Spring sunrises in Toronto

Ice melts, buds appear, and greenery replaces the otherwise monochromatic scenery, creating for some surprisingly scenic opportunities at sunrise.



As the world turns, the sunrise location gradually shifts. In this multi-season series of posts, I will take you through the various sunrise locations as seen from the west end of the city of Toronto. Follow along as I show you the sun as it moves throughout the season, and from one season to the next.

[ Winter | Spring | Summer | Fall ]



Spring Sunrises

March 20 – June 20

Spring graces its presence from March 20 – June 20. The image on the left is a visual representation (from The Photographer’s Ephemeris) of which direction the sun rises from as seen from the Humber Bay Arch Bridge.

The approximate time of the sunrise is written below the dates. Although the sunrise time gets earlier, you can see that it passes behind the CN Tower and Toronto skyline during the month of April (as seen from the Humber Bay Arch Bridge), allowing us to capture photographs of the sun as it aligns itself to the CN Tower.


It’s all about the city

Photographs of the sun rising behind a popular structures are common all around the internet. If that’s your goal with the sunrise, spring and summer are your seasons for this. With the sun rising directly behind the Toronto skyline, it’s a great opportunity for you to perfect your craft of alignment photography. Apps like The Photographer’s Ephemeris and Photopills are great tools to plan ahead and capture your winning shot.

June 9, 2020: The sun rises directly behind the observatory deck as seen from Colonel Sam Smith Park

March

While the sun is still a ways away from the city early spring, depending on where you’re shooting from, you can still incorporate the sun, the city, and sometimes even yourself in the photo, like my self-portrait below.

March 21, 2021: The sun, city of Toronto, and a self-portrait from just outside Humber Bay Park West.


April

With warmer temperatures April sees much of the snow and ice melt away leaving the landscape bare with early signs of spring. It might not offer the prettiest of foreground elements for your photos but there are still no shortages of photo opportunities. Try including the water instead of dead leaves and branches strewn on the ground.

April 10, 2016: A long exposure with the lake as the foreground from nearby the Humber Bay Arch Bridge.


May

It’s very rare that we will have any snow on the ground in the city in May, so this month we can look forward to capturing the fresh colours of spring as they start to bloom with the warmth of the sun. The sun will rise behind the city skyline throughout the month so depending on where you are, you have great opportunities for aligning the sunrise with the CN Tower.

May 5, 2019: A beautiful pastel coloured sunrise shows the sun rising just to the left of the city, as seen from Humber Bay Park East.


June

If you’re wanting to get the sun behind the CN Tower then this month might be the month you’re waiting for. As seen from Colonel Sam Smith Park, you’ll get to witness the sun rise directly behind the CN Tower at various heights depending on the day and where you are looking from at the park.

The city isn’t as close to the park as it is to Humber Bay so it’s best if you have a telephoto lens of at least 200mm if you want to get a closer look at the city and sun.

June 2, 2017: The sun rises just behind the CN Tower as seen from Colonel Sam Smith Park.


Spring opens up a whole new series of sunrise photography. I hope you’re able to get out to your local parks and enjoy them wherever you are. Be sure to do your own research in finding exactly where the sun will rise with respect to the CN Tower and where you are standing.

Stay tuned for my next instalment in this series: Summer Sunrises in Toronto.

Don’t forget to read the other posts in this series:

[ Winter | Spring | Summer | Fall ]


Do you enjoy photographing the sun aligned with the city or CN Tower? Let me know your experiences below!

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