Expect traffic jams and road closures for solar eclipse travellers to Niagara Falls, Ontario


Published March 25, 2024 at 2:00 pm

niagra solar eclipse traffic

Expect traffic jams, road closures and huge crowds for the total solar eclipse in Niagara Falls and across southern Ontario.

The crowds may even disrupt cell service.

Thousands of people are expected to descend on Niagara Falls for the eclipse on April 8, which could cause major traffic congestion. The Niagara Region is one of many southern Ontario communities, which will experience a total solar eclipse that day.

Niagara Falls and the Town of Fort Erie will experience a total solar eclipse around 3:18 p.m. on April 8.

And while Hamilton, Burlington, and communities such as Belleville and Kingston are also in the path of totality, Niagara Falls, as a tourist destination, is expected to get the most crowds. Niagara Falls hotels and Airbnbs are nearly fully booked with some asking for $10,000 a night.

A solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, saw millions of people travelling to areas in the United States that were part of the path of totality, Niagara Regional Police said in a press release.

“The millions of travellers resulted in significant traffic congestion and gridlock,” police said.

Traffic congestion is anticipated to start in the Niagara area Friday, April 5 and build until the time of the eclipse, police said. Following the eclipse, congestion may continue as visitors attempt to the leave Niagara area.  The congestion will affect many local Niagara roads and provincial highways, police added.

The additional traffic and gridlock could present a safety issue for first responders and as such, Niagara is preparing a safety plan.

The Niagara Parks Police Service and Niagara Regional Police Service are working together with local emergency services, municipalities and other stakeholders, “to develop and implement a robust and integrated safety plan to support the expected influx of people to the region and particularly Niagara Falls and Fort Erie,” Niagara Parks said in a press release today (March 25).

As part of this planning, a series of road closures will be in place throughout the day of the eclipse.

Solar Eclipse

The Niagara Parkway will be closed to vehicular traffic from Queen Street to Fraser Hill, beginning at 12 p.m. April 8 until midnight. This closure coincides with the concert in Queen Victoria Park that afternoon and evening and the fireworks planned for 10 p.m.

Clifton Hill from Victoria Avenue to Falls Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic beginning at 12 p.m. noon until midnight, along with Murray Street from the Niagara Parkway to Fallsview Boulevard.

There will be limited access to parking — people should contact businesses and properties within the road closure area for alternative access. Access to Niagara Parks’ Falls parking lot will continue from the south.

Road closures are also planned for the Town of Fort Erie on April 8, beginning at 8 a.m. The south Niagara Parkway (Niagara Boulevard) will be closed in both directions from Central Avenue to Dominion Road, as well as Dominion to Albert Street. The south Niagara Parkway remains closed from Netherby Road to Townline Road (detour in place), due to construction on the Black Creek Bridge.

All road closures will be at the discretion of the Niagara Parks Police Service and Niagara Regional Police Service and timing may be adjusted as required.

For those opting for public transit, Metrolinx is increasing service to Niagara Falls on April 8.

Niagara Parks is encouraging people to take public transit such as the WEGO Bus Service and GO Transit into Niagara Falls.

Niagara Parks’ WEGO Green Line will be rerouted during the road closures and will include a WEGO shuttle from Rapidsview to Table Rock. There is a GO and WEGO combination ticket available.

The Falls Incline Railway will operate on an extended schedule to transport people from the upper Fallsview area to Table Rock Centre.

niagara solar eclipse traffic

Those considering taking a boat to the Niagara Region to avoid traffic should note that Niagara Parks will be closing access to all public boat launches on its property on Monday, April 8.

The City of Niagara Falls Welland River (Chippawa) boat launch will also be closed to the public on Monday, April 8. Only emergency services will have access to the launch.

Niagara Parks suggests everyone bring their own ISO-certified viewing glasses to safely view the total solar eclipse. There may be a limited supply of glasses a some locations but they will likely go quickly.

As with any large event that brings high levels of visitation into a concentrated area, cell signal may be compromised.

If cell service is overwhelmed, debit and credit card pay systems may be unavailable – guests should plan to bring cash if needed.

People should also be prepared for the weather. Niagara Parks does not permit tents or shade structures of any kind throughout the Queen Victoria Park area (Clifton Hill to Kingsbridge Park).

More information on Niagara Parks safety tips can be found here and from the City of Niagara Falls here.

For more solar eclipse planning tips from the Town of Fort Erie, click here.

Lead photo by Kathy 

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