Jasper Dark Sky Festival

Dark-Sky Sites

Stargazing is best done far from the glow of city lights.  Use this directory to find a dark-sky site near you.

In addition to the locations noted below, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has a list of sites that it has designated as Dark-Sky Preserves, Urban Star Parks, and Nocturnal Preserves. You can see that list here.

Do you have a favourite public dark-sky observing location? If so, please e-mail us so that we can add it to our list.

Alberta| British Columbia | Manitoba | Ontario | Saskatchewan|

Alberta

Blackfoot Dark Site

Black Nugget Lake Dark Site

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

  • Dark Sky Preserve straddling SE Alberta and SW Saskatchewan
  • Information here.

Shaw Lake Dark Site

Waskahegan Dark Site


British Columbia

Loon Lake Road Reclamation Site

  • Merritt B.C. (Nicola Valley Regional District)
  • Bortle Site Rating # 2. Faint shadows cast by the Milky Way are visible on white objects. Clouds are black holes in the sky. No light domes. The Milky Way has faint extensions making it 50 degrees thick. Limiting magnitude 7.1 to 7.5.
  • Used by the Merritt Astronomical Society
  • Information here.

McDonald Dark Sky Park

  • Dark site near Abbotsford used by the Fraser Valley Astronomers Society.
  • Information  here.

Manitoba

Agassiz Tower

  • Located 15 minutes south of Dauphin, Manitoba, just off of Highway #10 in Riding Mountain National Park.
  • Elevated tower puts you above the skyline with dark sky. Site is an observation deck during the day. Campgrounds available at nearby Moon Lake. Park pass required.

Ontario

Binbrook Conservation Area

  • Approximately 16 km south of Hamilton.
  • A favourite dark-sky observing site for the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers (HAA) and members of the Hamilton Centre of The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. The horizon to the south is clear to -40° declination and particularly spectacular during the summer months for viewing all of Scorpius and Sagittarius. Public events, such as the annual Perseid meteor watch, attract upwards of 200 observers. Amateur astronomers have access throughout the year without charge for nighttime observing.
  • Contact the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers  for more information.

Charleston Lake Provincial Park

  • Half-hour west of Brockville, Ontario, close to Highway 401 (shown on provincial road maps).
  • Has one acre observing field protected from lights specifically for astronomy (ask staff for location) available May to October whether you camp in park or not.
  • Extensive camping facilities.
  • Skies very dark for a location so far south in Ontario.
  • Hosts “Astronomy Night” once a year in August.
  • Information here.

Fingal Wildlife Management Area

  • RASC London Centre observing location, 30 km from London, Ontario.
  • 360 degree viewing, horizon to horizon, extremely dark skies.
  • Night sky is typically magnitude 5.7 on a clear night.
  • Information here.

Gordon’s Park Dark Sky Preserve

  • Located at Gordon’s Park on Hwy 6 on Manitoulin Island
  • 7.5 + magnitude, no light pollution, darkest  skies in the province of Ontario.
  • Good southern exposure.
  • Rustic but comfortable camping with facilities, private road access, observing fields and  meadows.
  • Accessible for camping and observing anytime May – October.
  • Hosts “Thursday Nights Astronomy” in July and August, Stargazing Manitoulin in July and The Manitoulin Star Party in August.
  • Information here.

Irvine Lake Airport

  • Observing site for Ottawa Astronomy Friends (OAF).
  • Located at 19213 Hwy 41 between Bon Echo Provincial Park and Denbigh.
  • 7.1 limiting magnitude.
  • Information here.

Lennox & Addington Dark Sky Viewing Area

  • Approximately 37 km north of Napanee at 7980 County Road 41 between Erinsville and Kaladar. Well signed and easy to find.
  • The L&A County Dark Sky Viewing Area is the most southerly dark sky site in Ontario. It offers a dark night sky experience well away from large souces of urban light pollution. The sky darkness is equivalent to locations 250km or more north of Toronto, but hundrerds of km closer to Hwy 401.
  • The site includes a large concrete pad for camera or telescope setup, or placement of lawn chairs for general stargazing. While the L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area is ideal for both amateur astronomers and astrophotographers, it is also designed for anyone wishing to observe the natural wonder of a dark starry sky.
  • There is no cost to visit the viewing area. It borders on a conservation area, is not gated, and is open from dusk until dawn year-round and no reservations are required.
  • Information here.

North Frontenac Dark Sky Preserve

  • Located near Plevna, Ontario in the County of Frontenac, two hours from Ottawa and New York State, and four hours from Montreal and Toronto. (The physical address of the observation pad is 5816 Road 506, just south of Plevna.)
  • It is a public space with amenities, including parking, accessible wash room and electrical service.
  • Anyone can set up a telescope at the preserve.
  • Information here.

Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve

  • Dark Sky Preserve located in Muskoka.
  • Access to the Torrance Barrens is off District Road 13 (Southwood Road). If you are coming north on Highway 11, turn west onto District Road 13 (between Gravenhurst and Washago), then drive about 20 minutes until you see the brown Torrance Barrens sign on your right. Parking is in the area to the left of the sign. An alternate route is to turn south onto District Road 13 from the village of Torrance on Highway 169. Drive on District Road 13 until you see the sign and parking area.
  • Information here.

Saskatchewan

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

  • Dark Sky Preserve straddling SE Alberta and SW Saskatchewan
  • Information here.

Grasslands National Park

  • Dark Sky Preserve located in southwestern Saskatchewan near the Saskatchewan-Montana border
  • Information here.

 

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