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Way north in Canada at New Years?

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1. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 9y

GregW has indicated that this thread is about Canada

So, with two weeks off between Christmas and New Years, and nothing planned other than Christmas dinner, I suddenly got it in my head that I should go north and see the Northern Lights.

Poking around the internet, I find that nobody is running tours this time of year. Would it be completely mad to head up to Nunavut, NWT or Yukon this time of year? I know it'll be cold, but would I be able to at least find some stuff to do, specifically see the northern lights, dog sledding, snowmobilng and snow shoeing, or will it just be too dark and cold to reasonably expect to do any of those things?

Any far north experts out there?


2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5597 posts) 9y

Quoting GregW

So, with two weeks off between Christmas and New Years,

That would be a real challenge;)
Sorry for threadjacking

But I hope you find something Greg

3. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 9y

Sounds wonderful. Let us know if you find a way to do it - the northern lights are on my top 100 list. :)

Barring that, you can always come to Belfast!

4. Posted by mista2kool (Budding Member 40 posts) 9y

Nunavut is very expensive to get to. About 2000$ roundtrip from Ottawa and then you are in Iqaluit where there arent very many tours. Most people do outdoor sports in March and April.
I would recommend Yellowknife or Whitehorse which are much bigger cities.
The Northern Lights are cool, but I dont know which city sees it more. There is always the chance that you go up and not see them at all.
The lights have been seen as far south as Southern Ontario, so maybe you dont even need to go too far North. You can take a train to Churchill Manitoba and see Polar Bears and hope for a glimpse of the lights as well!!
Hope you go good with it!

5. Posted by outdooren (Full Member 86 posts) 9y

For sure get out to the Yukon or Yellowknife. Go to a place where there is a youth hostel and there should be other travellers there as well. Flights are pricey. This airline flies up north
You can also take the Greyhound, but be prepared for several days of bus travel, and only do this if you are already in the West, like in Edmonton or something. This can cost you 120CAD$ one way.
Also, in case you didn't already know, in the north at this time of year, there are only a few hours of daylight. So it's night time almost all of the time. And it is the reverse in the summer time.
I think you should go. If it were cheaper, I would hop on a plane today!

6. Posted by outdooren (Full Member 86 posts) 9y

Also, I live in Northern Ontario and have never caught a glimpse of the Northern Lights, I have a hard time believing they'd be visible in the south, so I wouldn't hold my breath on sighting them any time soon in Southern Ontario.

[ Edit: Edited on Dec 17, 2007, at 11:17 AM by outdooren ]

Post 7 was removed by a moderator
8. Posted by mista2kool (Budding Member 40 posts) 9y

Here is a link regarding the northern lights near Toronto:

Definitely rare.

I have also seen them first hand in Red Lake, so quite far north in Ontario.

9. Posted by Bogman (Budding Member 61 posts) 9y

I'm a former NWT resident so may have some helpful experience here. The place to go is Yellowknife. You can drive there from Edmonton or fly. I wouldn't recommend the route in from the west (via Fort Nelson and Fort Liard) in the winter. There are many outfitters there that cater mainly to the Japanese market. I would think that Christmas is not the best time to go as it is really cold and very dark. Most tourists going fro the northern lights do so in March. The outfitters even set up camps on the land north of Yellowknife to get away from the lights of the city. If you didn't want to pay an outfitter, then you can easily see the lights most evenings by wandering down to old town and walking out onto the frozen lake. Most of the northern lights toursits are young Japanese couples who think it is a good omen to conceive a baby under the northern lights (they do the same thing at the magnetic north pole further north, or did until it moved offshore).