Eclipse viewing parties in Quebec are coming to a path of totality near you

Upcoming eclipse's path of totality is 14,700 km long, but just 200 km wide

Across southern Quebec, there are eclipse viewing events planned so the public can come together to experience the rare celestial event on April 8.

Below you will find a list of some of the events planned along the eclipse's path of totality — the track along which the moon's shadow falls on Earth while the moon blocks the sun.

But before we get into that, let's first explain the importance of being in the right location to view the eclipse because, even if the sky is clear, what you see will depend on where you are.

The upcoming eclipse's path of totality is long, stretching 14,700 kilometres from western Mexico to Newfoundland, but it's a mere 200 kilometres wide.

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HubPage - Solar Eclipse - Path

That means only those in that path will experience total darkness, while the rest, if anything, will see a partial eclipse.

Curious if you'll be in the path of totality? This website explains what to expect based on your location.

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Now, let's discuss what's happening in a municipality near you.


Montreal is hosting a free viewing event at Parc Jean-Drapeau because it provides an ideal eclipse-watching area, with many uninterrupted vantage points to see the sun.

Experts from the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium and Espace pour la vie will be on site, answering questions and handing out 150,000 eclipse glasses for safe viewing. The festivities begin at 11 a.m., with music, food trucks and a sugar shack.

The Cirque du Soleil will also be hosting an event in front of the Montreal Science Centre in the Old Port. Activities there start at 1 p.m. with eclipse glasses being handed out.

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HubPage - Solar Eclipse - Timetable1

There will be scientific activities from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. There will be performances by Cirque du Soleil and Science Centre staffers will be on hand to delve into eclipse science.

The Trottier Space Institute at McGill University is hosting a viewing party and eclipse fair on campus in the lower field next to the Roddick Gates (859 Sherbrooke Street West).

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The event starts at 1 p.m., and everybody is welcome. There will be hands-on activities, demos and booths for all ages to explore the science behind the eclipse. Free eclipse glasses will be available there as well.


Saint-Georges, Que. is well situated for those wanting to observe the eclipse just 100 kilometres south of Quebec City.

The total eclipse there will last about two minutes and 31 seconds.

Alongside the Saint-Georges astronomy club, the Mont-Cosmos observatory and students from Université Laval's astrophysics research group, Quebec's federation of amateur astronomers is organizing an observation site just outside the Carrefour Saint-Georges.

The federation says they will distribute eclipse glasses free of charge.

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Eastern Townships

The federation of amateur astronomers will also host an event starting at 2:30 p.m. at the Campus Germain-Désourdy park in Bromont, Que.

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In Mont-Mégantic provincial park, Astrolab will be hosting a viewing party with a show, school presentations and other programming, which will be announced here.

Sherbrooke's Bishop's University is welcoming the surrounding community to view the eclipse from Coulter Field, with the event starting at 1 p.m. Guests who need glasses must register in advance.

HubPage - Solar Eclipse - Explainer

The Sherbrooke Nature and Science Museum is hosting an event at the Maison de l'eau in Parc Lucien-Blanchard on April 8. The event starts at 1 p.m., and participants should bring their own glasses. Registration is required, and the event may be sold out.

With just a few weeks left of preparation, Robert Elhen, director and vice-president of the Lac-Brome Men's Shed, says things are ramping up.

The community organization, which provides companionship and support for senior men, will host a viewing party in Lions park in Knowlton, Que., with a food truck, coffee and music. Eclipse glasses will be available with the help of locals who are selling the glasses across the Eastern Townships.

Elhen said it's been months of preparation.

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"We can fit the whole community here," said Elhen. "We want to make sure that they don't miss out on this opportunity because in my lifetime, it's going to be the last one. I don't think I'm going to see another one."

This article, written by Rachel Watts, was originally published for CBC News.