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Total solar eclipse: Where the best views in Ontario are expected to be

Click to play video: 'Understanding the science behind the rare solar eclipse'
Understanding the science behind the rare solar eclipse
RELATED: In anticipation of Monday's total solar eclipse, Sarah Rugheimer, astrophysics professor at York University, joins Antony Robart with a closer scientific look into this once-in-a-lifetime celestial event – Apr 5, 2024

Monday’s eclipse, which will be a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event for many, is expected to cause large flocks of people to head to cities, towns and villages along what has been referred to as the path of totality.

While a partial eclipse will be seen across much of the province, a total eclipse will occur on Monday afternoon in areas mainly along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario from Windsor to Cornwall.

Large crowds are expected in Niagara Falls and Fort Erie as the area will be left in darkness for the longest period of time.

Those large crowds will be buoyed by the fact that dozens of school boards have closed their doors to students for safety reasons as they would have been on their way home from school as the event was set to take place.

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You do not have to head to Niagara Region as there are plenty of other locations across the province to enjoy the view.

What follows is a list of places Ontarians can head to take in Monday’s eclipse.

Windsor-Essex

The area will be the first to enter into a full eclipse as the area will begin to enter the partial phase at around 1:58 p.m. and end at around 4:28 p.m., with a full eclipse expected to take place between 3:12 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.

Pelee Island and the north shore of Lake Erie will be areas with the longest time in the shade, according to the local tourism bureau, while Point Pelee National Park and Seacliff Park and Beach remain other solid options in the area.

Local officials warn that there are only 700 parking spots at the Point Pelee National Park so exercise caution in choosing your destination.

Elgin County

The county’s website boasts that all of its four port communities (Port Burwell, Port Bruce, Port Stanley and Port Glasgow) and John E. Pearce Provincial Park in Wallacetown are solid options to view the event.

The main event will begin in the area at around 3:16 p.m. and last for a couple of minutes, although times vary slightly depending on where you stand.

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Norfolk County

The entire county sits in the path of totality, with an event being hosted at the Waterford Heritage & Agricultural Museum from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

The full eclipse will begin in the area at 3:16:49 and last for around three minutes.

Fort Erie

Fort Erie will be the Ontario municipality under darkness for the longest as it will begin at around 3:18 and last for close to four minutes.

The northeastern shores of Lake Erie and the southeastern Niagara Peninsula will also have totality lasting three-plus minutes.

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Crystal Beach has a town-sanctioned Total Solar Eclipse Festival that starts Saturday at Bay Beach and the Grove and Derby Road areas. Food Trucks in the Grove with a licensed area will be active all three days with concerts on three stages.

Niagara Falls

The area is expected to be under darkness for around three minutes and 32 seconds, between 3:18 p.m. and 3:21 p.m.

In January, National Geographic tagged the spot as the “most picturesque” place to view the eclipse with ideal vantage points and the “iconic waterfalls thundering in the background.”

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With the city being a reasonable distance from half the population of North America, the spot is an attractive location that could potentially bring hundreds of thousands.

Of course, right by the falls will be the most popular spot for visitors in the city.

Niagara Parks police expect Queen Victoria Park will be the focal point for many sightseers on Monday since it features concerts with Glorious Sons and the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, in addition to a fireworks display.

With so many expected in the finite tourist area around the Niagara Parkway and Clifton Hill, the parks service has already said those roads will be closed starting at 11 a.m. Monday.

There are a number of other city-sanctioned viewing points, including Firemen’s Park on Dorchester Road, MacBain Community Centre Park on Montrose Road and Patrick Cummings Park on Sodom Road.

Other public viewing areas include Old Fort Erie, Kingsbridge Park, Sandie Bellows Plaza at the Niagara Parks Power Station and Tunnel, Table Rock Centre, Oakes Garden Theatre, the botanical gardens, Niagara Glen and Queenston Heights Park.

St. Catharines

The area is expected to be under darkness for around three minutes between 3:18 p.m. and 3:21 p.m.

Brock University will host Eclipse on the Escarpment, which will offer a number of educational displays that will be set up by the school.

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Hamilton

Hamilton will be right on the north edge of the path and the city will see the maximum solar eclipse for one minute and 47 seconds between 3:18 p.m. and 3:20 p.m.

Hamilton has designated four large parks, some conservation areas and Tim Hortons Field as ideal viewing sites.

Volunteers will also be at each of the designated locations on the day of the eclipse handing out free glasses.

Burlington

The city will experience a very brief total solar eclipse at around 3:18 p.m.

It will hold an event with the mayor and city council at Spencer Smith Park from 2 p.m. until 4:30 p.m., although city staff will be on-site handing out glasses earlier.

Northumberland County

An area in the southern end of the county stretching from Port Hope to Brighton, including Cobourg, will be shrouded under the darkness of a total eclipse at around 3:21 p.m., with the event expected to last a minute or two depending upon where you are situated.

The farther east you travel in the county, the longer the eclipse is expected to last.

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County officials told Global News they expect to see an influx of visitors to Victoria Beach in Cobourg as well as other waterfront communities such as Port Hope, Brighton, Grafton and Colborne.

Trenton/Quinte West

The Quite West area is expected to be affected by the eclipse at around 3:20 p.m. for around three minutes.

A special eclipse viewing event will take place at the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Prince Edward County

The eclipse is expected to arrive in scenic Prince Edward County at around 3:21 p.m. and will last for around three minutes.

While they have no special events planned, a number of parks in the area will have washrooms in place for Monday’s event.

Belleville

The city has not posted specific plans for the eclipse, although it is expecting an influx of visitors.

The full solar eclipse is expected to occur between 3:21 and 3:23 p.m. in the Belleville area.

Kingston

The city will see the maximum totality for around two minutes and 52 seconds between 3:22 p.m. and 3:25 p.m.

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Kingston will see the first partial phase of the event at 2:09 p.m. on Monday, with the path of totality arriving at 3:22 p.m. and lasting just under three minutes.

The city’s population could more than triple with as many as 500,000 people expected to travel to the community to take in the eclipse if the weather is good.

Public places open for eclipse viewing include Lake Ontario Park, Fort Henry, LaSalle Secondary School, Maple Elementary School, Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, Jim Beattie Park, J.R. Henderson Public School and Lion’s Civic Gardens & Isabel Turner Library.

Brockville

The municipality has a special viewing event planned for Blockhouse Island that will last from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The area is expected to feel the effects of the maximum eclipse at around 3:24 p.m., which will last for two minutes and 47 seconds.

Cornwall

Cornwall will be the end of the road for the eclipse in Ontario as the community, which lies near the Quebec border, will have darkness fall over the area at around 3:24 p.m. for around three minutes.

It will hold an Eclipse Party in the Park at Lamoureux Park, which will run between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. with food trucks and live music.

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Viewing events are planned at strategic locations around Kingston in an attempt to avoid hours of gridlocked traffic after the eclipse.

Residents have been asked to avoid driving on Monday and planned road closures will be in effect to make sure routes to the hospital remain open.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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