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Kingston, Ont. preparing for total solar eclipse


On April 8, for the first time in nearly 700 years, the path of a total solar eclipse will pass right over Kingston.

The impending event has created a lot of excitement in the Limestone City, where Visit Kingston is gearing up to make a weekend of it.

“We are one of the premiere destinations in Canada to see this once-in-a-lifetime natural event,” Visit Kingston destination and development manager Ashley Bradshaw said.

As such, they’re going big.

Tourism Kingston has rolled out merchandise, a dedicated web page complete with a map of 11 places to watch and more, all in preparation for the eclipse.

“We have our partners with the Kingston Destination Group; their trollies and cruises will be open. A special solar eclipse cruise on April 8 will put you out on the water during that total darkness period,” she said.

According to Bradshaw, people are clamouring to get to the city to watch, with hotel rooms booking up with tourists from as far away as Japan.

“From our hotel data, we’ve seen an 80 to 90 per cent sold occupancy for smaller properties and about 70 to 100 per cent in our larger properties,” Bradshaw said.

For hotel owners like Sean Billing, who owns the Frontenac Club, it’s a good boost to the industry in what is typically a slower time of year.

“We’ve got sort of half of our regulars who are interested in astronomy or interested in this kind of event and then the other half are people who I don’t think would have stayed with us save for the total eclipse being right over Kingston,” said Billing, who is hosting an event on the rooftop patio at the Frontenac Club.

Of course, if you want to see it for yourself, you’ll need to get your hands on a special pair of glasses to protect your eyes.

At the Visitor Information Centre, more than 12,000 pairs have already been sold to people like Donna Kearney.

“It hasn’t happened in many years. I’m always excited to do things with my grandchildren and so that’s why I’m picking up all of the pairs that I can here today for my family,” Kearney said.


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