Eclipse Season and Capitalism

Charlene Norman
3 min readApr 8, 2024

This week, I thought I’d share the inside view of some of the things happening here in what will be the centre of the (Ontario, Canada) universe for all things Eclipse. This region, known as Niagara, my own backyard, has gone completely bonkers.

I live twenty minutes away from the world’s eighth wonder. Niagara Falls has a regular population of around 89,000. On a hot, muggy, good summer day, there might be 100,000 visitors running around the city. On the day of the eclipse, there are expectations that at least a million people will descend on (just) Niagara Falls. 100,000 people gums up the flow of traffic. I can’t imagine what ten times that number will be.

Two weeks ago, the hotel, motel and Airbnb vacancy rate was hovering around 2%. What normally would have cost $100 a night had climbed to just over $1,000. Whatever the x factor used in the hotels is generally embraced and used for Ubers, meals, entertainment and pretty much everything else. Coming into the region will be hugely expensive for what might be a few hours of scientific bliss.

The local radio stations hype this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence every 30 minutes. It gets rather monotonous listening to a cheesy baritone advert extolling the virtues of a natural phenomenon in the style of a Barnum Brothers’ ringleader.

Barkeeps are busy everywhere creating new libations — with eclipse themes. And yes, indeed, some restaurants have also entered that arena. Truthfully, I have not gone shopping to see what T-shirts, hoodies, and made-in-China trinkets await.

Logistics and security are at the forefront of all local transportation, including buses and police. Everyone is on high alert, whether it is provincial trains, municipal buses, specialty buses, travel destination buses, or wine tour vans and buses. Yes, the schools are all closed for the day. And yes, some buses plan a 15- or 20-minute full stop while the sun and the moon dance together. I have yet to meet anyone local who wants to be anywhere near the Falls on that day.

In the area known as Fort Erie (population 35,000), there are several boat clubs and beaches. Of course, most boat clubs are members-only, and they mostly cater to the very wealthy. Naturally, when you have more money than brains, you are always up for overpriced experiences. There is one beach known as Crystal Beach. It’s small and quaint, and every single store within a ten-mile radius is gearing up for a massive sales day.

Here in St. Catharines, and even Niagara on the Lake, things are a bit less hectic and less obvious. Yes, food and drink and wineries will be on high alert (with, of course, the appropriately priced wares), and yes, we will see some additional traffic as well. Fortunately, we are not Niagara Falls and will not be ‘swarmed by the locusts.’

Hubby and I will walk fifteen minutes to the vast yard belonging to a local school, meet up with his photography club colleagues, and watch with the special glasses we’ve had for more than a month. Though I am unsure how a one-armed photographer can work a camera, I am confident he will give it his best shot. (Or buy a few custom pics from his photo buddies.)

I’ll be relishing Mother Nature’s magnificent power and beauty and counting my lucky stars that I live in the right area of the country to witness this.

Isn’t it fascinating that when man has absolutely no hand in creating something or has absolutely no idea HOW to create it, the best man can do is figure out how to exploit it and make money from it?



Charlene Norman

Inspiring good humans to make a difference for all on Planet Earth. Podcast host, author, and community leader. Fanatical about change for the highest good.