Dark Sky Preserve

North Frontenac Dark Sky Perserve

Photo Gallery: Dark Sky Pad will appear here on the public site.

North Frontenac has the darkest skies in Southern Ontario and on August 3, 2013 the Township became the first municipality in Canada to receive 'Dark Sky Preserve' status from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). 

The North Frontenac Dark Sky Pad and Observatory is one of the best places for stargazing in all of Ontario. It is adjacent to the helipad at 5816 Road 506, six kilometers south-west of Plevna, Ontario and just two hours from Ottawa and New York State.

Featuring the 16" Fred Lossing Telescope, this public space offers amenities like free parking, accessible washrooms and electrical service. Anyone can setup their telescope and enjoy the wonders of the night sky.

At organized events throughout the year, amateur astronomers are available to provide context to new and experienced stargazers.

Easily reached by millions of potential visitors from Southern Ontario, Eastern Quebec, Northern New York, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, come experience the beautiful night sky with us.

Photo Gallery: Astrophotography will appear here on the public site.

facebook logo

North Frontenac Dark Sky Pad (Observation Pad)

The Dark Sky Pad is a public space where anyone can setup their telescope and enjoy the dark skies. Amenities include parking, accessible washrooms, electrical service and picnic tables.

The pad is located at 5816 Road 506 just south of Plevna.

Pad Coordinates (44.91791, -76.93947)

View the Local Amenities Map for more information.

Annual Festival of Stars

Bring your family, telescopes binoculars for a weekend of fun that will be out of this world. This annual event promises to be filled with fun and some incredibly Dark Skies!

Come to enjoy seminars put on by local amateur astronomers, raffles, door prizes, and network with fellow astronomers and some of the darkest skies around.

For those without telescopes, you can still enjoy views through our Fred Lossing 16” telescope and our 16” Cave Instruments Newtonian reflector.

 

Please register (its FREE).

 

There is no camping on site but there are plenty of places to stay and eat so Book EARLY!

On site sales of pizza and drinks. 

Hydro available for charging batteries only.

For more information please visit the North Frontenac Dark Sky Preserve Facebook Page

Star Gazing Events

Check our events calendar for event updates. Events begin at sunset. In depth details will be posted on the Facebook page as the date gets closer. Feel free to use the observation pad at any time for your viewing pleasure.

All events are free. Everyone is welcome. Bring your binoculars and telescopes if you have them.

Contact the Economic Development Officer at edo@northfrontenac.ca, 613-479-2231 x236

 

FAQs

 

Planning Your Visit

When is the Dark Sky Pad open?
The Dark Sky Pad is a public space and open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
When is the Observatory open?
The Observatory featuring the 16-inch Fred Lossing telescope is open during all events. On other clear nights, there's a good chance our trained volunteers may have it open as well. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more details.
Is there a cost?
No! You can visit the pad for free anytime and all scheduled events are free of charge.
When is the best time to visit?
Any night with clear skies is a great night for stargazing but nights with a new moon are the best. View the Moon Phase Status to find out when the next new moon is. 
Do you offer private sky viewing experiences?
Unfortunately, we do not offer private sky viewing experiences at this time.
What should I bring?
Comfortable clothes, drinks, snacks, a reclining chair and a warm blanket and you're set.
Do you allow camping on-site?
Overnight camping is not permitted as the site is shared with a functional helicopter pad used by Ornge in the event of a medical emergency.
Where can I stay?
Please see our Local Amenities Map for information on local accommodation providers.
How are the bugs?
They're doing well, thank you for asking. Mosquitoes and Black Flies are most active in late May/June and they aren't very active later on in the night during the best viewing times. If you are sensitive to the bugs, bring bug spray and protective clothing.
At the Pad
Is there electricity?
Yes, an electrical outlet is located at the north side of the viewing pad. Please bring an appropriate extension cord if required.
Are campfires permitted?
Campfires are not permitted on the property.
Can I use a flashlight?
When stargazing, the only bright lights people should see are the ones in the dark skies. If you need to use a flashlight, please use the dimmest setting you can and avoid directing it at anyone stargazing or doing astral-imaging. If you have a red-lensed flashlight that works even better. 
Can I use a laser pointer?
Only members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) are permitted to direct lasers into the airspace above the Dark Sky Pad in accordance with the terms of the organization's authorization issued by the Minister of Transport.
Are there bears?
Although we are in bear country, it is extremely unlikely that you will encounter a black bear at the site especially during our popular events. Please visit the Province of Ontario's Bear Wise page for safety tips.

Other Stargazing and Astronomy Links

Visit the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Read Cottage Life's – The best night-sky views in Canada article.

Download Heavens Above Android Application.

EarthSky's annual Meteor Shower Guide.

View updates of the best nights to view the Aurora Borealis

Contact Us