The beautiful natural phenomenon known as the Northern Lights grace our night skies in Ontario and if we’re lucky, we could catch a glimpse of the wonderous display. Unfortunately for city dwellers, the Northern Lights are visible when the sky is the darkest and clear of light pollution and clouds. That means you’ll need to find the perfect spot for some nighttime viewing. And here’s a list to help you out.

As we head into the colder season, the Northern Lights are most favourable for viewing in winter, according to Destination Ontario.

“This light display most commonly occurs in high-latitude regions and is the result of electrical, solar particles colliding with gaseous properties in the Earth’s atmosphere,” they add.

Though they might not be as potent in southern Ontario compared to the chilly north, we still have a few designated Dark-Sky Preserves that are free from light pollution and promote sky viewing and astronomy.

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North Frontenac Township Dark-Sky Preserve

According to Destination Ontario, the North Frontenac Township was Canada’s first municipality to earn a “Dark-Sky Preserve” status from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. It’s known for having the darkest skies in Southern Ontario so it serves as the perfect viewing spot for the Northern Lights.

Where: 5816 Road 506, Plevna

Point Pelee National Park

Point Pelee National Park is another Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s designated Dark-Sky site. It was first recognized in 2006 and since then has become a top spot to stargaze. You will have the chance to stay late and experience the park at night on designated Dark Sky Nights.

Where: 1118 Point Pelee Drive, Leamington

Point Farms Provincial Park

According to Ontario Parks, Point Farms Provincial Park is perched on a bluff and offers beautiful views of the lake and beautiful sunsets. It’s also the perfect spot for stargazing, viewing planets, and catching the Northern Lights, as per Destination Ontario.

Where: 82491 Bluewater Highway R.R.3, Goderich

Emily Provincial Park

For wide-open views of the night sky, head to Emily Provincial Park. Though it’s near Peterborough, per Destination Ontario, it is a great spot for catching the Northern Lights on occasion.

Where: 797 Emily Park Road, Omemee

Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve

“Spanning almost 2,000 hectares of Crown Land west of Gravenhurst, Torrance Barrens was designated the world’s first permanent dark sky preserve in 1999 and provides an accessible spot for viewing the stars, Milky Way and Northern Lights,” shares Destination Ontario.

Where: Southwood Road, Gravenhurst

Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney Provincial Park is a designated Dark-Sky Preserve and is one of the best spots for enjoying a starry sky and catching the Northern Lights.

Where: 958 ON-637, Killarney