This Ontario Dark-Sky Preserve Has Dreamy Stargazing & You Can Even Camp There
One of the best places to see the night sky.
Seeing stars is something we’ve all done at least once, looking up into the night sky dotted with faint light. There are several spots throughout Ontario perfect for stargazing, but what if you could see more? From shooting stars to the Northern Lights, Manitoulin Eco Park is a celestial retreat.
Located on Manitoulin Island, the park is found in Tehkummah, a short 15-minute drive from the ferry terminal. With camping grounds on site, you can choose to stay the night or simply visit.
Since the island sits on Lake Huron, across from Bruce Peninsula National Park, there is nearly no light pollution competing with the impressive details of the dark sky.
Formerly called Gordon’s Park, the previous owners founded the site in 1991 to help people reconnect to the natural world. With 268 acres of land, there's plenty of space for visitors to take in the 360-degree views.
The park is a designated Dark-Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, meaning there’s little light pollution and an emphasis on dark sky education.
Several fun and educational events are held at the park each season. Below are some examples of amazing ways you can learn more about astronomy.
The park holds Astronomy Nights on most Fridays and Saturdays in the spring, summer and fall months. For $35, you'll get a guide to constellations, planets and even galaxies that aren't normally visible to the naked eye. Expert hosts help orient beginners to solar systems, the Northern Lights and much more.
They also offer small group Astronomy Nights on Wednesday nights — semi-private sessions with astronomy experts. Here, you'll get to try out the high-grade 8″ Dobsonian Telescope and truly see what the night sky holds.
Stargazing Night Hikes
An immersive adventure through the hardwood forest, the hike gives visitors an experience like no other. Focusing on nocturnal wildlife and orientation through the stars, you can embrace the great outdoors. The park has five distinct ecozones and is even a migratory area for Monarch butterflies!
Starting after dark, you're sure to see far more stars and celestial bodies than if you were in a city.
The Dark-Sky Preserve is one of the best places to see the Perseids meteor showers in all their glory. Occurring every summer, the site has special dates reserved for the new moon and meteor peaks. They say you can see up to 60 meteors an hour — a feat you surely couldn't accomplish in any city.
The night hikes are also offered during the Perseids season, so you can get a multi-perspective look at the natural phenomenon.
Manitoulin Eco Park & Dark-Sky Preserve
Where: 18777 ON-6, Tehkummah, Manitoulin Island, Ontario.
For more information, visit the Manitoulin Eco Park website.