president and CEO of Niagara Falls Tourism.

“There is nowhere else on earth where you will get to do that. This is truly a double bucket-list opportunity.”

Quebéc’s Eastern Townships will experience totality, with Sherbrooke in the dark for almost three and a half minutes.

Dany Gareau, director of Mont-Megantic National Park, 85km east of Sherbrooke, is excited by the prospect. “The total solar eclipse will generate widespread media interest and draw visitors from around the world to the Eastern Townships,” he said.

“This is one of the few times in history that a solar eclipse will occur directly above a famous astronomical observatory and within an International Dark Sky Reserve!”

Covering 5,300 square kilometres, Mont-Megantic Dark Sky Reserve was the first International Dark Sky Reserve in the world when it was designated in 2007. Near Sherbrooke, Mont-Orford National Park is planning a ticketed event for the eclipse.

The sun’s shadow will also pass directly over Québec’s Magdalen Islands, giving more than three minutes of darkness.

In New Brunswick, Fredericton will enjoy just over two minutes of totality and most of Newfoundland’s south-west coastline will also be under the path.

Book it with… Canada As You Like

An eight-night Solar Eclipse package to Ontario is priced from from £1,195pp, from April 1, 2024. The package includes return Gatwick-Toronto flights, four nights’ room-only in Toronto, two nights B&B at Niagara-on-the-Lake and two nights’ B&B at the Clifton Victoria Inn at the Falls in Niagara Falls plus five days’ fully-inclusive car hire. Family packages are also available.


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