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Northern Lights at Caniapiscau

Fishkill, New York
posts: 170
reviews: 21
Northern Lights at Caniapiscau


I am planning a trip to Canada in January and really want to see the Northern Lights.

People on the Canada forum told me about Yukon and Alaska, but frankly, traveling to those places are beyond my budget.

I am looking to fly into either Boston or Buffalo and then take the bus across the border into Montreal or Toronto.

One of my friends told me about Caniapiscau, but it seems off the Northern Lights radar, although the official website depicts that as one of the highlights.

Could someone give me some more Northern Lights insight about that place?

Also, I figured that to get there I would first have to get to Labrador City, which I guess I can get a train from Sept-Iles for. But, I am confused as to how I can get to Sept-Iles from either Toronto or Montreal?


West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 56,114
reviews: 69
1. Re: Northern Lights at Caniapiscau

Hi Psychoanalyst;

Sept Isles is approx. 500 miles from Montreal, 840 miles from Toronto. From Sept Isles, Labrador City is additional 200 miles north, as the crow flies.

I would suggest flying from Montreal into Wabush Airport which is located just outside of Labrador City. (airport code YWK)

Best Regards

Mount Pearl...
posts: 52
reviews: 20
2. Re: Northern Lights at Caniapiscau

I'm slightly confused about the posting about Caniapiscau in the Lab City Forum. Caniapiscau is in Quebec. You can not easily drive from Lab City to Caniapiscau. You'd need to go south to Tadoussac, west through Chibougamou on the Route du Nord (partially gravel) to the James Bay Road, north almost to Radisson then east on the trans-taiga (all gravel, almost no services). That is no day trip and I'm not aware of any public regularly scheduled flights there. There's nothing there besides a hydro station. You can fly to La Grande (Radisson) which has a better chance of seeing the northern lights, but flying there or Lab City is not very inexpensive.

You can take the Intercar bus from Montreal to Sept Iles, connecting in Baie Comeau. It leaves daily at 6am and arrives in Sept Iles at 8:20pm. You can then take the train north the next morning (provided it is either Monday or Thursday morning) at 8am. The train goes to Emeril Jct which is a 45 minute drive from Lab City, and the train continues on further north to Schefferville. This would be the budget way to go but it will take longer of course. Once you see the price of airfare to Wabush I don't think you'll mind.

Note that we are just coming out of the bottom of the solar cycle, which means there is not much solar activity and your chances of seeing the northern lights are not as great as they will be in a couple of or few years. If this is going to be a once in a lifetime trip for you you might want to take that into consideration. Also it's better to head closer towards the magnetic north pole, not too close, just in that direction so west of Labrador is going to be better for aurora viewing. Churchill, Manitoba can be reached by Via Rail from Winnipeg and Winnipeg can be reached by bus from Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. The bus is 12 hours and costs $132 round trip. The train is 43 hours and costs about $330 round trip, more if you want a berth. A long journey but it's pretty budget for a trip to the subarctic complete with polar bears. Just another option to consider.





Southbury, CT
posts: 38
reviews: 32
3. Re: Northern Lights at Caniapiscau

I have a very realted question. I live in Connecticut, USA and would like to drive somewhere (budget) that would give me a very good chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

Labador City is (only) 28 hours of car travel. It looks to be a little further south than the suggested 60 degree latitutde, but I am wondering if Northern Lights can be seen from there. Or can a person drive north/northwest from Labador City?

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 56,114
reviews: 69
4. Re: Northern Lights at Caniapiscau

Hi wormula;

The Northern Lights (aurora borealis) are an atmospheric phenomenon, and very hard to predict. Research has shown that the auroral activity is cyclic, and peaks about every 11 years. The next peak period is 2013.

While a more northern location will be of some help in seeing them, there is never any guarantee. Areas that are not subject to “light pollution” are the best.

The most often times to see the Aurora is from September to October and from March to April. Usually the best time of night (on clear nights) is midnight local time.

For more information;



Best Regards

5. Re: Northern Lights at Caniapiscau

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