Your guide to the total solar eclipse in Kingston

By Visit Kingston

On April 8, parts of Mexico, the United States, and Canada will experience a total solar eclipse. The path of totality – where the Moon fully obscures the Sun – is only about 180 km wide and Kingston is in the sweet spot.

From safety and planning to special events and programming, prime viewing locations to food & drink specials, here’s everything you need to know about experiencing the total solar eclipse in Kingston.

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TL;RD – there’s lots of eclipse activities to enjoy in Kingston April 3 – 8! Plan ahead. Be prepared. Arrive early. And be safe. Transit is free April 8.

Total solar eclipse in Kingston webpage:

Mother putting on Kid's eclipse glasses

Safety first: how to watch the eclipse

As innocuous as a solar eclipse might sound, it represents a very real risk for your eyesight. The Sun, even when its light is dimmed by the Moon passing in front of it, can cause severe and irreversible damages to our eyes.

Here are some basic don’ts when it comes to viewing a solar eclipse:

  • Do not look directly at the Sun with the naked eye
  • Only use certified solar filters, solar telescopes, or eclipse glasses to view the solar eclipse directly
  • Do not use homemade equipment to look directly at the Sun
  • Do not use ordinary sunglasses – no matter how dark they are
  • Do not use homemade filters or welder’s glasses
  • Do not look at the Sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other type of equipment

The total phase of the solar eclipse (when the Moon fully obscures the Sun) provides the opportunity to view the eclipse without specialized eye protection. However, the tricky part is to know when to take off eclipse-viewing glasses or filters, and when to put them back on. The best way to know when totality begins and ends is to attend a viewing event where experts are present to help with the timing. When in doubt, leave eclipse-viewing glasses on at all times: this is especially true for children.

Learn more: Eye safety during the total solar eclipse in Kingston

Fort Henry

Where & when to watch

The solar eclipse will begin in Kingston at 2:09 pm and end at 4:34 pm. Totality, where the Moon fully obscures the Sun, will take place from 3:22 to 3:25 pm, lasting just more than three minutes.

There are 10+ official viewing locations in Kingston. Some, like Fort Henry and Grass Creek Park, will have programming and entertainment, as well as food & drink. Others, like Lake Ontario Park, the INVISTA Centre, and a mix of public and secondary schools across the city, will have basic amenities like washrooms available. Of course, there are many other spots to view the eclipse in Kingston. If you’re visiting friends and family, the best spot may be their backyard.

The Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy at Queen’s University is deploying Eclipse Ambassadors to all viewing locations to provide guidance on viewing the eclipse and answer questions.

See all viewing locations.

Eclipse Weekend at Fort Henry, 1 Fort Henry Dr

With activities running April 5 – 8, Fort Henry will offer special programming including self-guided tours featuring Fort Henry Guard at specific station points April 5 – 7. Programming April 5 – 8 is $10.

April 7 at 6 pm, the Fort presents an evening of discovery as they welcome Bob McDonald, renowned Canadian author, science journalist, and host of CBC Radio’s “Quirks & Quarks” podcast and Dr. Mark Richardson, Manager for Education and Public Outreach at the McDonald Institute at Queen’s University. Perspectives on a Planet with Bob McDonald is $5 or $34.99 for a book & admission combo.

On April 8, they will present an afternoon with guest speakers including Bob McDonald, local entertainment, children’s crafts and activities, an artisan market – plus the chance to view the eclipse from Fort Henry. Eclipse day access to Fort Henry is free but pre-registration is required.

Fort Henry is accessible via Kingston Transit, which is offering free rides on April 8.

Total Eclipse in the Park – Grass Creek Park, 2991 Highway 2

The viewing location at Grass Creek Park includes food & drink trucks such as Beavertails, Gino’s Pizza, Scoops, Fryway, Kona Ice and more; a beer tent hosted by Daft Brewing; STEM Camp Kingston; face painting; a drag performance by Tyffanie Morgan; and live music by Floydium and Atiari.

There is limited parking at Grass Creek Park: we recommend avoiding travelling through downtown Kingston. Instead, take the Joyceville exit off Highway 401 and continue on Joyceville Rd/Kingston 16 to Highway 2 to reach Grass Creek Park.

Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, 1641 Perth Rd

Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area will be open as a viewing area for the solar eclipse.

The gate fee will be waived and parking is first come, first served. The Conservation Area is a viewing location only; there will not be any planned events or guest speakers.

The Outdoor Centre will be open from 9 am to 4 pm for washrooms and a limited snack bar with hot and cold drinks, granola bars, chips, etc.

Getting to & around Kingston

The best way to enjoy all there is to see, do, taste, and experience in Kingston during the eclipse is to plan ahead, arrive early, and leave the car behind.

VIA Rail offers service to Kingston from Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa, as well as stops in between. We recommend beating the traffic to Kingston with the train and then using active and public transportation once you arrive.

Kingston’s downtown core is highly walkable, with many local cafés, shops, and restaurants within blocks of each other and close to nearby hotels. Kingston Transit offers daily service throughout the city. Use their trip planner to map your route.


Free transit April 8 – Kingston Transit will offer free rides all day on Monday April 8 to help reduce traffic congestion. Kingstonians and visitors alike are encouraged to take the bus and pack their patience, as schedules may vary.


Wherever you’re going on April 8, be sure to leave early. It will take much longer than usual to travel throughout the city. We strongly recommend arriving at viewing locations early and packing all essentials (snacks, water, sunscreen, bug spray, umbrella, warm clothing) for the day.


Special eclipse events: April 3 – 8

The days leading up to the total solar eclipse are packed with special events, activities, programming, and food & drink offers. It’s a great opportunity to visit Kingston ahead of the eclipse and enjoy a getaway in the Limestone City.

Jinsha: The Journey at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, April 2 – 7: Jinsha tells the poignant love story between Jin and Sha. Through beautiful music and stage presentation, it recreates the grand scenes of the ancient Shu capital 3,000 years ago.

Stoked Sauna Solar Challenge, April 4 – 7: book a regular Stoked Sauna Co. session, stay in the cold plunge for 3 minutes and 4 seconds, and win a pair of eclipse viewing glasses.

Glow Skincare + Spa, April 4 – 7: book a 60-minute facial at Glow and receive a free Alumier retinol eye gel (value $110). Mention ‘Eclipse’ in the comments when booking online.

The Sun, the Moon and Your Body at the Museum of Health Care, April 5 – 8: family-friendly activities that investigate beliefs, superstitions, and traditions about events like the solar eclipse on health and the body.

101 Ways to Experience an Eclipse at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, April 5, 6:30 pm: learn about the historical importance and mechanics of eclipses in this presentation from the Queen’s Department of Physics.

Art After Dark, April 5, 7 – 10 pm: downtown galleries and shops keep their doors open late for one vibrant evening to showcase and celebrate Kingston’s renowned art scene.

Ain’t No Sunshine: a musical celebration at Chalmers United Church, April 6, 7:30 pm: She Sings Women’s Choir presents a musical celebration of the eclipse. Featuring the Dave Barton Trio and cosmic images and commentary by Dr. Martin Duncan, Professor Emeritus, Queen’s Astronomy.

Sundial making at MacLachlan Woodworking Museum, April 6, 1 – 3 pm: kids aged 8–12, accompanied by an adult, are invited to a hands-on workshop to learn how to make a sundial, using both modern and heritage tools.

Horizon 360 at The Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning, April 6 – 7: HORIZON, a 20-minute, 360° film is a soaring visual symphony that places viewers in the centre of the action during an inspiring showcase of Canadian creative expression that unfolds from coast to coast to coast. Presented at the Malting Tower at the Tett Centre, this event is free but pre-registration is required.

Educational programming at Murney Tower, April 7, 10 am – 5 pm: Murney Tower Museum guided tours and solar-themed arts & crafts activities.

Eclipse Glow Flow at the Broom Factory, April 8, 7 – 8:30 pm: harness the energy of the eclipse with yoga led by Jo Castles with DJ Mat Almeida. Wear your glow-in-the-dark clothes: glow bracelets will be provided for this black-light practice.

Of course, a number of classic Kingston attractions will also be open for eclipse weekend, including Kingston Food Tours, Kingston Trolley Tours, The Haunted Walk, Ahoy Bike Rentals, Kingston Bike Tours, Improbable Escapes, and Sherlock’s Escapes.

Creative Kingston Walking Tours: explore Kingston’s vibrant music, film, and literary scenes with nine self-guided tours in downtown Kingston and nearby Queen’s University campus. The tours are free to access and available in English and French.

Atomica eclipse themed menu

Food & drink specials

What better way to celebrate the solar eclipse than with exceptional food and bevvies crafted by Kingston’s culinary masters? From craft beer to hand-crafted bites, restaurants, cafés, and breweries across the city are marking the occasion with festive events and specials.

Solar Eclipse Pancake Party at Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market, April 10 am – 2 pm: a lovely Sunday family feast! Enjoy a plate of Natasha’s Ukrainian crepes paired with Salmon River Sugar Bush maple syrup.

Eclipse Brunch at the Renaissance Supper Club, April 8 noon – 4:30 pm: enjoy a buffet brunch with eclipse-themed food and cocktails, then view the eclipse on the south patio with provided glasses.

From Black Hole Sun cocktails to Moon Beef Empanadas, a Total Eclipse Snow Cone to a Totality Tequila Sunrise, check out our “Where to enjoy celestial-inspired menus for the total solar eclipse” post to see all the out-of-this-world bites and bevvies.