Experiencing the boreal nights through the glow of the Northern Lights means experiencing a completely different night to the ones we are used to in our urbanised world. Seeing the aurora borealis brings about a wide range of emotions. But where do you see the Northern Lights on your trip to Canada?
Some scream, some cry, some remain lost for words in the face of the dancing colours. However, everyone will try their best to chase the Northern Nights, to experience this magic again and again. Blowing celestial migrations, fleeting ballets of particles in the wind, intense green wisps that burn in the sky, rolling like waves, the Northern Lights have always fascinated, feeding the imagination of Inuit peoples. The Northern Lights are the most common, intense, and easiest to see in Canada.
The rugged landscapes, woods and immense lakes that follow one another endlessly, with woodcutting camps , lands of explorers, gold and diamond miners, trappers and fur traders, the Northwest Territories lie just below the auroral oval. The terrain is flat, and Yellowknife receives almost no rainfall , which means that the cloudless night skies are perfectly clear for viewing the Northern Lights. All these factors make the Northwest Territories the best place in the world to see the Northern Lights. Here, the beauty of the sky, with its wide-open Milky Way and dancing Northern Lights, compensates for the biting cold. The Northern Lights are particularly spectacular in winter, when they stand out against the whiteness of the frozen landscape.
It's a world of harsh and imposing landscapes, immense skies, coniferous, birch and black poplar forests, with highlands and wide valleys as well as enormous, fish-filled lakes with turquoise waters. Today, 80% of Yukon is undeveloped and uninhabited, with 32,000 inhabitants in an area as big as France. Whitehorse, the capital, has a population of 22,000; the second largest city, Dawson City, has a population of 2,000. There are significantly more animals: 200,000 caribou, 10,000 black bears, 7,000 grizzly bears and 5,000 wolves. This unknown land, with its arctic tundra and snow forests, is the ultimate frontier. Enjoy a complete change of scenery with snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling and nights under the Northern Lights in a yurt.
Alberta is home to some of Earth's last remaining wilderness areas of elk, caribou, black bears and white-tailed deer and humans are only tolerated. The largest of the Rocky Mountain Parks, Jasper is also one of the largest starry sky reserves in the world – here the total absence of light pollution is particularly great for viewing the Northern Lights. The University of Athabasca's geophysical observation base, which studies the magnetic effect of the Northern Lights on Earth, is located in northern Alberta. It is also here that amateur photographers have observed a new kind of Northern Lights called Steve, which intrigues scientists.
Cover photo: Sean Scott/Commission canadienne du tourisme