Can You See The Northern Lights In Canada – The aurora borealis has all the hallmarks of a genius: elusive, beautiful, often hard to find. Also known as the Northern Lights, this natural phenomenon is so beautiful and ethereal that people travel from all over the world for a chance to catch a glimpse of it.
Here’s your guide to the best places to see the aurora borealis across Canada, how and when to catch the show, and tips on how to get the most out of the experience, whether from a cozy capsule in a tipi village in the Northwest Territories or on a distant mountain. base camp in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Can You See The Northern Lights In Canada
The aurora borealis effect occurs in the Northern Hemisphere when electrically charged particles from the sun, riding on the solar wind, enter the Earth’s atmosphere and collide with gases – such as oxygen and nitrogen. When the sun is most active, you are most likely to see a spectacular display. The name comes from Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn, and Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind. Most of northern Canada lies beneath the Northern Hemisphere’s Auroral Oval, an area of activity.
Can I See The Northern Lights In Arctic Canada?
Firstly, the Aurora borealis is elusive – which makes it all the more fascinating. This is a natural vibrational phenomenon and there is no guarantee of a performance. That said, the odds are good, especially in the North near the magnetic poles. The effect produces incredible colors, although the Lights can be of all kinds – from arches and rippling curtains, to overcast glowing and sparkling clouds. Sometimes it’s a strange green, sometimes it glows purple, pink and yellow. Green is the most common, while red is rare. The colors zig, zag and move quickly — some say, “dance” — across the inky night sky.
It is possible to see the Lights (almost) anywhere in Canada in all four seasons. But the best place to see them is the North, where they are usually most active. And the best places are remote communities with little or no light pollution. You can’t see the Lights in the clouds, so if you’re near the coast – say British Columbia – avoid the coastal clouds and head north. And you want to find higher ground. Winter (December to March) is often the happiest season, thanks to more hours of darkness each day and often cool, clear nights. Best moment? Around midnight: the window is 10pm to 2am, so be prepared to stay up late. Although you can find them in any Canadian city or province (if you’re lucky!), the following are the best places to see them.
The best place to see the aurora borealis in Canada – if not the world – is the Northwest Territories, where they can be seen 240 nights a year. The best time is either fall or winter (although summer is great too).
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Fall – If solitude is what you want, travel by bush plane from Yellowknife to the elegant, rustic Blachford Lake Lodge & Wilderness Resort. Watch the aurora display from the deck’s hot tub or the domed stone waterfront. The best part? You can combine hiking, fishing and rowing with great shows.
Winter – The lights are especially striking in winter, not like a frozen white gem. The most convenient way to watch the show is from the cozy comfort of Aurora Village, a teepee village just outside of Yellowknife. The area is specially designed for aurora viewing and is equipped with large tipi-heated wood stoves, fur-lined sofas and heated viewing capsules.
Northern Manitoba is in the sub-arctic circle bordering Hudson Bay. Here you can see Churchill, which is said to be “one of the three greatest places on the planet” to see the Lights. In fact, scientists from all over the world gather in the city of 850, famous for the polar bear, to study the aurora. But what makes a visit even more special is that you can combine it with a bucket-list wildlife sighting – think white-bellied, polar bears, arctic foxes, and more. Via Winnipeg is the best route, and stop at the Manitoba Museum to learn more about the lights and the best way to photograph them.
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Late winter – high Aurora season in Churchill is February and March due to extreme cold, which can drop to 40 below zero. Join experienced operator Frontiers North and depart around midnight in a heated Tundra Buggy equipped with a bar. Pack extra batteries, which may break during the dive, and rent clothing from Polar Inn & Suites. Take photos of the often exploding show or better yet, just take them so you don’t miss a thing.
Autumn – September to November is the second best time to catch the Aurora. Combine trophy fishing through mid-September with a light show from the comfortable deck at Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge, a two-hour flight from Winnipeg.
Since the days of the Gold Rush, the Yukon’s Wild West has been the setting for great adventures. Do some of them – dog trains, fat bikes, rough it open prospector style – and ride the lights while you’re there from September to April. In summer, the night sky is not dark enough thanks to the midnight sun, although this is also a good reason to visit!
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Fall – Stay in a tent camp prospect style in the desert near Whitehorse and Northern Tales, lit only by the stars – and the aurora. Amenities offer modern conveniences such as barrel stoves and steamed beverages to keep you warm while you wait.
Late Winter and Early Spring – In the winter, Northern Tales offers a variety of aurora packages and tours and activities such as snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling and dog sledding. At AuroraCentre Arctic Range Adventures, enjoy your choice of a plush, secluded yurt or a comfortable First Nations-style teepee. Add game viewing, dog sledding and a swim at Takhini Hotsprings to round out the fun. Professional cyclists Boréale Explorers lead snow-aurora-guided bike packages, as well as snowmobile or dog-aurora combos from their stylish eco-lodge and Yurtville base camp near Whitehorse.
See the spring caribou migration and the lights with Arctic Haven Wilderness Adventures – Credit: Arctic Haven Wilderness Adventures
How To See The Northern Lights In Canada A Viewer’s Guide
Open tundra gates and a far northern location make Canada the first Arctic country to see the aurora. Spring and summer in Nunavut seem like endless sunshine, with 16 hours a day from May to August and 24 hours of sunshine a day in June and July. So you want to go between October and April when the dark days are long. For example, December has only four hours of daylight. This time of year is when locals enjoy regular aurora displays.
Winter – Consider a trip to a remote traditional Inuit community like Kimmirut, where you can kayak and see icebergs. Or head to Whale Cove, where you can fish and spot beluga whales after a night of aurora viewing.
Early Fall – Follow traditional caribou trails during the day, then catch the lights at night at the Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge, which is at the best latitude for aurora viewing. Here you are more likely to see the Northern Lights on cool autumn evenings. The lodge is located in the Arctic Barren Lands on Ennadai Lake west of Hudson Bay, a short bush plane flight from Yellowknife, NWT. In addition to the light show, you’ll see the fiery array of fall colors, more wild animals like grizzlies and wolves. Layer up, bring your sturdy hiking boots and prepare for the changing weather.
The Best Places On Earth To See The Northern Lights
Feeling sad? Newfoundland and Labrador has beautiful virgin forests, especially virgin labrador. During the winter months, ride over 900 miles of trails on a snowmobile with Dancing Lights overhead. Add snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hunting and ice fishing, if you like.
Summer – Perhaps the most spectacular option is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Torngatberge National Park on the Labrador Peninsula. It is a unique place, dramatic geology, four-billion-year-old rock formations, and the traditional way of life of the Inuit. Established each summer, the remote Torngatberge Base Camp and Research Station connects you with the land, its ancient Inuit, and the international researchers who study it—not to mention an unforgettable aurora display in a wild natural environment.
Granted, you’re more likely to see the effect further north and in the Arctic, but you can still catch the elusive aurora regularly in the lower latitudes of Canada, including Ontario.
Northern Lights: 11 Best Places To See The Aurora Borealis
Fall – For Ontario, aurora viewing times are September and October. Of course, you need a location outside the city with little ambient light for the best conditions to see a dramatic aurora display. The best aurora viewing spots include Manitoulin Island, Cree Village Ecolodge and Pukaskwa National Park. For the full experience, try one of Ontario’s best aurora outfitters: Killarney Mountain Lodge, Gordon’s Park Eco Resort, or Moosonee. While you’re up north waiting for the aurora to appear, take advantage of other northern Ontario attractions and plenty of outdoor adventure options—next to Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes, this is a wild and beautiful place few know about, but worth the trip. .
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