Northern lights Ontario

These are the best places to see Northern Lights in Ontario

Witnessing the Northern Lights in Ontario is a bucket list item for many outdoor enthusiasts. The spectacular phenomenon is rare and fleeting, but you might not have to go as far as you think for a possible glimpse of their magnificence.

While Ontario's moderate climate makes it a bit more difficult to see the natural light shows than our northern neighbours, there are still many great opportunities within the province to catch them. The best time to see the Northern Lights is on cold, clear nights, which tend to occur mostly in late January and February.

Here are some of the best places in Ontario to see the Northern Lights.

Quetico Provincial Park

Quetico Provincial Park borders Minnesota west of the shores of Lake Superior, and is an incredible destination known for its rugged beauty. With towering cliffs, waterfalls, pine and spruce forests, rivers and lakes, it is also one of the best places for seeing the Northern Lights.

In February 2021, Quetico became recognized as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association, making it the 3rd publicly-owned land in the region to achieve Dark Sky status.

Manitoulin Eco Park

Manitoulin Island sits on the northern shores of Lake Huron and is home to some of the darkest skies in Ontario which makes for impeccable Northern Lights viewing.

While much of the island offers great vantage points, Manitoulin Eco Park is the most popular destination for night-sky photographers and stargazers, with its pollution-free air combined with the windy skies of Lake Huron that helps for the clearest skies.

Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney Provincial Park isn't far from Manitoulin Island, so is unsurprisingly another ideal spot for stargazing and seeing the Northern Lights. You can also winter camp or stay in overnight yurts, which isn't a bad idea as the best time for seeing them tends to occur between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Killarney also has an observatory, interpretive astronomy programs, and a telescope you can rent.

Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Reserve

Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Reserve is the closest place to Toronto to see the Northern Lights, just northwest of the town of Gravenhurst.

At nearly 2023 hectacres, this dark sky preserve is surrounded by undeveloped land, which protects it from light pollution from nearby cities. Torrance Barrens also received the honour of being named the world’s first permanently designated Dark Sky Reserve.

Lake Superior Provincial Park

Another designated dark sky reserve, Lake Superior Provincial Park makes an incredible Northern Lights sighting destination with its beautiful coastline.

Lake Superior also has stunning foregrounds for photography of the aurora borealis, with 1,000 metre cliffs against dark waters at Old Woman Bay, where you might also find spectacular ice caves throughout the coldest months. 

Lead photo by

Michael Ericsson

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These are the best places to see Northern Lights in Ontario

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