Photo credit: Freztino
From the beaches of Saskatchewan to the world's largest astronomy park, Canada is home to some incredible places to stare at the sky. Amateur stargazers and the most serious astronomy enthusiasts can find all of the wonder and excitement their seeking in the Great White North. The following are just a few of the many places to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis, count stars along the Milky Way or identify planets in the dark night skies above Canada.
Wood Buffalo National Park -- Northwest Territories
Many travellers visit Canada in search of the Northern Lights, and Wood Buffalo National Park is one of the best places to admire Mother Nature's light show. "Wood Buff," as the park is known among locals, is the largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world, and it is also one of the least crowded. The park's Dark Sky Festival is held every year in August, and camping is available to stargazers between the months of May and September. Those who visit Wood Buffalo National Park on a clear evening will see the Milky Way Galaxy brighten pitch black skies and possibly the greens and blues of the Aurora Borealis.
Jasper National Park -- Alberta
Photo credit: Christian Reusch
Travellers love hiking the trails and swimming in the glacier-fed lakes of Jasper National Park in the summer months. But many don't know that some of Jasper's best features shine after sunset. The Jasper National Park Dark Sky Preserve is the second largest in the world, and the visitor's center offers on-site telescopes to help visitors admire the Northern Lights and Milky Way Galaxy more closely.
The park holds its Dark Sky Festival in October, and dark sky programs are offered year-round. Those who prefer to gaze at the starry skies on their own will find success on Pyramid Island, Old Fort Point, Maligne Lake and the Athabasca Glacier.
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park -- Saskatchewan
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park spills over from Saskatchewan into Alberta, but those on the Saskatchewan side enjoy the best nighttime entertainment. The Cypress Hills Observatory is open on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings for public drop-ins and programs. Visitors can spot galaxies, planets and constellations through the park's filtered telescopes and learn about what they're seeing in a number of astronomy programs.
Visit in the month of August, and you may catch the Saskatchewan Summer Star Party, during which stargazers from across North America gather at Cypress Hills to enjoy a number of daily and nightly events and stargazing activities.
Bruce Peninsula National Park -- Ontario
Photo credit: essentielley
Tobermory, Ontario, is known as the shipwreck capital of Canada, but there's more to see than sunken ships along the coast of Lake Huron. Nearby Bruce Peninsula National Park is famous for its picture-perfect sunsets and the dark skies that follow. Amateur astronomers from near and far have built observatories in the park known among locals as, "The Bruce." Summer astronomy nights allow stargazers the chance to learn from the park's ecologists and gaze through mounted telescopes at the millions of stars above.
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