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Eclipse glasses are hard to find in South Simcoe — but you've got alternatives

Don't buy a shady pair online, when local libraries and the public school board have tips for experiencing the April 8 solar phenomenon safely
A solar eclipse is coming to South Simcoe April 8.

Looking for inexpensive solar eclipse glasses but hesitant to purchase them from Amazon, Temu or somewhere else online? The sun is setting on your chances of snagging a pair before April 8.

And alas, there doesn't appear to be many local options for getting safe, free spectacles. 

However, both the Bradford and Innisfil libraries are offering ways to keep your eyes safe during the Monday afternoon phenomenon. 

“We unfortunately did not fall into the catchment areas of the universities and other institutions that were able to give out free eclipse viewing glasses,” said Kathryn Schoutsen, the Innisfil ideaLAB and Library’s community development and advocacy director. 

The Innisfil library will run a special edition of Imagination Station on Saturday, April 6, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., where participants will get to make their own pinhole camera that can be used for safe, indirect eclipse observation. There is no registration required. However, supplies are limited so one per family will be encouraged. 

Staff are also hosting a similar program for seniors today, but registration is full, Schoutsen said. 

Bradford Library representatives, meanwhile, are urging residents to visit the Canadian Association of Optometrists, City of Toronto, Niagara Region and County of Lambton websites for more safety information. They could also view NASA's livestream of the event.   

“The library is not giving out eclipse glasses,” library cultural services manager David di Giovanni said. 

If you still intend to buy glasses, check that they meet international standard ISO 12312-2 for safe viewing. You'll also need a proper solar filter for taking pictures with a camera, he said. 

“Make sure the glasses are not damaged or scratched before use,” di Giovanni said. “Sunglasses, even those with a very dark tint, are not sufficient protection."    

The Simcoe County District School Board has scheduled a PA day for elementary students on Monday, while secondary students will be home by early afternoon — so the board won’t be giving away glasses, either, confirmed communications manager Sarah Kekewich.

However, the board does have a tip sheet posted to its website, which includes instructions for making a solar eclipse projector in class. And there’s further information available for staff through the board’s online teaching portal to help educate students. 

“Never look at the sun with the unaided eye, including during an eclipse,” the board said in the post. “Light from the Sun will injure your eyes and could damage your eyesight forever. Not even sunglasses are sufficient in protecting your eyes.”

Also, the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board will not be handing out glasses because it has made April 8 a PD day for both its elementary and secondary students, communications manager Pauline Stevenson said. 

Since Simcoe County is not in the path of totality, we’ll experience a partial eclipse, meaning a sliver of the sun remains visible. According to, partial coverage in Innisfil Heights starts at 2:05 p.m. and ends two hours and 26 minutes later, with the eclipse at its maximum (nearly 98 per cent coverage) set for 3:19 p.m. 

The next total eclipse with a path through Ontario will happen in 2106, the public board said.

— With files from Jessica Owen

Chris Simon

About the Author: Chris Simon

Chris Simon is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications throughout Simcoe County and York Region. He is the current Editor of BradfordToday and InnisfilToday and has about two decades of experience in the sector
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