7 of the Best Places to See the Northern Lights in Canada

The Aurora Borealis appears over northern Canada in the winter. Here's where to spot it

Growing up, I thought everyone saw the Northern Lights.

Like plugging in my car’s battery so it didn’t freeze overnight or transitioning to my parka in October, the Aurora Borealis was just another part of winter in Alberta.

It wasn’t until I moved to Vancouver that I realized how rare and wonderful the lime-green light displays really are.

If you’re on the hunt for the Northern Lights this winter, February is one of the best months to see them in their full, colourful glory. Here are seven places you might just find the Aurora this winter:


1. Yellowknife

Northwest Territories

Travel north to the shores of Great Slave Lake and you’ll find Yellowknife. Capital city of the Northwest Territories and the government hub of the north, Yellowknife is quaint, colourful and a prime destination for Aurora watching. You don’t even have to leave the “city” to see them—climb the Bush Pilots Monument after midnight, sing to the skies and wait for the show to begin.


2. Churchill


If the polar bear sightings aren’t enough of a lure, the inky skies that burst into colour like a jade-green projection screen should be. Churchill sits on the edge of Hudson Bay, close to barren, reinforced tundra and the dividing line between Nunavut and Manitoba. The town’s northernly exposure at the mouth of the Churchill River welcomes whales in summer and the Aurora in winter.


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3. Whitehorse


Pan for gold by day and bask beneath the collision of electrically charged particles by night in the capital of the Yukon. Whitehorse is settled between basalt cliffs of Miles Canyon and the caerulean Yukon River. For the ultimate experience, book the six-night, seven-day “Best of Yukon’s Aurora” package, which includes photo guidance and a half-day dog sledding adventure.


4. Jasper


Your chances for witnessing a specular light display are high in these dark skies. At 4,250 square miles, Jasper National Park boasts the second largest dark sky preserve in the world. Take in a day on the slopes at Marmot Basin, soak in an outdoor hot tub at your quaint hotel and then drive out of town towards Malgine Lake, searching for neon streaks of colour above the jagged Rocky Mountains.


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5. Thunder Bay 


In Thunder Bay, you can find horizonless views from the Terry Fox Memorial and Mount McKay Scenic Lookout. But for the best chance to see the Northern Lights, travel further along the shores of Lake Superior to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park or Pukaskwa National Park. If the Aurora makes an appearance, you’ll be treated to eerie reflections on the water.

6. Iqaluit


The natural phenomenon that creates ribbons of green, white and purple spinning through the sky outdo even the stars in Nunavut. Temperatures will be well below freezing in winter, but the lights will be warm and bright. You might not even notice the cold! (Okay, you probably will. Bundle up!)

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7. Dawson Creek

British Columbia

Curtains of light flutter across the sky in Northern BC. With a college literally named after them, the Northern Lights are as at home in the Peace Country region as I am. Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway is an appropriate stop to hike, ski, fish, bird and catch an Aurora light display in all its fluorescent glory.

Have you seen the Aurora Borealis in Canada?

Tell us about it!

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