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Ottawa Public Library to provide free solar eclipse glasses for residents


The Ottawa Public Library will be providing free solar eclipse glasses to residents in anticipation of a partial solar eclipse on April 8.

While supplies last, the glasses that provide proper protection for eclipse viewing will include a printed handout with safety instructions. Glasses are limited to two per household.

The City of Ottawa says it will launch the initiative on Thursday, March 28. All library branches will have total solar eclipse glasses available for the public, starting when branches open on Thursday. 

Officials say quantities of glasses are limited, so branches will run out before April 8.

A memo sent to the mayor and councillors on Wednesday says city staff are preparing for the rare solar event.

The city says it will not be hosting any solar eclipse viewing parties, as it will not be in the path of totality, where the moon will cover the entirety of the sun.

"Weather permitting, and while taking proper safety precautions, residents will be able to see the sun’s outer atmosphere, which is usually hidden by the bright face of the sun, and the sky will become dark, as if it were dawn or dusk," said the memo written by Kim Ayotte, the city's general manager of emergency and protective services.

A partial solar eclipse can only be viewed with special-purpose solar filters or "solar eclipse glasses" that comply with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. Viewing a partial solar eclipse without proper protection can cause eye damage or blindness.

Homemade eclipse glasses are not recommended and wearing regular sunglasses does not provide a sufficient level of protection, the city says.

The partial eclipse in Ottawa will begin on Monday, April 8 at 2:10 p.m. and end at 4:35 p.m. The darkest part of the partial eclipse will only last a few minutes at 3:25 p.m. The moon is expected to cover 98.87 per cent of the sun.

Eastern Ontario cities such as Kingston, Brockville and Cornwall will experience a total solar eclipse, where the entirety of the moon will cover the sun for several minutes. Solar glasses can only be removed during a total solar ellipse.

Over half a million people are expected in the city of Kingston to view the total solar eclipse. Queen's University and the Brockville Aquatarium will be distributing thousands of solar eclipse glasses. 

Ayotte says city services will continue as normal with a number of safety precautions.

"City staff will be following workplace safety guidance, such as moving to indoor programming for school-aged children or re-scheduling non-urgent outdoor work to avoid the approximate 2 p.m to 5 p.m window of the partial eclipse in Ottawa," Ayotte said.

Ayotte says residents may want to adjust their activities on April 8 to avoid temptation to have a quick glance at the sun without the use of a protective filter.

Ottawa Public Health has developed a special page on their website with health and safety recommendations for residents, as well as links to additional information.

CTV News Ottawa will have special live coverage of Monday's solar eclipse.

Watch from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on April 8. You can also tune in to Newstalk 580 CFRA for continuing coverage.

CTV News will have coverage from Kingston, Brockville, Ottawa and the Niagara Region. Top Stories

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