A dark-sky preserve is an area, usually surrounding a park or observatory, that restricts artificial light pollution.– Wikipedia
Is Sky-Watching one of your hobbies and are you longing to visit places like Yellowknife in NWT and Whitehorse in Yukon which are supposedly the best places to see the northern lights in Canada? Don’t let the traffic and pollution of Toronto mislead you into thinking that there is no place nearby where you can get a glimpse of the lights.
Torrance Barrens is a dark sky preserve located, just two hours outside of Toronto, in the district municipality of Muskoka. The light pollution in GTA and it’s surrounding cities makes it tough for us to see stars even if the weather network were to predict a clear sky. Hencewhy, Torrance Barrens was created in 1997. According to wikipedia, it is notable as the first dark sky preserve in Canada for it’s geological and environmental features.
A gallery of pictures taken by @jayj_sidhu
This conservation reserve is a great spot to enjoy the splendid night skies. It is pitch black and all you see is millions of stars above you. No street lights, cottage lights or bright signs are present in this area to disturb the aura. It is magical when you look up and get to witness the lights of Milky Way, constellations and even planets (rings of Saturn and cloudy banks of Jupiter) of the galaxy. All visible to the naked eye. Some say you might even be able to see the Andromeda Galaxy from here. If you keep a track of the weather and clear sky chart, you can get lucky as people have said to observe the northern lights from this preserve.
Alongside the star-gazing, limited camping is allowed at this site without any fees. This conservation area is unique for it’s rocky surfaces and low lying vegetation which provides us with a panoramic view of the sky. There is a lake near the park too. It also has a few hiking trails that are well maintained by the authorities. I would say bring your camera and binoculars if you want to fully enjoy this experience. Parking is however limited so I’d recommend getting there as early as you can. From what I’ve heard it gets really busy in summers.
Here are also a few pictures of the magnificent Torrance Barrens, taken in summer, by some amazing artists :
Fun Fact: It was cold and although it was beautiful to visit the preserve in winters, I’d suggest going in Summers.. I am going to patiently wait for May now. Much love