Aurora Borealis Weekend

The aurora borealis, also called the northern lights, as seen from Gordon’s Park on Manitoulin Island. Aurora is named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas. photo by Dieter Lig
Send off the summer in spectacular fashion on Manitoulin Island with Gordon’s Park’s Aurora Borealis Weekend this September 7th-10th! As the nights grow longer, chances of being able to see the flickering dance of the Northern Lights grows, and there’s no better place to watch for them than at Gordon’s Park. Observe from the park’s RASC designated Dark Sky Preserve, which boasts some of the darkest skies in Ontario, no light pollution, and 360 degree horizon-to-horizon viewing.
This wonderful weekend event begins on Friday, September 7th, with a wine and cheese welcome to get into the spirit of the weekend and get to know the other participants. Then join a park interpreter in the Dark Sky Preserve for a public astronomy session with a laser guided sky tour. Learn about the stars, planets, constellations, and of course, the Northern Lights, as well as how to read a planisphere and tricks for viewing with the naked eye. Follow a high powered laser pointer that reaches right up to the sky to accurately find constellations, and take a look through the park’s 8” Dobsonian telescope at a variety of space objects.
Saturday, September 8th, enjoy the luxury of sleeping in and wake up to the birds chirping in the light of the new day. Take the opportunity to enjoy the park amenities, such as our Nature Centre or hiking trails. For the adventurous who want to roam the island, the park provides “Rita’s Picks”, a map of the island that denotes attractions and points of interest around the different communities. In the evening, enjoy a delicious potluck supper, followed by another night of stargazing in the Dark Sky Preserve, as well as another spectacular laser guided sky tour.
Sunday, September 9th, take the day to enjoy what interests you. Further explore the park, de-stress with some mini-putt that winds its way through a natural cedar grove, or join in a social game of horseshoes or badminton before gathering for our expert instructed workshop Photographing the Night Sky led by Peter Baumgarten. Learn how to take those amazing pictures of the night sky and Auroras that you see online.
Not looking to spend the night, but want to enjoy some spectacular stargazing? The evening public astronomy sessions on September 7th, 8th, and 9th are open to the public!
Aurora Borealis Weekend registration includes all events of the day and camping in the Dark Sky Preserve. Also available are optional accommodations such as the Bed and Breakfast, tipis, camping cabins, Stargazing Cabin, and Milky Way Bunkie.
Please call 705-859-2470 to register. For more information, visit our website, or send us an email at
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