The northern lights, otherwise known as Aurora borealis, are an incredible natural phenomenon that occurs when electrified particles streaming through space slam into the earth’s magnetic field. The result of this collision is a fantastic dance of light, ranging from green to blue, yellow and violet, though pale green and pink are the most common. Since this reaction occurs over the pole, the further north you go, the better your view of the northern lights will be. Luckily, Canada is one of the best places in the world to see them. To give you a few ideas of where to set your sights, here is our list of the best places to see the northern lights in the country.

 

Whitehorse, YT

Whitehorse, Yukon’s capital, is one of the most northern lights-friendly cities in Canada. From the fall through the spring, the lights are visible on most nights. Anywhere you go on the city’s outskirts will provide you with some excellent aurora viewing, but Lake Laberge offers a particularly impressive vantage point. There are also several tour groups that focus specifically on northern lights viewing, or you can enjoy the lights during a nighttime soak in Takhini Hot Springs. You can even learn about the lights’ scientific workings and cultural significance at the Northern Lights Space & Science Centre. No matter how you choose to take them in, the views of the northern lights in Whitehorse are tough to top.   

 

Photo Credit: sundogretreat.com

 

Muncho Lake Provincial Park, BC

This isolated Northern BC park is found just off the Alaska Highway and is well-known for its unobstructed views of the Aurora borealis’ dancing colours. On a clear night, the lights create vibrant reflections on the large lake’s waters, creating the perfect northern lights photo opportunity. The Northern Rockies Lodge offers a convenient place to stay the night, so you can take your time and soak in the once-in-a-lifetime views in comfort.

 

Photo credit: guideadvisor.com

 

Athabasca, Alberta

Regarded as a hub for aurora activity, Athabasca County is home to one of just 18 scientific stations in North America that studies the effects of the northern lights. And while this station is reserved for scientists, researchers and students, there is plenty of open country where you can find unobstructed views of the night sky. In the winter, heading out across the snowy planes on a snowmobile, a pair of cross-country skis or with a dogsled team is a great way to turn your viewing session into a real outdoor adventure.

 

Photo credit: canadatravelspecialists.com

 

Fort McMurray, Alberta

Located within the auroral zone, Fort McMurray offers views of the northern lights throughout the year (though winter is the best time to see them). For those with a little bit of cash to spare, there are several guided tours available specifically for northern lights viewing, or you can explore on your own and take a drive in any direction from town to find a private viewing area. No matter how you choose to take them in, the northern lights in Fort McMurray will amaze you.

 

Photo credit: fortmcmurraytourism.com

 

Melfort, Saskatchewan

Home to just 6,000 residents, the small city of Melfort is known as the “City of Northern Lights” and, as the name suggests, this is a great place to spot the shimmering phenomenon. In reality, anywhere you go in Northern Saskatchewan you can find some great northern lights viewing, including in any of the eleven provincial parks found in the northern part of the province. Just tilt your head back and enjoy the show.

 

SKSK 62/C2, Saskatchewan Backroad Mapbook

 

Churchill, Manitoba

Located in Manitoba’s far north, right on the shores of Hudson’s Bay, Churchill is regarded as one of the top three places in the world to spot the Aurora borealis. This is because the city sits right in the auroral zone, making the northern lights visible over 300 nights a year. While you are here you can visit the Churchill Northern Studies Centre to learn more about the lights, or take a tour to find some of the polar bears for which the city is famous.

 

everythingcurchill.com

 

Moose Factory, Ontario

The towns of Moose Factory and Moosonee are found right on the Moose River, near its outflow into Hudson Bay. Surrounded by uninterrupted wilderness, there is little light pollution to interfere with the vibrant northern lights displays that occur here. While hunting and fishing may be the main draw for outdoor explorers to these northern communities, the Aruora borealis, or “Wawastew” as the local Cree call it, provides a welcome bonus on any outdoor adventure. According to Cree tradition, the lights represent the dancing spirits of dead relatives.

 

NEON 95/D5, Northeastern Ontario Backroad Mapbook

 

Kuujjuaq, Quebec

The northern Quebec community of Kuujjuaq is only accessible by plane, but if you are serious about getting the best views of the northern lights then the trip is more than worth it. Rich with Inuit culture, the village itself offers an incredible cultural experience, and the surrounding wilderness is a hot spot for caribou hunting and sea-run trout fishing. The ruins of an old HBC trading post can be explored as well, before the sun sets and you are treated to one of the most vivid northern lights displays imaginable.

 

Photo credit: nunatsiaqonline.ca

 

Battle Harbour, Labrador

Battle Harbour is a restored 19th-century fishing village located on a small island in the Labrador Sea, surrounded by rugged and rocky ocean shoreline, icebergs and abundant marine life that includes whales. There are no streetlights here, so on nights when the northern lights are active you can get an unobstructed view right from your accommodations.  While a trip to Battle Harbour is worth it for the scenery and history alone, the northern lights make an unforgettable addition to your experience.

 

NFLD 68/G5, Newfoundland & Labrador Backroad Mapbook

 

Prince Edward Island

While Prince Edward Island is not the most common place to see the northern lights in Canada, it can still offer some incredible displays on nights with strong geomagnetic activity. The Island is fairly sparsely populated, so it is easy to go on a short drive and find a spot free from light pollution to get a clear view of the night sky. On the Island’s north shore, Prince Edward Island National Park offers a particularly picturesque viewing area.

 

Photo credit: welcomepei.com

 

 

 



 

You can find your way to these and many more northern lights viewing locations with the help of our Backroad Mapbooks and GPS Maps. No other map product gives you the breadth of road coverage that ours do, helping you dfind that secluded, unobstructed viewing area with ease.

 

 

Did we miss your favourite place to see the northern lights? Let us know in the comments below or share your best northern lights photos with us on Instagram using #brmblife for a chance to be featured on our feed and win prizes.