Because the phenomena (sic) occurs near the magnetic poles, northern lights have been seen as far south as New Orleans in the western hemisphere, while similar locations in the east never experience the mysterious lights. However the best places to watch the lights (in North America) are in the northwestern parts of Canada, particularly the Yukon, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Alaska. (Ed’s note: They mean “Alaska and the northwestern parts of Canada . . .”) – Northern Lights Centre
In Edmonton in the winter I’ve often seen smudgy green clouds along the night-sky horizon that provoked the question, “Are those northern lights?” followed by slightly unsure acquiescence.
In Saskatoon one summer in the 1980s I saw great glorious twisting green ribbons across the whole night sky that provoked no question, only awe.
In the True North–Yellowknife, Cambridge Bay, Inuvik–I’ve never seen them, summer or winter, worse luck.
But they’re part of our sense of ourselves, I think, whether we’ve seen them, no matter where we’ve seen them, and even if we don’t have a photo, dagnab it. The good news is that many others have fabulous photos of them.
Some people even have photos of them from the International Space Station.
This is one of a series on Canadian national treasures – my sesquicentennial project. They reflect people (living and dead), places and things that I think are worth celebrating about our country, and are done in no order of precedence.