City of Kingston shares approximate visitor counts during total solar eclipse

The sun completely covered by the moon on the afternoon of Monday, Apr. 8, 2024. Photo by Tim Forbes.

Less than 24 hours after the moon totally eclipsed the sun in the skies in the region, the City of Kingston shared some details of what occurred during this once-in-a-lifetime event in the community.

“Thank you to everyone who solar-brated the eclipse in Kingston with us. It was truly a day to remember and despite a few clouds, the sun, joy and community shone through,” the City said in the media release.

Forecasted cloud cover may have deterred “many of the anticipated day trip visitors,” the city noted. Estimates ahead of the event suggested anywhere from 70,000 to 500,000 people could have descended on the region to view the eclipse in totality (Kingstonist shared how the City said in came to these estimates in an article about the currently closed LaSalle Causeway here).

Despite some clouds, residents and visitors were still treated to an incredible display, and many gathered to experience this across Kingston. The City shared the following details:

  • Kingstonians and visitors viewed the rare solar spectacle safely. More than 170,000 pairs of eclipse glasses were distributed through partner agencies and hotels.
  • Local hotels welcomed approximately 10,000 guests. 
  • Approximately 20,000 people sought out the prime viewing locations around Kingston.
  • Grass Creek Park’s Total Eclipse in the Park boasted 1,500 revellers, who were treated to live music and entertainment. 
  • Digital guests took part in the day as well, with more than 50,000 views of the City of Kingston’s webcams, located at Breakwater Park, Confederation Basin, Richardson Beach and Springer Market Square

While the City closed and restricted roadways ahead of the anticipated large numbers of visitors to the area, the traffic did not cause concern throughout the day.

“Thank you to the community and our residents who helped by experiencing the eclipse from their neighbourhoods, this allowed us to reopen roads and resume service sooner and faster than planned,” said Brad Joyce, Commissioner of Infrastructure, Transportation and Emergency Management. “The reduction of daily vehicle travel was substantial and made it much easier to maintain emergency services, health service access and transit.” 

In the release, the City thanked its community partners including Kingston Police, Utilities Kingston, Queen’s University, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, Kingston Fire & Rescue, Tourism Kingston, Limestone District School Board, KFL&A Public Health, Frontenac Paramedics and Kingston Health Sciences Centre for helping to make this celestial event out of this world and safe.

With the eclipse over and the next one not happening in our region until 2399, you may be wondering what to do with your eclipse glasses – the City offered a few suggestions:

  • You could keep them as a souvenir.
  • Donate them! Organizations like Astronomers Without Borders collect used glasses to distribute to communities in need for future eclipses. Tourism Kingston’s Visitor Information Centre and Utilities Kingston are collecting gently used eclipse glasses at their offices. Find more info on where to donate in Kingstonist’s previous coverage here.
  • Recycle them by removing the lenses and putting the plastic in the trash and then recycle the remaining cardboard frames.

Share how you “solar-brated” with the City by posting your photos to social media and tagging the City of Kingston:

For our take on the day, and more eclipse photos, take a look at Kingston marks the 2024 solar eclipse.

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