10 dark sky preserves in Canada for stargazing that are out of this world
Canada has 22 sites designated as Dark Sky Preserves across the country. A Dark Sky Preserve is an area that restricts artificial light pollution, in order to create a healthy environment for its inhabiting creatures and protect biodiversity.
Here are Dark Sky Preserves in Canada that offer the best conditions for stargazing.
This 381 square kilometre park is the only Dark Sky Preserve in Nova Scotia. The park hosts night sky interpretive programs in the summer, but the view is available any time of the year.
Mont-Mégantic was recognized as the first international Dark Sky Preserve by the International Dark-Sky Association. The reserve's 34 municipalities developed outdoor lighting regulations that have significantly limited the growth of the light pollution in the area, making for clear, dark skies.
Known as Canada's darkest Dark Sky Preserve, Grasslands National Park is also among the largest with about 730 square kilometres. As well as offering spectacular views, the preservation of the day-night cycle offers a healthy habitat for the plentiful wildlife, flora and fauna of the park.
Away from the glow of the city lights, the Bruce Peninsula boasts some of the darkest skies in southern Ontario. It's the perfect place to catch sight of the Milky Way, comets, meteor showers – and even Andromeda, our neighbouring galaxy. All of which, can be seen with your naked eye.
During the month of October, Jasper National Park celebrates the night sky with dark sky month and the Annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival. If you can’t make it, you can still soak in Jasper's skies any other one of the 365 days of the year.
Known for being Canada’s southernmost tip, Point Pelee National Park is building its reputation for its dark skies. Once a month the park stays open until midnight for stargazers. In August, it's open around the clock for the Perseids meteor shower, which causes 20 to 30 shooting stars an hour.
The Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world. This designation preserves habitat for almost a dozen owl species, bats, as well as the park's other nocturnal animals. It's also a prime spot for viewing the northern lights.
Terra Nova was just recently designated a Dark Sky Preserve in 2018, making it the first in the province. Sandy Pond or Blue Hill – which will get you up as high as the stars – are the best spots in the park to set up camp if you're looking to stargaze.
Kouchibouguac is home to over 25 kilometres of shifting sand dunes, lagoons and salt marshes, the endangered piping plover, and the ultimate conditions for viewing constellations and shooting stars.
It may not be a national park, but Torrance Barrens is still worth a mention. As Canada's first ever Dark Sky Preserve in 1999, it's legally protected by the Ministry of Natural Resources. The undeveloped land provides the perfect ambience for a brilliant star show.
Join the conversation Load comments