The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are one of nature’s most beautiful light shows. Witnessing the dancing colors of green, pink, purple and white light up the night sky is an awe-inspiring experience. Canada is one of the best places in the world to view the Northern Lights due to its high northern latitude. Certain parts of Canada see the Northern Lights more often and at specific times of the year. This blog will explore the best time to see Northern Lights in Canada.
Fall (September to October)
The fall months of September and October mark the beginning of auroral season in Canada. As the nights grow longer, the chances of seeing the Northern Lights increase. The further north you travel, the better your odds will be. Places like Yellowknife and Whitehorse in the Northwest Territories as well as Iqaluit in Nunavut see the Northern Lights over 100 nights per year on average. On a clear night with minimal light pollution, you have a good chance of witnessing the dancing lights in the sky. Dress warmly as temperatures start to drop this time of year.
Winter (November to February)
The deep winter months from November through February provide prime Northern Lights viewing conditions across much of Canada’s northern regions. With long dark nights, the lights have plenty of darkness against which to shine. Cities like Whitehorse, Yellowknife and communities throughout the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and northern parts of provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba experience some of the best displays. Bundle up warmly as temperatures plummet, but you’ll be rewarded with stunning multi-colored light shows.
Spring (March to April)
As the nights grow shorter in spring, auroral activity begins to diminish across Canada. However, March and April still provide good opportunities for viewing in many northern locations. The further north you travel, the better your chances of catching a show. Places like Churchill in northern Manitoba and communities in Nunavut still see regular displays. Watch for the lights on clear nights away from light pollution. Days are getting longer and temperatures are rising, so it’s a pleasant time to be outdoors looking skyward.
Any Time of Year in the Far North
If you really want to maximize your chances of seeing the Northern Lights, head to Canada’s highest northern latitudes. Communities like Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord in Nunavut as well as Alert in Nunavut are above the 75th parallel. Due to their extreme northern location, they experience auroral activity year-round with over 200 clear nights of potential viewing annually. While the climate can be harsh, the rewards of near guaranteed displays make a trip worthwhile at any time. Professional guides can also help enhance an educational viewing experience.
Tips for Best Viewing
While location and timing play a big role, there are some additional tips to improve your chances of an amazing Northern Lights experience: check the auroral forecast in advance; find a dark sky location away from light pollution; dress warmly and comfortably; bring a camera to capture the colors; be patient and look up – the lights can appear anytime; and enjoy the natural light show with others. Following these tips will lead to magical nights under Canada’s Northern Lights.
Canada truly is one of the best places in the world to witness the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. With planning and knowledge of the optimal locations and times, anyone can experience the dancing lights. The fall and winter months provide peak viewing conditions across much of the north. However, Canada Northern Lights Tour in Nunavut offer chances to see the Aurora year-round. Bundle up and look skyward on clear nights for a spectacular natural light display unlike anything else.