Whether you’re a photographer, a space enthusiast, or you just enjoy being part of something cool, there’s a big event coming up you’ll want to check out. On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The 2024 solar eclipse is one you won’t want to miss. Total solar eclipses are rare events, happening in a given place only once on average every 360 to 410 years. This means the 2024 solar eclipse in is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view this rare celestial event.

Totality for the 2024 solar eclipse, the moment where the Sun is fully covered by the moon, will not be visible in most major Canadian cities. If you live in Toronto, Ottawa, parts of Montreal, or Quebec City, you’ll need to travel to witness totality.

The good news is, in most cases, you won’t need to go far. And the 2024 solar eclipse is a fantastic reason to plan a road trip! Here are our suggestions for taking an eclipse road trip, either within Canada or nearby.

When is the next solar eclipse?

Image credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

The next solar eclipse in North America takes place on April 8, 2024. It will start in Mexico before noon local time and continue through the central United States. Canadian totality begins in Southern Ontario at 3:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time. It will end over eastern Newfoundland at 6:16 PM Newfoundland time.

What is the April 8, 2024, eclipse path in Canada?

During the 2024 solar eclipse path and times, the eclipse will be visible in an area roughly 185 kilometres wide. Totality will take place in southern Ontario between 3:15 PM and 3:27 PM Eastern time. In southern Quebec, totality will occur between 3:27 PM and 3:32 PM Eastern time. Central New Brunswick will experience eclipse totality between 4:34 PM and 4:40 PM Atlantic time. The eclipse 2024 path will continue through northern Prince Edward Island and will barely skim Cape Breton at Meat Cove. It will then pass through parts of Newfoundland before disappearing over the Atlantic Ocean at 6:16 PM Newfoundland time.

Totality will last from a few seconds up to 4 minutes 28 seconds, depending on your location along its path. For roughly an hour before and after, a partial eclipse will be visible in these locations and the surrounding areas.

What will happen during the 2024 solar eclipse?

If you’re within the area affected by the 2024 solar eclipse, it will seem as dark as dawn or dusk. Those standing within totality may be able to see the Sun’s corona, or the outermost part of its atmosphere!

Don’t forget to buy eclipse glasses

April 8, 2024 solar eclipse

If you’re planning to check out a solar eclipse, it’s critical to use protective eyewear. Apart from the brief moment of eclipse totality where the sun is completely covered by the moon, looking directly at the sun can cause permanent damage to your vision. This is true even when the light doesn’t seem very bright. If you’re outside the areas of totality outlined below, you’ll still need eye protection to look directly at the sun during an eclipse.

For your safety, you’ll need to buy reputable eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer. Check that the products you buy comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard. Canadians can purchase, for example, multi-packs of eclipse glasses through Amazon.ca (this is an affiliate link; we’ll earn a small commission) or individually at Telescopes Canada.

Regular sunglasses aren’t dark enough to protect you. You also can’t safely view the eclipse through a camera, binoculars, or telescope, unless the lenses on those devices are also fitted with a specific type of cover intended for solar viewing. (Putting a solar viewer in front of it intended for your own eyes also won’t work.) Eclipse glasses are effective and affordable. Picking some up well in advance of the 2024 solar eclipse is the safest plan.

We highly recommend reading this article from NASA on how to view the solar eclipse safely before the day arrives.

Don’t forget to check the weather

It’s a good idea to plan ahead most of the time, especially where travel is concerned. But the one thing no one can plan for is the weather. Cloud cover will make it impossible to view the eclipse, so this is a rare exception to the rule. You may make plans to visit somewhere specific and find out three days beforehand the area is expecting a thunderstorm on the afternoon of April 8. If, for example, you book accommodations that won’t refund you if you need to cancel or modify your reservation, you could end up disappointed. It’s therefore wise to keep your plans somewhat flexible so you can change them on short notice if needed.

Where to see the 2024 solar eclipse in Ontario

In Ontario, the area of eclipse totality will skim along the northern shore of Lake Erie and the northeast shore of Lake Ontario before tracing along the St. Lawrence River into Quebec. However, totality for the 2024 solar eclipse will not be visible from Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor, or areas further north. If you’re in these cities, a quick and easy road trip will get you within the area of totality.

Road trips from Toronto to see the 2024 solar eclipse

If you’re traveling from the Toronto area, one option is to head south. Totality for the 2024 solar eclipse will be visible from Hamilton to Niagara Falls. To make an event out of it, check out this day trip to Hamilton from Modern Mississauga. We’ve also got a list of 5 things to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake that don’t involve wine (or do enjoy some wine tastings with your eclipse if that’s your jam!). Heading to the Falls themselves is also an option, though we suggest planning well in advance as is likely to be a popular destination.

Eclipse totality destinations from Toronto or Ottawa

For those who would like a reason to head east, the Bay of Quinte and Prince Edward County regions will be within totality for the 2024 solar eclipse. Learn more about visiting the Bay of Quinte at Modern Mississauga.

The entire area covered by our St. Lawrence River road trip will be within totality range, including Kingston, Gananoque and the Thousand Islands, Brockville, Prescott, and Cornwall.

Where to see the 2024 solar eclipse from Southwest Ontario

In Southwest Ontario, any viewing spot along the Lake Erie shore will work for seeing the 2024 eclipse. A trip to Point Pelee National Park is a great option if you’re coming from Windsor, Sarnia, or the Detroit metropolitan area. Point Pelee is the southernmost point in mainland Canada, and it will have the longest totality in this part of the province for the April 8, 2024, solar eclipse. April is also a peak time of year for bird migrations through the park, so a road trip here could make for a spectacular weekend of witnessing the natural world!

Head into Upstate New York to see the 2024 solar eclipse

The range of totality for the 2024 solar eclipse runs right through Upstate New York, so this could be a great excuse for a cross-border road trip.

We mentioned Gananoque as an option above. While the full International Loop isn’t available until Horne’s Ferry opens in May, you could still explore this section of the St. Lawrence River. The only change you’d need to make from what’s written in the guide linked here is to both enter into and return from the United States via the Thousand Islands Bridge.

You could also eat your way through Buffalo as told here by Modern Mississauga, or you could check out Rochester or parts of New York’s Finger Lakes region. Check out 6 fun things to do in Rochester, New York, from Modern Traveller.

Where to see the 2024 solar eclipse in Quebec

For this solar eclipse, a small portion of southern Montreal falls within the path of eclipse totality. The Montreal Science Centre is offering a free eclipse viewing event.

Totality in Montreal will be brief, so you may prefer to travel into southern Montérégie or the Eastern Townships to witness the 2024 solar eclipse for longer.

If you’re in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine on April 8, 2024, the entire archipelago will be within the area of eclipse totality.

Where to see the 2024 solar eclipse in New Brunswick

The cities of Moncton and Saint John both fall outside the area of totality for the 2024 solar eclipse. If you’d like to travel to witness totality, you can head to Fredericton or Miramichi, or any of the villages and towns along Highway 8, the Miramichi River Route.

Fredericton is hosting EclipseFest, a weekend-long celebration that will feature special events such as an eclipse-themed planetarium show by Science East Science Centre as well as as downtown festival atmosphere. Visitors will be given eclipse glasses free of charge.

Miramichi is hosting a full weekend of eclipse-related events as well, including a drone light show, a weekend-long music festival, and a viewing party at the Miramichi Airport.

The section of the Trans-Canada Highway between Grand Falls and Fredericton will see eclipse totality. Col. Chris Hadfield will speak at an evening event on April 8 in Florenceville-Bristol, NB, following the afternoon’s 2024 solar eclipse. Tickets for this event are available here. Much of the Acadian Coast between Tracadie-Sheila and Shediac will also be within the area of totality.

Where to see the 2024 solar eclipse in Prince Edward Island

While a partial eclipse will be visible in Charlottetown on April 8, 2024, you’ll need to go at least as far west as Summerside to view eclipse totality. The further west you go, the longer totality will last. If you head as far as Tignish or North Cape, totality will be visible for three minutes or more!

Where to see the 2024 solar eclipse in Newfoundland

Much of the area of totality for the 2024 eclipse will pass through Newfoundland in sparsely populated areas. In the west, you’ll be able to witness totality in areas between Channel-Port aux Basques and Stephenville. In Central Newfoundland, the regions between Gander and Come by Chance will see totality, as will the northern tip of the Bay de Verde Peninsula. Terra Nova National Park is within the path of peak totality for the 2024 eclipse (note the park will be outside its operating season). The entire Bonavista Peninsula will also provide excellent viewing opportunities for 2024 eclipse totality.

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