Best Places to Stargaze in Canada
From Wood Buffalo National Park to Kejimkujik National Park, here are the best places to go in Canada for prime stargazing
If you fancy a night under the stars, there are few better places to be than Canada. The Great White North is brimming with wide-open spaces where you can escape the light pollution that normally obscures the wonders of the night sky. But where exactly are the best places to observe a cosmic ballet? Keep reading to find out.
Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta and Northwest Territories
Awarded the title of world’s largest Dark-Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the country’s biggest national park is likely the best place on Earth to stargaze. On the border between Alberta and the Northwest Territories, you can see the endless beauty with your naked eye, and, if you’re lucky, catch the northern lights.
Jasper National Park, Alberta
The second-largest astronomy park in the world (previously number one before Wood Buffalo claimed the title) is host to the Jasper Dark Sky Festival every October where people gather in the name of astronomy. Guests stay at a wide range of accommodations, from bare-necessity campsites to five-star hotels, but everyone comes to see the stars. Canada’s own Chris Hadfield was the headlining guest at the 2015 festival.
Charleston Lake Provincial Park, Ontario
One of the most southern places in Canada where you can still see a clear star-studded sky, this provincial park is groomed for optimum stargazing comfort. One designated area of the park is covered with comfy mowed grass, so you can lie on nature’s mattress and take in the universe.
Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan
Long stretches of unpopulated land make this prairie province an ideal place to stargaze. The Regina Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada co-hosts a star party every August at the park, and attendees can stay in the nearby village of Val Marie, whose population is just over 100.
Mont-Mégantic National Park, Québec
When you head to this International Dark-Sky Reserve in the Eastern Townships, visit the country’s largest tourism-driven observatory during the Festival d’astronomie (July 7, 8, 9 and July 14, 15, 16) where visitors can sit in on conferences and see the stars through powerful telescopes.
Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia
Only a couple of hours’ drive outside of Halifax, this national park was named a Dark-Sky Preserve in 2010, the first such designation in the province. During the summer, the park’s public astronomy program offers regular telescope viewings and explores the significance of the sky to the culture of the Mi’kmaw, a local First Nation.