Imagine being surrounded by infinite open spaces, a starry night sky, and encapsulated in utter silence. All of this is possible in Timmins, Northeastern Ontario, where you can experience the magic of stargazing. You don’t have to be a professional astronomer, either. Thanks to its relatively small population, the light pollution is low and dark skies are abundant within a short driving distance.
Northeastern Ontario is also home to the northern lights—one of the world’s best natural light shows. If you are lucky, you might also be able to get a glimpse of the spectacular, swirling colors of the aurora borealis dancing across the night sky. If you are looking for the best places where you can admire the nocturnal beauty, where to set up your tent, and the constellations to look out for in Timmins, continue reading.
Top Spots for Stargazing in Timmins
It’s no surprise that traveling north and away from populated urban areas generally increases your chances of seeing the most vivid star constellations. The northern skies are incredible throughout the year; however, the crisp air and low humidity make September and October the perfect viewing months. The effect can even be amplified during the new moon.
You won’t need to venture into the middle of the wilderness. Timmins offers two surrounding conservation areas ideal for seeing the incredible night sky—the Hersey Lake Conservation Area and the White Waterfront Conservation Area on Porcupine Lake. You just need to nestle onto a warm blanket at either one and let your gaze shift into the infinity of the universe.
Northeastern Ontario also has two official “Dark Sky Preserves,” the best locations to view the night sky in the region. These preserves have successfully reduced light pollution, often offer viewing equipment such as telescopes, and entail a unique educational experience. Check out Gordon’s Park on Manitoulin Island or Killarney Provincial Park. These places can be reached within a four-hour drive from Timmins.
Suppose you’d like to learn more before heading to your sessions. In that case, you can join the Science Timmins Astronomy Club to find out information about the cosmos, star constellations, meteor showers, and so much more.
Sleep Under the Stars
Probably the most idyllic stargazing experience can be found where you can sleep under the stars and get your fill of Vitamin “N” (for “Nature”). Northeastern Ontario has plenty of great camping sites, and Timmins is no exception.
Check out spots like Big Water Campground or Cache Campground. Apart from offering a wide diversity of activities from kayaking to walking trails, these campsites have a recipe for incredible celestial viewing due to their waterfront location and isolation in the pristine wilderness.
Not sure if traditional tent camping is for you? Then why not do it in luxury? Stay in a yurt or a prospector’s tent at Wild Exodus for an authentic five-star experience. Rest on a comfortable raised bed, enjoy the lakeside views, eat locally-produced gourmet food from the campfire, and get ready to be dazzled away.
If you want to add Canadian staples like fishing or snowmobiling to your trip, then we recommend Horwood Lake Lodge. Located in a conservation area on a picturesque lake, the Lodge is entirely off-grid, so you will be in complete touch with the wilderness. The waterfront cabins are very comfortable, with an oversized outdoor patio from where you can observe the magic of the sky.
From Star Clusters to Meteor Showers
Enjoy the celestial landscape in Timmins’ surroundings and escape from the glaring city lights. You can admire the glorious Milky Way Galaxy in summer. You might glimpse the beautifully feminine planet Venus and the expansive Jupiter in September or find the constellation Pegasus, portrayed as the winged horse in mythological stories. You might also see the star cluster called the Pleiades, a symbol of the heart of the mythological Taurus. It is 100 million years old and contains hundreds of stars.
Look out for the Orionids meteor showers in October, composed of debris from the early solar system. As the meteors come in contact with Earth’s atmosphere, the friction causes them to glow and vaporize. The cherry on top would be to also witness the incredible northern lights, one of Earth’s most fascinating natural phenomena.
Don’t forget to download a stargazing app such as SkyView or StarChart and bring a pair of binoculars or a telescope. And get that enchanted shot with your camera! Words cannot describe standing in the countryside of Timmins, away from light pollution, on a moonless night as you witness the glow of billions of shining stars.
Sleeping under the stars is just one of many unbelievable experiences Northeastern Ontario has to offer. To see more of the incredible adventures this region has to offer, read our Northeastern Ontario Travel Guide.