Niagara gearing up for generational solar eclipse event

The event, which will span the entirety of the afternoon and peak around 3pm ET, will result in pitch black conditions, and will be a once in a lifetime experience. Photo Credit: Wikipedia


On April 8, citizens across North America will be treated to a rare astronomical spectacle as a total solar eclipse takes place. The event, which will span the entirety of the afternoon and peak around 3pm ET, will result in pitch black conditions, and will be a once in a lifetime experience. With these realities in mind, Niagara leaders are making preparations for the extremely significant occurrence.

“I remember during Nick Walenda, at that time, that was the biggest event to ever happen in the city,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati in a recent television interview. “This one (the eclipse) could make that one pale in comparison.” Diodati believes that there could be over a million visitors for the event, based on pre-estimates and projections. 

Fireman’s Park, 2275 Dorchester Road, MacBain Community Centre, 7150 Montrose Road, Patrick Cummings Park – Chippawa Arena, 9000 Sodom Road and Table Rock by the Falls are listed among the best quality viewing points in the city. 

“As everyone knows, it’s going to be a big day in Niagara on April 8th,” shared Niagara West Member of Provincial Parliament Sam Oosterhoff in a March 25 social media video. “We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in the path of totality through Niagara, for the solar eclipse. Under the leadership of Premier Ford and the Minister of Transportation you’re going to be seeing a whole bunch of extra trains going along the go-service line, in and out of the GTA into Niagara Falls and along the Niagara Service.” 

While the eclipse is projected to be a thrilling and fun experience for individuals, families and communities, precautions are being taken to ensure the safety and security of all viewers. 

“As we prepare for this event, and the anticipated influx of visitors, significant planning is underway,” the Niagara Regional Police shared in a media statement earlier this month. “From a communications perspective, the Niagara Regional Police will be sharing regular updates and information on our social media platforms (Facebook, X, Instagram, and TikTok) leading up to the event to pass along public safety and service announcements.” 

The District School Board of Niagara and Niagara Catholic District School Board have both announced a Professional Activity Day for April 8, meaning that no elementary or secondary school students will attend classes. Anticipated enormous traffic levels, as well as darkness at the time of dismissal, were cited as reasons to forgo academic instruction for the day.   

There are general tips for navigating the eclipse weekend: Traveling by car is not recommended. Residents and visitors are encouraged to consider public transportation, cycling and walking as alternative means of travel. It is strongly urged that appointments, banking, errands, and shopping be completed prior to Friday, April 5, as normative service levels may not be re-established for several days. 

Direct sun gazing or eclipse viewing is never ideal, according to Niagara Health. However, those still planning to watch directly should purchase ISO 12312-2 eclipse glasses from a trustworthy source and wear them for the complete duration of the event. 

“Looking directly at the sun can be very dangerous and cause retinal burns, sight loss or blurred vision,” explained Jessica Jackman, Associate Medical Officer of Health at The Niagara Region. “Because there are no pain sensors in your retinas, you won’t feel your eyes being damaged. This is why we want everyone to be aware of the need to wear proper solar eclipse glasses to protect their eyes.”

“The damage from solar retinopathy is permanent with loss of central vision,” warned Dr. Amber Sheikh, Niagara Health Head of Service for Ophthalmology. “No treatment is available.” 

Those interested in learning more about the 2024 solar eclipse are invited to visit the following webpage: 

Total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024

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