April 8th 2024 Solar Eclipse from Toronto/GTA

A solar eclipse will be visible on April 8th 2024 from many parts of North America. This website and the following maps have been put together by Hanno Rein, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. It provides information on how to best view the eclipse and is specifically intended for people living in Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Background image credit: Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel
A map of the eclipse shadow over Toronto.

The total eclipse is NOT visible from Toronto

Unfortunately the total eclipse is not visible from Toronto. If you are in Toronto on April 8th, you will only see a partial solar eclipse. A partial solar eclipse is still an exciting event. However, it is very different from seeing a total eclipse. Even 1% of sunlight is still very bright. You will neither see prominences in the sun's corona nor stars in the sky. The map shows you the path of the northern line of the total eclipse - it's just south of Toronto. If you want to see a total eclipse in Toronto, you'll need to wait until 2144.

If you want to know precisely where the eclipse will be happening and what you'll see from your location, download the free 2024 Eclipse Live App on the Apple AppStore. It gives you a preview and timings for the eclipse accurate to within 1s.

Where to go to see the total eclipse

If you live in Toronto and want to see the total eclipse, you need to travel. If you have the chance to take the day off to go and see the eclipse, I strongly encourage you to do so. It's a rare event and it's worth it. Coming from Toronto and travelling south-west, Burlington is the first city where you can see the total eclipse for a few seconds. The further you travel towards the central line of the total eclipse, the longer you will be able to experience totality. Buffalo is almost exactly on the central line and totality will last for about 4 minutes. Note that some of these locations can be reached by public transport from Toronto with the GO train. Stations along the Lakeshore West Line that are in the path of totality are: Burlington, Aldershot, Hamilton, West Harbour, St. Catharines, and Niagara Falls. The stations further away from Toronto are better. West Harbour might be your best bet - it is furtherst station from Toronto which is serviced every 60 minutes.

Coming from Toronto and travelling east, the first town where you can see the total eclipse for a few seconds is Port Hope. In the Kingston area, you can see the total eclipse for about 2 minutes. If you make it across the border and are in Watertown NY by 3:25pm, then you will experience totality for about 4 minutes.

Whether you travel by car or public transit, expect the roads and trains to be very busy the entire day! I suggest you pack some drinks, food, and a good book and then head out before sunrise to beat the traffic.

A map of the eclipse shadow over the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
A map of the eclipse shadow over Southern Ontario.


The eclipse will reach its maximum in Toronto at 3:20pm local time. This map shows the path of the total eclipse over Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The shadow moves very fast. The maximum anywhere on this map occurs between 3:15pm and 3:25pm.

Most of the path shown here is reachable within a few hours drive from Toronto. But keep in mind that you are probably not the only one who is driving towards the central line of the eclipse on April 8th. Plan accordingly, especially if your trip includes a border crossing.

Eclipse glasses

If you are in Toronto on April 8th, you can not ever look directly at the sun! Because it will not be a total solar eclipse in Toronto, you need eclipse glasses to safely look at the sun at all times. Sunglasses, even if they are very dark, or other home made filters are not safe. If you travel to an area that will experience a total eclipse, then you can safely look at the sun for the few seconds/minutes that the sun is completely covered by the moon. It will be about as bright as a full moon.

You might be able to get eclipse glasses for free. For example, eclipse glasses are available for free from Toronto Public Libraries. If you are a student, staff, or faculty member at UTSC, then get one from the UTSC Library, DPES departmental office, or directly from me (Thursdays, 3:30pm - 4:30pm, SW504C). You can also purchase glasses from various distributors. Make sure that you don't get ripped off! Everything more than $3 or $4 per pair of glasses is a scam!

Image credit: Courtesy Mark Margolis / Rainbow Symphony
Image credit: Jay Anderson. Data: NASA. Eclipse track: Fred Espenak.

Bad news: clouds!

Alright, so you have made it out to a place where you can in principle see the total eclipse. I have some bad news for you: clouds! The map shows the average cloud cover in our area in April around the time of the eclipse. There is a 60% - 70% chance that there will be clouds. If there are clouds, it will still get very dark. However, you will not see the corona during totality which is, honestly, quite disappointing. Check the forecast for the day. You might be able to travel to an area with no clouds.

Other tips

Don't take pictures during the eclipse. Everything will be over very quickly! Just look at it and enjoy it. There will be millions of people taking pictures of the sun this day. Chances are, a lot of these pictures will be better than yours anyway.

Street lights might turn on. Go to an area where there are no street lights!

Similarly, don't stand on the side of a busy road. It's dangerous (because drivers will look at the sun) and you might find the headlight distracting.

Contact Professor Rein

E-mail: hanno.rein@utoronto.ca

Mastodon: https://botsin.space/@hannorein