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An annular solar eclipse rises over the skyline of Toronto on June 10, 2021.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Municipalities across Central and Eastern Canada have spent months preparing for an event that will last just three-and-a-half minutes: a total solar eclipse that will cast parts of the country into complete darkness.

Many cities and towns in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are gearing up to host thousands of visitors from across Canada and beyond hoping to catch a rare alignment of the sun, Earth and moon on April 8.

And municipalities are not missing this chance to welcome tourists in large numbers.

How to watch a total solar eclipse

Visitors may feel like the busy travel season has come early, with hotels at capacity and seasonal attractions such as live music performances and food trucks available before their typical summer hours begin.

For Miramichi, N.B., the solar eclipse is going to be the highlight of the year’s tourism season, says Paul McGraw, economic development officer for the city about 180 kilometres northeast of Fredericton.

“We recognized the opportunity early in 2023, but then it was like: ’How can we take advantage of this?’” McGraw recalled.

Miramichi will host solar eclipse-themed events starting Wednesday (April 3) and running into the weekend – with a drone light show, astronomy conference, music festival and an innovation fair welcoming 2,500 students from across Atlantic Canada.

From eclipse glasses to pinhole projection, Globe science reporter Ivan Semeniuk explains what parents need to know to enjoy the stellar event with their kids. The eclipse is April 8 and will be visible from a large swath of eastern Canada.

The Globe and Mail

The city, which has a population of about 18,000, has ordered 20,000 eclipse eyewear, while also leaving room for local businesses to sell equipment.

On the day of the eclipse, enthusiasts can head to the Miramichi-Chatham Airport parking lot for an unobstructed view for free, McGraw said.

“We’re upwards of 800 (bookings) right now and we have a capacity of 1,500 (cars),” he said, adding an estimated 6,000 people can be gathered for the eclipse.

“It’s pretty optimistic.”

Elsewhere, demand and prices for hotels and short-term rentals for the solar eclipse weekend have surged.

Niagara Falls and Montreal are the two most booked destinations for that weekend, a report from Airbnb said.

“This eclipse makes Montreal attractive, especially for those living north of the trajectory, so it’s this clientele that we’re expecting to see more of on April 8,” said Montreal public affairs spokesperson Aurélie de Blois in an e-mail.

In the Niagara region, many hotels are booked to capacity, and some charged as much as double their typical price for the weekend. The city is expecting upward of one million visitors over the eclipse weekend.

“We have 14,000 hotel rooms,” said Janice Thomson, president and CEO of Niagara Falls Tourism. “The hotels generally are almost completely booked up.”

She added travellers had made reservations months in advance for the special event, while many locals from nearby regions are expected to come by train or car for the historic moment.

There will be additional GO Transit trains running to and from Niagara Falls that day as the regional transit operator expects the number of travellers to surge. It is also adding extra cars to its trains to accommodate as many people as possible.

Ontario is home to several other spots along the path of totality – where the full eclipse will be visible – including Hamilton, Belleville and Kingston.

A boat trip on Lake Ontario during the eclipse is one option for visitors to Kingston.

“The 1000 Islands Cruise does not typically open this early in their season,” said Ashley Bradshaw, destination development manager at Tourism Kingston. “We don’t usually see our major attractions open until late May and into the summer season.”

Bradshaw added Kingston hotels have also seen an uptick in bookings, going as far back as last fall, and are expecting visitors from Japan, England and Finland.

Port Colborne on Lake Erie, about 30 kilometres south of Niagara Falls, has set up shops to make the day an educational expedition for visitors.

The day will be packed with an inflatable planetarium with astronomical projections, telescope tours to observe sunspots and flares; and Let’s Talk Science with Brock University experts.

“There really is something for everyone,” said Scott Luey, chief administrative officer of Port Colborne.

“If you want to be on the lake, it can be on the lake. If you want to be at one of our parks, you can be at the park,” Luey said.

“We are a front-row seat to the event. It’s a great place to gather.”

Path of totality: Eastern Canada cities and towns to visit to view the solar eclipse

Parts of five provinces in Central and Eastern Canada will be in the path of a total solar eclipse on April 8.

Major tourist destinations such as Montreal and Niagara Falls are expecting visitors from across the country, but eclipse chasers have a number of cities and towns to choose from.


Kingston: Public places open for eclipse viewing include Lake Ontario Park, Fort Henry, LaSalle Secondary School, Maple Elementary School, Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, Jim Beattie Park, J.R. Henderson Public School and Lion’s Civic Gardens & Isabel Turner Library, among others.

Niagara: Public viewing areas in the Niagara Falls region include Old Fort Erie, Kingsbridge Park, Sandie Bellows Plaza at the Niagara Parks Power Station and Tunnel, Table Rock Centre, Queen Victoria Park, Oakes Garden Theatre, Botanical Gardens, Niagara Glen and Queenston Heights Park.

Port Colborne: The city will offer a number of public viewing points, including Vale Health and Wellness Centre, Lock 8 Gateway Park, Sugarloaf Harbour Marina, Downtown Port Colborne, Nickel Beach, Centennial Cedar Bay Beach and H. H. Knoll Lakeview Park.

Other places in the path of totality include: Burlington, St. Catharines, Belleville, Brockville and Cornwall.


Montreal: People can watch the eclipse at several spots including the Science Centre, Parc Jean-Drapeau, and Old Port. There will be a viewing party at McGill University with activities and other educational demonstrations on campus. Mount Royal Park also falls in the path of totality.

Sherbrooke: The town’s nature science museum is inviting visitors to the Maison de l’eau in Lucien-Blanchard Park for a viewing party on the day of the eclipse. Bishop’s University is also hosting viewers at the campus.

Other places in the path of totality include Drummondville and Havre-Aubert.

New Brunswick:

Fredericton: The provincial capital is hosting an eclipse fest with multiple activities planned for the day. For the viewing, the city is inviting people to lower Carlton Street where the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will assist eclipse watchers.

Miramichi: The town is hosting viewers at Miramichi-Chatham Airport which has a capacity of about 1,500 vehicles in the parking lot.

Other places in New Brunswick include Caribou.

Prince Edward Island:

Summerside and Cavendish are among the places on the Island where the full eclipse will be visible.

Mill River Resort, near Woodstock, is hosting a total solar eclipse viewing.

Parts of Prince County and northern parts of Queen’s County also fall in the path of totality.

Newfoundland and Labrador:

St. John’s: Johnson Geo Centre is hosting a viewing party for people, though the provincial capital will see only a partial eclipse.

The full eclipse will be visible in Gander before the path moves into the Atlantic. Johnson Geo Centre has organized a bus tour to Gander from St. John’s with viewing at the College of the North Atlantic campus.

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