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The total solar eclipse is just a week away. Here’s where to watch in Toronto and southern Ontario

With the total solar eclipse just a week away, it’s time to start crafting a plan to observe the celestial show.

On April 8, the moon will cross the path of the sun and Earth. When the moon aligns directly with the sun, it will cast a shadow over the earth for several minutes.

A partial eclipse will take place just before 2 p.m. in southwestern Ontario, followed by a total eclipse at 3:12 p.m.

Remember, it is extremely dangerous to observe the eclipse with the naked eye, but finding a safe alternative doesn’t have to be costly – those looking to craft their own eclipse glasses can do so using basic household items.

Eclipse Glasses

Where to watch the solar eclipse in Toronto?

1. The CN Tower – Solar Eclipse from The Tower

Catch the celestial event from one of Toronto’s best views. Tickets are required and must be booked in advance. Weather permitting, guests will experience a partial view of the total eclipse. Free eclipse glasses are provided with cost of entry.

2. Toronto Metropolitan University – SciXchange’s ‘Solar Eclipse Watch Party’

The public can join Toronto Metropolitan students in the quad to view the eclipse and learn more about the solar event. Attendees must register ahead of time. Registration is open until April 7 at 11:30 p.m.

SciXchange Solar Eclipse Party

3. Toronto Zoo – Solar Eclipse at Your Toronto Zoo

On Monday, the Toronto Zoo is giving out free eclipse glasses with admission, while supplies last, allowing guests to take in the spectacle alongside their favourite animal. The zoo is asking guests to take special note of any changes in animal behaviour while the sun is eclipsed. “We encourage guests to arrive in advance of the main event to get situated at your favourite animal’s habitat and get ready to OBSERVE,” the zoo wrote on its website.

Zoo Eclipse

4. The Toronto Public Library – Various events

The Toronto Public Library is holding a number of free events to celebrate the celestial show. Many branches will lead educational presentations and have opportunities to work on solar-themed crafts.

5. Etienne Brule Park – Total Eclipse of the Park (Well, Almost)

The Royal Canadian Institute for Science is hosting a viewing party at west Toronto’s Etienne Brule Park.

There, speakers will explore how the eclipse impacts local wildlife. Eclipse glasses are required to attend this event. Pre-registered attendees can collect glasses from organizers on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Where to watch the solar eclipse in southern Ontario?

If you want to catch the eclipse in totality, you’re going to need to leave the Greater Toronto Area.

While Niagara Falls has been deemed one of the best places in the world to watch the eclipse, the city is expecting such an influx of visitors that it has preemptively declared a state of emergency.

If you’re looking to avoid the crowd in Niagara, estimated to reach about a million spectators, you can also check out areas like Windsor, Kingston, and Prince Edward County, Ont., also in the path of totality.

1. Amherstburg, Ont. – ‘Celest-Fest At The Beach’

The Holiday Beach Conservation Area is hosting a family-friendly viewing event in Amherstburg, at 6952 County Rd. For $15, attendees will be provided a pair of viewing glasses and offered activities such as celestial-themed crafts and guided forest hikes. Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase.

Celest-Fest at the Beach

2. Kingsville, Ont. – ‘The Jack Miner Migratory Bird Sanctuary Eclipse Viewing Party’

The Jack Miner Migratory Bird Sanctuary is kicking off its National Wildlife Week with an eclipse viewing party at 332 Road 3 West. The first 100 attendees will be provided proper safety glasses. Kids activities and crafts will be ongoing, and all buildings are open for tours.

3. Kingston, Ont. – ‘Total Eclipse in the Park 2024’

Due to an anticipated high number of visitors to Kingston on Monday, the city’s Total Eclipse in the Park event has been moved to Grass Creek Park. From 1-5 p.m., there will be several family-friendly activities including face painting, performances, and educational presentations. Parking is limited, organizers say.

The city has also listed a number of additional areas on its website where people can take in the eclipse for free.

4. Prince Edward County – Various Events

While there are no municipally-run events planned in Prince Edward Country, the city’s website has listed a number of privately organized viewing parties. For those looking for something a little quieter, areas like Sandbanks Provincial Park and Point Pelee National Park should provide an unobstructed view, depending on weather.

5. Port Colborne – Vale Health & Wellness Centre Viewing Event

For those who want to observe the eclipse in the Niagara area while avoiding the masses at the Falls, there will be a number of events leading up to the eclipse at the Vale Health & Wellness Centre in Port Colborne, Ont. on Monday. Some of the activities, such as the telescope tour, require pre-registration. Due to an anticipated high number of attendees, parking restrictions will be in place.

Other places in Ontario that will be on the path of totality include Burlington, St. Catharines, Belleville, Brockville, and Cornwall.

Can you watch the solar eclipse virtually?

For those who can’t escape the office, or otherwise cannot accommodate a trip outdoors to sneak a solar peak, NASA will broadcast the eclipse live.

When is the next solar eclipse?

After Monday, there will not be another total solar eclipse in the Toronto area until 2144.

The last total solar eclipse in Canada, in February 1979, saw the path of totality cross through southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and northern Ontario and Quebec.

The next partial eclipse in Toronto after Monday will take place on Jan. 14, 2029 with a coverage of just over 50 per cent.