The news about the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse on Monday, April 8th is exciting! Preparations are underway in many areas in, and around, Toronto for the best “viewing” opportunities. Watching a solar eclipse can be a thrilling and awe-inspiring experience, but it’s crucial to do so safely to protect your eyes from permanent damage. 

Here’s how to best “view” the solar eclipse and where:

Safety First: Never look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection. Even during an eclipse, the sun’s rays can cause severe eye damage or blindness. Use specially designed solar viewing glasses or solar filters for telescopes or cameras.

Use Approved Equipment: Ensure that your solar viewing glasses or filters are CE-certified and meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. Regular sunglasses, homemade filters, or improvised solutions like smoked glass or exposed film are NOT safe for viewing the sun.

solar eclipse, toronto eclipse

By following these guidelines, you can safely enjoy the spectacle of a solar eclipse while protecting your eyesight.

Timing: Plan ahead and know when the eclipse will occur in your location. You can use various online resources or smartphone apps to track the eclipse’s path and timing. Check out the Total Solar Eclipse app created by the Exploratorium, a museum of science, technology and arts in San Francisco, in partnership with NASA available on the Apple App Store.

Location: Choose a suitable viewing location with an unobstructed view of the sky. Consider finding a spot with minimal light pollution for the best viewing experience.

Preparation: Arrive early to set up your viewing equipment and familiarize yourself with the surroundings. Bring any additional equipment such as binoculars or telescopes, properly equipped with solar filters.

Weather: Keep an eye on the weather forecast for your viewing location. Cloud cover can obstruct the view of the eclipse, so be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly.

Observation: During the eclipse, take breaks from looking at the Sun to rest your eyes. You can use solar viewing glasses intermittently to observe the progress of the eclipse safely.

Photography: If you plan to photograph the eclipse, make sure to use solar filters on your camera lenses or smartphones. Point-and-shoot cameras or smartphones without appropriate filters can also suffer damage from the Sun’s intense light.

Children and Pets: Ensure that children and pets also use proper eye protection when viewing the eclipse. Supervise them closely to prevent accidental exposure to the Sun.

Post-Eclipse: After the eclipse, properly dispose of any used solar viewing glasses or filters. If you experienced any discomfort or vision problems during or after viewing the eclipse, consult an eye care professional immediately.

Where are the best places to “view” in and around Toronto?

CN Tower will obviously have the most advantageous view of the eclipse in the city. Tickets must be booked in advance. Eclipse glasses will be provided.

The Toronto Zoo is a unique way to experience the solar eclipse. Eclipse glasses will be provided but zoo staff also suggest to pay attention to how the animals react to the natural event.

The Royal Canadian Institute of Science and EcoSpark will be hosting a viewing party at the parking lot of Étienne Brûlé Park. Here they will also explore how the event impacts the wildlife in the area.

Distillery District: from 1 to 5 pm join others in this celestial experience in Trinity Square. Glasses will be available for purchase ($5) and grab a bite and a drink to sip on. 

The Path of Totality:

The “Path of Totality” will occur over areas including Point Pelee, St. Thomas, Hamilton, St. Catharines, Port Stanley, Kingston and Brockville. For reference, Toronto will only get 99.9% totality for what that’s worth. 

Niagara Falls is also in the direct path of the total solar eclipse on April 8th and the town’s Mayor has already declared it a “State of Emergency”. That means, additional emergency resources will be available to help with safety measures. They are expecting an upwards of a million people descending to the area for the celestial event. So, choose wisely to visit this, and the surrounding areas of Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Don’t even bother trying to book a hotel stay. They are at capacity.

Another great places we love are Sandbanks National Park  in Prince Edward County. Make an overnighter and stay at The Royal Hotel in Picton. Just a short distance away. We’ve written about this beautiful hotel stay here.

Kingston is celebrating all weekend long leading up to the main event. There’s a viewing party also planned at the Fort Henry National Site.

Enjoy the Total Eclipse (hey, isn’t that a song?) and let’s hope it’s going to be a clear day! The next Total Solar Eclipse won’t be seen in Canada until August 23, 2044.

Photo credit: Jongsun Lee for Unsplash