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Mayor of Niagara Falls expects millions of visitors to attend the solar eclipse

Mayor of Niagara Falls expects millions of visitors to attend the solar eclipse

The chance to see a natural celestial spectacle along with one of the Seven Wonders of North America is expected to draw about a million people to Niagara Falls, Ontario, for next month's solar eclipse, the city's mayor said Saturday, urging community members to prepare. For the largest influx of tourists in local history.

Jim Diodati says “all hands on deck” in all branches of government, and first responders are helping the popular southern Ontario city, known for its waterfalls, prepare for something they never had to plan for on April 8: a total solar eclipse.

“Seeing the great natural wonder of our planet, Niagara Falls, with one of the most amazing celestial events in the universe, a total solar eclipse, in the same place, at the same time, is a magical experience and people are drawn to it,” Mr. Diodati explained in a phone interview.

“Then, right after, go get some of the food and drinks that the locals eat, taste it all and be part of an authentic and unique experience that only Mother Nature can provide.”

This rare eclipse is expected to be seen for the first time in Mexico at around 11:07 a.m. Pacific time, when the moon moves between the Earth and the sun before moving towards parts of southern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Partial shade is expected in many areas of southern Ontario, while observers in Niagara Falls — as well as the neighboring communities of Hamilton and Grimsby — can expect total darkness for about four minutes between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET.

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Astronomy experts said that the eclipse is unique because of the complete darkness and the ability to see the light rays emanating from the darkened sun, which would otherwise be invisible due to the blinding brightness of the eclipse.

Diodati announced that the Niagara Region has declared a state of emergency so residents and visitors can prepare for traffic and make sure they have eclipse glasses, which are necessary to safely observe the eclipse, even partially, without risking eye damage.

“Make sure to fill your car with gasoline because the roads will be closed,” the mayor said. Charge your devices. If you need medicine, bring it with water.”

The mayor also encouraged people to travel to the area by train if possible.

He said the crowds of visitors — expected to include scientists from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency — are expected to be so large that the majority of the city's hotels are booked and people are now renting out their trails and parks to those who want them. Camp before the big day.

The opportunity to break records

Diodati noted that the last time the city saw the largest group of visitors was in 2012, when Nik Wallenda made history by crossing Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

We had about 150,000 people that day. It was unbelievable. For me it was the biggest event I have ever organised, and we still talk about it 12 years later. I can't imagine what we'll say about the eclipse. This event would make that person pale in comparison. “

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Mayor Diodati added that Guinness World Records staff were also invited to the event.

“We will try to break the world record for the largest number of people wearing an identical sundress,” the city mayor said, adding that the costumes will be distributed to thousands of people who will travel on the popular Hornblower Niagara City Cruises ship over the weekend. eclipse.

He also noted that drones, helicopters and a group of first responders are expected to roam the city, and will be positioned near the stage for the concert that will be held next to the falls. The Niagara Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to play music while the audience is plunged into darkness.

After the eclipse ended, the city invited Canadian bands to entertain the crowd, a trick security officials learned to help manage crowds.

“Everyone is going straight to their cars, to casinos, to hotels, to restaurants, and we don't want it to happen all at once. So, by having groups, we hope it will have a mitigating effect and people will gradually move towards their cars, avoiding traffic jams.”

Diodati says the city also called on internet companies to increase bandwidth near the falls so people can stay in touch or call their loved ones to enjoy the moment with them.

“It's going to be really cool,” he said excitedly. But I just want people to know to be prepared, to be self-sufficient, to bring everything they need for the day and to be patient.

With archives from Hina Alam

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