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Where to See Northern Lights Canada | Complete Guide

where to see northern lights canada

Wondering where to see northern lights Canada? In this guide, we explain the best place to see northern lights Canada, and a full list of all aurora-viewing spots in the country.

It is possible to view the northern lights, year-round, from just about any destination in Canada. However, Canada is a large country, with a variety of landscapes and towns, therefore some locations are better than others for viewing the aurora borealis.

In this article we share a full list of exactly where to see northern lights Canada, plus the best places in Canada to see northern lights, to help you plan your vacation.

Can You See Northern Lights in Canada?

Some of the best destinations in all of North America to view the northern lights are located in Canada.

In fact, Yellowknife is considered to be the best location in the world to view the auroras, due to geography, climate, and virtually no light pollution. Nevertheless, there are plenty of other destinations located throughout Canada in which to view the aurora borealis, and when the solar cycle is at its peak, the northern lights can be viewed in every single province and territory of the country.

The northernmost part of Canada provides some of the most awe-inspiring views of the elusive lights, as long as you are willing to deal with the subfreezing temperatures of the Arctic. Nevertheless, from Calgary to Vancouver, and all the way over to Prince Edward Island, there are plenty of vantage points that provide unobstructed views of the northern lights.

Best Place to See Northern Lights Canada

The Best Places in Canada to See Northern Lights are:

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

  • Flat landscape, few obstructions
  • Low light pollution
  • Low precipitation, meaning less likelihood of cloud cover

Whitehorse, Yukon

  • Low population
  • Low light pollution
  • Good accommodation options

Where to See Northern Lights Canada

ALBERTA | Where to See Northern Lights Alberta

Alberta is located in the western part of Canada and is situated within the mountains. However, there are a number of prairies and desert regions located throughout Alberta which provide some amazing views of the aurora borealis.

Banff northern lights

One of the best destinations in all of Alberta to view the elusive lights is around the town of Banff. Near the city, you will find the Vermillion Lakes, which provide some amazing views of the sky. However, they do not provide aurora hunters with a northerly view, as the Rundle range obstructs the view to the north. Nevertheless, when the solar cycle is at its peak, the lights can be seen over the top of the range, creating some amazing opportunities for photographing the elusive lights. Keep in mind, that due to its popularity as a destination for viewing the northern lights, the Vermillion Lakes can get quite crowded on weekend nights, when there is a higher chance of viewing the elusive lights.

Calgary northern lights

Despite being one of the largest and most populated cities in Canada, Calgary offers a number of excellent viewing locations to hunt for the northern lights. The best location near Calgary to view the auroras is at Nose Hill Park. This large park is one of the largest urban parks in the entire country and covers an area of about 4.2 square miles. It provides just enough reprieve from the light pollution created by the city, in which to view the aurora borealis.

Northern lights Edmonton

Although a larger city, Edmonton is an excellent place to view the northern lights. The best destination around Edmonton in which to hunt for the elusive auroras is at the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve. There are also several other excellent destinations in Edmonton including the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, Miquelon Lake Provincial Park, as well as elk Island National Park. Because of the higher population in and around Edmonton, light pollution can definitely create an issue when it comes to viewing the elusive lights. This is why many visitors to the city, take the four-hour trek to the north to Fort McMurray, or West to Jasper National Park.

Fort McMurray

You will find the historic Fort McMurray in the northeastern part of Alberta where the Athabasca and Clearwater rivers combine. Known locally as Fort Mac, the city is situated along the 65th parallel which makes it perfect for viewing the elusive lights. Although the city is fairly populated, it is still possible to view the elusive lights from midnight to about 3 in the morning. However, to get the best viewing opportunity, you will need to take a short drive out of town towards the north.

BRITISH COLUMBIA | Where to See Northern Lights Canada British Columbia

British Columbia is the westernmost province in Canada and is situated along the Pacific Ocean. Stretching up from Washington to Alaska, British Columbia offers many amazing destinations to view the elusive lights.

Northern lights Vancouver

While the city of Vancouver is large, there are still plenty of locations in and around the major metropolis that provide excellent views of the northern lights. Some of the best destinations around Vancouver include Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, and Prince George, as well as Burns Lake and Peace River. However, due to its more southern location, the best time to view the auroras in Vancouver, is when the solar cycle is at its peak. The most important thing to take into consideration when hunting for the elusive lights is to get far enough away from the city so that the light pollution does not affect the viewing experience.

Muncho Lake Provincial Park

Without a question, one of the best destinations in all of British Columbia is located in the Muncho Lake Provincial Park. This very popular provincial Park can be found along the Alaskan highway in the northern part of the province. It is a very isolated destination that is known for its majestic views of the Canadian wilderness. But the park itself gets its name from the native tribes who inhabited the region, for which the term “Muncho of the Park” can be roughly translated to “big water” which refers to the way that the northern lights reflect off the calm waters of the lake.

MANITOBA | Where to See Manitoba Northern Lights

Located along the shores of Hudson Lake, Manitoba is a central province in Canada that provides aurora hunters with a relatively flat geography, making it perfect for hunting the elusive lights.

Churchill Canada northern lights

Churchill is known for many different reasons. This pristine destination located along the shores of Hudson Bay is considered to be the polar bear capital of the world. But, because of its location along the shores of the lake, it is also one of the best destinations to view the aurora borealis. Not only is it located within the auroral oval, but it also offers an on obstructed view of the northern sky that stretches out all the way to the Northwest passage.

NEW BRUNSWICK | Where to See Northern Lights Canada New Brunswick

New Brunswick is located along the Atlantic coast and is bordered by Quebec. It is the only province in Canada where both French and English are official languages, making it much easier to get around than other destinations within the country.

Kouchibouguac National Park

There are several excellent dark sky reserves located throughout Canada, and when visiting New Brunswick the only destination to visit is the Kouchibouguac National Park. It is a short distance from the New Brunswick coastline, but far enough away from Moncton and Fredericton to ensure that there is virtually no light pollution to interfere with the viewing experience. Whenever the conditions are just right, you will find plenty of amazing vantage points throughout the national Park which provides an on obstructed view of the auroras.

NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR | Where to See Northern Lights Canada Newfoundland

Considered to be the most easterly province in all of Canada, Newfoundland & Labrador our home to one of the oldest Norse archaeological sites in North America.

Battle Harbour

With several centuries of history, Battle Harbour is a popular destination for those who are looking for a quaint fishing village in which to relax while on vacation. And although the region offers some amazing views of icebergs and whales, it is the auroras that beckon most visitors to the area. It is one of the most isolated locations in Newfoundland & Labrador and offers some of the darkest skies from which to hunt for the elusive lights. The picturesque village makes the perfect foreground for an amazing photograph of the auroras.

NOVA SCOTIA | Where to See Nova Scotia Northern Lights

Nova Scotia, which is located along the Atlantic coast of Canada, is one of the more populous of the Maritime provinces. It is also the second most densely populated province in the country.

Kejimkujik National Park

Considering that Nova Scotia is so densely populated, it is hard to imagine being able to view the elusive lights from the province. Nevertheless, one of the best locations within Nova Scotia to hunt for the auroras is in the Kejimkujik National Park. Whenever the solar cycle is at its peak, it’s not uncommon to be able to view the northern lights, as far south as Nova Scotia. So if you are planning on heading to a destination that provides culture, plenty of fresh seafood, and unobstructed views of the northern skies, then Nova Scotia is an excellent destination.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES | Northern Lights

The Northwest Territories are a remote destination that features plenty of tundra, forests, and mountains. Nevertheless, the capital city of Yellowknife is situated along the shores of the pristine Great Silver Lake, which provides unobstructed views of the northern lights.

Yellowknife Canada northern lights

Perhaps one of the most popular destinations in all of Canada to view the northern lights, Yellowknife is situated in the Northwest Territory and features the perfect landscape for viewing the elusive lights. The vast majority of the city is flat, and the population is low. Yellowknife is also known to have a very low annual precipitation, which means there will be fewer chances of clouds obscuring the view of the northern skies. Yellowknife is touted as offering some of the brightest and most frequent displays of the elusive lights in the world.

QUEBEC | Where to See Quebec Northern Lights

Quebec is one of the more interesting destinations within Canada, due in part that it is mostly French-speaking. While there are a number of excellent vantage points to view the northern lights in Quebec, keep in mind that some French will be needed in order to navigate through the province.

Mont Megantic

Being the second largest territory in Canada, Quebec can be quite large. Although it’s almost impossible to view the northern lights within the highly populated cities of Montreal and Quebec, once you get out of the major cities, there are plenty of dark skies overhead. One of the most popular destinations within Quebec is Mount Megantic. Here, you will be presented with an on obstructed view of the northern skies, so you can hunt for the elusive lights.

NUNAVUT TERRITORY

As one of the largest territories in Canada, the Nunavut Territory consists mostly of the Canadian Archipelago, an untamed wilderness covered with tundra and virtually inaccessible except for by boat or plane.

Iqaluit

The further you get away from civilization, the greater the chances of viewing the elusive lights. This is why the city of Iqaluit is such a popular destination for those looking for the northern lights. The city itself is situated perfectly under the auroral oval and is so sparsely populated that there is virtually no light pollution, even in the town center. It is, however, one of the coldest places in Canada to view the northern lights, with temperatures often ranging well below the freezing point. If you plan on viewing the northern lights from the Nunavut Territory, then make sure to bring plenty of warm gear with you.

ONTARIO

Located in the eastern part of Canada, Ontario is home to the capital of the country and is one of the most densely populated regions in Canada.

Northern lights Toronto | Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve

Toronto is a major city, and as a result, there is just too much light pollution in and around the city in which to view the elusive lights. However, for those willing to take the drive outside of the greater Toronto area, the best destination is about 2 hours north in the Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve. This preserve is located near Gravenhurst and provides some of the most awe-inspiring views of the northern skies. Because of its proximity to Toronto, it is a popular destination for those who are looking for something a little more accessible.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Prince Edward Island is located in the eastern part of Canada along the shores of the St. Lawrence River. It is a unique destination that is known for its red sand beaches and a large selection of cultural destinations.

Gulf Shore Parkway

When compared to many of the other larger provinces and territories within Canada, Prince Edward Island can seem quite small. Although it is located further south than most other destinations within the country, it can still offer some amazing views during the peak of the solar cycle. Prince Edward Island is one of the more accessible locations in the country, and when determining the best spot to sit and hunt for the elusive lights, look no further than the Gulf Shore Parkway.

SASKATCHEWAN

Saskatchewan borders the US and is situated within the central part of Canada. It is, for the most part, wide open plains, which provide unobstructed views to the north.

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

Situated in the middle of Canada, the Cypress Hills interprovincial Park is an oft-overlooked designation in Saskatchewan for viewing the elusive lights. While many northern light hunters choose to stay up in the Rocky Mountains, Saskatchewan offers many advantages over the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Not only is it one of the largest provinces in all of Canada, but it is the least populated province, meaning there is very little light pollution throughout the region. All this adds up to providing some of the most awe-inspiring views of the auroras.

YUKON | Yukon Canada Northern Lights

Located in northwest Canada, the Yukon Territory is a sparsely populated, mountainous region that is home to the highest peak in the country.

Whitehorse Yukon northern lights

When it comes to viewing the northern lights in Canada, there is no better destination than the Yukon. Not only does the province have a very low population, but it is also one of the smallest territories in the country. The capital city of Whitehorse is situated along the Yukon River and is considered by many to be the most accessible destination in northern Canada, to view the elusive lights. Whitehorse even has a number of glass chalets that provide some amazing views of the aurora borealis.

Final Thoughts on Where to See Northern Lights Canada

This completes our list of the best places in Canada to see northern lights, and our list of where to see northern lights Canada. We have attempted to cover all the main destinations in Canada, and hope you have found this helpful for your aurora vacation planning.

Canada provides some excellent aurora borealis viewing destinations, but since the country stretches over a large region from north to south, there is a lot of land at different latitudes. Like with choosing any good place to see the northern lights, your best bet is to pick a destination in the north of Canada.

Where to See Northern Lights Canada – Best Places:

  • Yellowknife (in Northwest Territories)
  • Whitehorse (in Yukon)

If you are willing to explore a bit further north, have a look at these aurora borealis destinations in Alaska as well.

Happy travels!

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