Here are the best solar eclipse watch parties in and around Toronto

On Monday, April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will take place that can be seen across North America. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun from view.

In Toronto, the eclipse will begin at around 2:05 p.m., reach maximum coverage at about 3:18-3:20 p.m., and end at around 4:41 p.m. This will be Canada’s last total solar eclipse for the next 20 years. If you’re in the GTA, here’s a list of some of your best options to witness the phenomenon locally:

TMU solar eclipse

Toronto Metropolitan University is hosting a Solar Eclipse Watch Party on April 8 from 2:00-4:30 PM. Location: Kerr Hall Quad, downtown Toronto. It’s open to students, TMU Staff, Faculty, as well as the general public. Registration is now open until April 7, 11:30 p.m.

Stadium viewing

McMaster University in Hamilton is hosting a viewing part at the Ron Joyce Stadium on April 8 from 1 to 5 p.m.  It’s open to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and families. Tickets are free but limited to four per McMaster community member. Eclipse glasses will be provided.  The school will also host a series of public lectures about solar eclipses between now and April 8. Reports suggest that the Hamilton-Niagara area will be the best place to see the eclipse because viewers will get to see a total solar eclipse rather than a partial one.

Eclipse of the Spit

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) will host a Solar Eclipse Celebration at Tommy Thompson Park (TTP) in Toronto. According to the TRCA, the “path of totality” is the 115-mile-wide path in which you will be able to view a total solar eclipse, which is what happens when the Moon completely blocks the sun’s face. Outside of this path, you will only be able to view a partial eclipse. At TTP, viewers will experience a “deep partial eclipse”, with a magnitude of 99.56%. People can book a guided hiking tour that day to view the eclipse from one of TTP’s unique natural viewpoints. Cost: $15 + HST per ticket.  Cost of solar eclipse glasses: $10 + HST per pair. 

Remember, when witnessing an eclipse event in person, never look directly at the sun without using protective solar eclipse glasses that comply with the ISO 12312-2: 2015 standard. Sunglasses—even multiple pairs—smoked glass, and space blankets are not safe substitutes.

According to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada,  even when almost the entire sun is covered by the moon, light from the remaining visible crescent sun is intense enough to cause a retinal injury.

“You can remove solar viewers and look directly at an eclipse only during totality (when the Moon is completely blocking the Sun) and if you are in the path of totality. Totality only spans a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on where you are located in the path of totality,” the Society states on its website.

For those who prefer to stay at home, they can also watch the event online. Eclipse 2024: Chasing the Shadow from Niagara to Newfoundland will present a live stream of the total solar eclipse from where it enters and leaves Canada. Watch on April 8, 2024, between 2 and 4 pm.

Click here for a full list of eclipse events across Canada