Preparing to safely experience Welland’s total solar eclipse

On April 8, residents and visitors in Welland will experience an historic total eclipse of the sun, beginning at 2:04 p.m. and ending by 4:31 p.m.

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and earth and its shadow completely covers the sun. Areas where this takes place are said to be in the path of totality, with the sky darkening as it would at dusk. In Welland, this will occur at 3:18 p.m. and last for nearly four minutes. 

The City of Welland is encouraging everyone to consider safety while planning to view the eclipse. If individuals can see the sky from their residence or a nearby park, staying close to home is recommended. For those wishing to experience the event at a community viewing location, Rec Rentals @ the Docks, the Welland International Flatwater Centre, and the Welland Stadium are the City’s designated sites and people are encouraged to go to the location nearest their home. Wherever people choose to see this spectacle, walking is suggested to reduce the expected influx of traffic and congestion.

“We’re hoping that all Welland residents will enjoy the solar eclipse in a safe way, whether from the comfort of home, in a neighbourhood park, or at one of our viewing locations. Roads are expected to be busy, so please keep this in mind when choosing the best location and be sure to wear the correct eye protection.”

Jessica Ruddell, director of community services

Looking at an eclipse without specialized eye protection is unsafe and can cause eyesight damage. The safest way to view the eclipse is with ISO-certified eclipse glasses; the City purchased 2,000 pairs and will begin handing them out on Monday, March 25. 

The free glasses will be available at City Hall and the Welland Community Centre, with a limit of four pairs per person on a first come, first served basis. 

The Niagara Centre YMCA and all Welland Public Library branches will also be distributing free eclipse glasses; a valid library card is required when picking them up at any of the library’s locations. 

Ensuring the safety and well-being of residents and visitors is the City’s top priority, and Welland Fire and Emergency Services have been planning for contingencies with Niagara’s other emergency response teams.

“If people are viewing the eclipse with the recommended glasses, they can safely enjoy this rare celestial event with confidence,” said Fire Chief Adam Eckhart.

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