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City of Brockville concerned about capacity for eclipse viewing

The city of Brockville continues preparations for the April 8 total solar eclipse, but is concerned about capacity issues at a viewing party on Blockhouse Island.

Brockville joins other cities in Ontario like Kingston, Cornwall and Niagara Falls, on what’s called the “path of totality,” meaning the moon will fully cover the sun for several minutes. Viewers in Ottawa will only see a partial eclipse.

The city is expecting an influx of visitors, something it says it’s prepared for, but precautions are necessary.

“We’re hopeful for a lot of people,” said Brockville city councillor Katherine Hobbs.

“That’s sort of the antithesis to this because we do want a lot of people to come and we are prepared for them to come. And we want them to have a really good time when they’re here.”

Blockhouse Island is just south of the Brockville City Hall and attracts tourists due to its location on the water. Events have been hosted there before, albeit with tickets being sold.

For the event on April 8, the city says it’s “impossible” to estimate how many people will converge to the area.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the city,” added Hobbs. “We’re really encouraging people to come here and we are prepared for them coming here.”

Brockville isn’t alone when it comes to preparing for thousands of visitors.

A few days ago, the city of Niagara Falls declared a state of emergency, due to an expected 1 million visitors for the eclipse. The city of Kingston said it is expecting half a million visitors.

Officials in Brockville are reminding residents that there are other options to view the eclipse.

Residents in the downtown area on Saturday said they’ll be staying away from the crowds.

“I think there’ll be too many people,” said June Lavery, who was out for a walk at Blockhouse Island.

“There will be kids running around. It’ll be noisy. I’m still a little COVID shy, I’ll be honest. So I just don’t want to be part of all that.”

The total solar eclipse in Brockville is expected to last for 2 minutes and 47 seconds, starting from 3:23:28 to 3:26:15 p.m.

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