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northern lights

Stunning Sightseeing in Banff National Park

Feb. 24, 2016
By Afton Aikens, Ashley Materi & Ally McConnell

Travel Alberta / Paul Zizka

Travel Alberta / Paul Zizka

Nighttime Light Show
On clear nights, dark skies provide pristine conditions for stargazing and viewing the northern lights. Local photographer Paul Zizka recommends Lake Minnewanka near Banff and Bow Lake north of Lake Louise as prime roadside spots. Download the Star Tracker Mobile Sky Map app to help identify constellations; track northern light forecasts on aurorawatch.com.


WINTERLUDE: Norway and the Northern Lights


Hunting Aurora is on display at Confederation Park during Winterlude (Photo: Fredrick Broms)

Canada isn’t the only country celebrating Ottawa’s Winterlude with great gusto: our fellow northerners and friends at the Royal Norwegian Embassy are offering up a variety of events during the festival. Head over to Confederation Park from Feb. 1 to 18 for their exhibit on one of nature’s wonders, The Northern Lights. The exhibit Hunting Aurora: Northern Lights, Nature’s Own Magical Lantern showcases Fredrick Broms’ spectacular images, while astrophysicist Pål Brekke provides advice on the best way to track them down.

On Winterlude weekends (Feb. 2-3; 9-10; 16-17) at Confederation Park you will also find live Folklore and Storytelling in a lavvo, or Norwegian tent; you’re invited to contribute to the magical atmosphere by making snow-lanterns. For some grown-up fun, head over to the Ottawa Art Gallery on Friday, Feb. 8 for On the Rocks. The $20 ticket ($17 if you buy online in advance) includes a mug of mulled wine, or gløgg, a shot of traditional flavoured spirits, or aquavit, and Norwegian treats like cheeses and smoked salmon. Don’t forget to say “skål” as you toast!

12 Best Places to See the Northern Lights

Labrador, on Canada’s east coast, is one of the best places to see the northern nights

We admit it, we’re a bit aurora borealis obsessed here at Where.ca. But can you blame us? Canada is one of the best places on Earth to see the northern lights in all their glory. Travellers interested in seeing the show should know that the phenomenon is most vibrant in winter, though they can be seen all year in certain spots. In this gorgeous slide show, we’ve singled out the best places to see the northern lights from coast to coast.

• Start the slide show for the best places to see the northern lights »
• See a map of all the best places to see the northern lights »

Lunar Eclipse Meets Winter Solstice, Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories

Every Friday we feature an inspirational travel photo of a Canadian destination taken by one of our readers.

Why we chose it: Nearly a year ago (December 21, 2010) a lunar eclipse coincided with the winter solstice—only the second time this has happened in 2,000 years. Northern Canada was one of the best places on earth to see the coppery red glow cast by the full moon as it moved through the centre of the earth’s shadow. (more…)

Aurora Borealis from the Trans-Taiga Road, Baie-James, Quebec

Every Friday we feature an inspirational travel photo of a Canadian destination taken by one of our readers.

Photo by Axel Drainville

Why we chose it: It’s northern lights season! This photo from the remote Baie-James region in northwestern Quebec captures everything that’s mystical about this cold-weather sky show—the swirls of green cauldron-like light swirling through a starry sky. Pure eye candy, it makes us want to go there immediately, no matter the temperature.

Want to be featured in our Photo Friday? Join our Flickr Group and upload your favourite travel shots! We’ll credit you and link to your photo.