Contrary to popular belief, one doesn't need to book a flight to Greenland, Iceland, or Alaska in order to witness the famous northern lights, AKA the aurora borealis. While these countries do give a spectacular and other-worldly view of the magnetic solar phenomena, they're not the only places in the Northern hemisphere from which viewers can take in all the colors of the night. Canada has not one but many viewing places from which the northern lights can be taken in, and while not all are easily accessible, viewers would be hard-pressed to find locations as good as these.
For starters, northern lights viewers must scout out a location that's devoid of other lights which are surprisingly easy to find in the northernmost parts of Canada. Secondly, these remote locations must be relatively close to the auroral oval, which is the round dome-like area at the top of the North Pole around which the lights can be seen, as illustrated by meteorologists over at NOAA. Of the locations that fall under those categories, these are the best vantage points by which to see neon lights dancing around the sky.
Many might recognize Yellowknife from the show Ice Road Truckers, in which the truckers traverse dangerous and risky terrain in order to make deliveries to the Northwest Territories. Of course, Yellowknife is also a well-known stop thanks to the fact that it's also the capital of the said Territories. With that being said, it's surprisingly accessible as there are planes that fly into Yellowknife. It's accessible via car as well, but this can get tricky during the snowy months. According to Be My Travel Muse, the northern lights can be seen in Yellowknife about 65% of the year, making it a bigtime location to witness them in person. The best time to see the lights is from August to about the middle of April.
Interestingly enough, Churchill is also home to just as many polar bears as humans. It's not referred to as the 'Polar Bear Capital of the World' for no reason and this is just one more thing to add to the list of visitors who intend to catch a flight there. Manitoba is known for its northern lights viewing, and heading out there during the winter months is the best option for both catching the aurora borealis as well as avoiding the crowds. Churchill is an interesting town aside from the northern lights and for those who are also interested in polar bear activity, the bears are on the move between October and November.
Jasper is home to a national park that's just as beautiful as Banff (and only about four hours from it) but it's also a great place to catch the northern lights. In terms of larger towns and amenities, Jasper is probably the most comfortable for those who aren't keen on a remote location, although it's not exactly a city - far from it. Jasper is still considered to be a small town but it's also home to the second-biggest Dark Sky Preserve, which means northern lights fans will be in a prime spot to witness the sky's greatest light show. Visiting Jasper anywhere from September to about the middle of May will be rewarding for travelers in seek of the aurora borealis.
In Whitehorse, the northern lights make an appearance about 70% of the year which puts it pretty high on the 'good chance of a light show' list. However, visitors should be aware of the fact that Whitehorse is a city in Yukon with a decent-sized population, which means it's necessary to go to the outskirts where it's dark in order to see the lights in their full array. Those who are very dedicated to the northern lights can find the Northern Lights Centre about five hours from the city, and here they can learn even more about the aurora borealis and catch a glimpse at the magic first-hand.
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
For the ultimate in northern lights viewing, Prince Albert is the place to be. The northern lights can be seen throughout the entire year here, although peak season is anywhere from August to December, as many people visit to witness the meteor showers that are happening at the same time as the aurora borealis. Prince Albert National Park is the most popular location for witnessing the northern lights and is easily accessible. According to Be My Travel Muse, Prince Albert has been nicknamed 'Land of Living Skies.'