Official Tourism Website of Bruce County, Ontario, Canada
Wonders of the Night
The night is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in nature. In the vast darkness, a tapestry of stars, planets and distant galaxies reveal the wonders of the universe and connect us to our past. With nightfall, a hidden and mysterious world awakens: fireflies dance in the shadows; frogs serenade one another; nocturnal flowers bloom; and birds, guided by the stars, journey over the continent. The darkness of night has been an important part of our culture and is vital to the health of the environment and ourselves.
The importance of night goes beyond seeing the stars. Nearly half of nature’s plants and animals only bloom or come out at night and these nocturnal creatures depend on darkness for navigation, mating, finding food and hiding from predators. Seasonal changes in the length of day and night provide cues for plants to flower, for trees to shed their leaves, for frogs to call their mates, and for birds to begin their migrations. The darkness of night is an essential part of their habitat. Like other animals, humans have a biological clock which is regulated by the natural cycle of light and darkness. Researchers are only beginning to understand the negative effects of excessive night light on human health.
A Vanishing Night Sky
For the first time in human history, a star-filled night sky has vanished for most people on our planet. The luminous glow of light pollution has obscured our view and now over 80% of North Americans can no longer see the Milky Way. Although outdoor lighting is important, it’s excessive and inappropriate use has created a night sky in which true darkness never comes, causing unforeseen impacts for nature and ourselves. By lighting up the sky we waste energy and lose one of the world’s most natural and cultural treasures.
Our Dark Sky Community
The Bruce Peninsula has some of the darkest skies in southern Ontario. This is a place where the Milky Way blankets the sky from horizon to horizon and where the natural rhythm of darkness and light is preserved, creating healthy habitats for wildlife and people alike. The Northern Bruce Peninsula is a refuge for dark skies and a place to experience the natural and cultural wonders of night. Recognizing the ecological and cultural importance of dark skies, our community has worked together for over a decade to preserve them.