As Canada’s largest city, Toronto is home to more than 5.5 million Canadians. It’s a big city – and we all know what that means: like New York City and Los Angeles in the U.S. it’s really hard to go stargazing due to urban light pollution and development. (Heck, I’ve never even written about stargazing Chicago for that reason!) While there are small areas to go stargazing in Toronto where you might get a decent view of the night sky, you best bet is to plan ahead and head out of the city to find a truly great place for stargazing. Across Ontario, these stargazing destinations are worth the drive – and an overnight stay if you can manage it!
In this post I’ll cover some of the great stargazing spots near Toronto, within a 2-3 hour drive from the city. There are even better places for stargazing in Ontario that are a longer drive; you’ll need to have at least an overnight if not a weekend to really enjoy those. If you only have one night (or don’t want to drive as far), these are the best places for stargazing near Toronto.
Featured photo credit: soomness via Flickr
Algonquin Provincial Park
One of the best Toronto stargazing spots with no light pollution is none other than the Algonquin Provincial Park. Just three hours from Toronto, this scenic location has spectacular night sky views.
Within the park, Algonquin Provincial Park has numerous great locations ideal for stargazing. The cherry on top is the occasional star parties for amateur astronomers, which are often carried out for educational and interactive purposes.
Binbrook Conservation Area
Stargazing in Toronto is taken a notch higher when you visit Binbrook Conservation Area, founded over 25 years ago. This fantastic sky viewing destination is situated far away from the city’s light pollution in an easily accessible conservation area.
Binbrook Conservation Area is particularly great if you’re trying to view an object in the southern sky; it has good views in that direction. Stargazers also get to see the Milky Way like never before hence making the entire experience worthwhile in the end. Binbrook Conservation Area also typically hosts numerous astronomy events and also annual Perseid meteor shower gatherings.
Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre
Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre is a great location for stargazing in Toronto. This particular stargazing spot is easily accessible in the outskirts of Wiarton. This education center has low light pollution, and the view of stars at night usually glows brightly overhead. Stargazers have the privilege of attending astronomy-related events all year round.
Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre has limited amenities and campgrounds, but there is a 28-inch Webster telescope that is often accessible to the public. If you’ve brought your own, you can set up your telescope on the fields for a truly remarkable night sky view.
Fingal Wildlife Management Area
Fingal Wildlife Management Area is among the best Toronto stargazing spots. This spectacular location is free from light pollution and has plenty of spots to set up your telescope and ample parking for guests. At night, stargazers get to view the Milky way, distant galaxies, among other heavenly bodies. During the day, the expansive landscape is a sight to see.
For a clearer and darker sky, stargazers should visit Fingal Wildlife Management Area between the third quarter to the first quarter moon. There are also monthly meetings held at this particular destination where stargazers learn more about astronomy.
Featured photo credits: David Doe & michaelleckman via Flickr
Lennox and Addington Dark Sky Viewing Area
Lennox and Addington Dark Sky Viewing Area is another one of those remarkable Toronto stargazing places. There are various concrete observation pads, picnic benches, and ample parking for those who visit.
Lennox and Addington Dark Sky Viewing Area has a great view of the celestial bodies and is open every day of the week from dusk till dawn. Stargazers are most definitely going to enjoy the amazing light-pollution-free night sky-viewing. Additionally, there are great hiking trails and expansive scenic land worth exploration during the daylight hours
Long Point Bird Observatory
Long Point Bird Observatory is a famous Toronto stargazing place. This particular location sits on a scenic landscape that is low on light pollution. There are plenty of stargazing spots at Long Point Bird Observatory. It also has a lovely viewing spot closer to the main observatory center with an expansive view of the distant stars and planets at night.
If you’re visiting for a weekend trip, this unique observatory also has plenty of outdoor activities visitors can indulge in, such as canopy tours, glamping, bird viewing, fishing, kayaking, etc.
Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve
Stargazing in Toronto, precisely at Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve, is one of the nearest low light pollution spots near the city. It’s typically a two hours’ drive from town. This stargazing location is among the best in Toronto and the first official star-viewing site to begin operation in Canada. This fantastic dark sky preserve, established in 1999, sits at the heart of cottage country.
Stargazers get to see the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy, and at times, the northern lights in great detail. Lastly, the Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve sits on a 1900-hectare piece of land with fantastic scenery and several hiking trails ideal for outdoor activities during the day.
Do you know other great stargazing spots in Toronto? Let me know in the comments!