CAO Usage Policy

In order to better serve the RASC, Toronto Centre members, and to provide members with priority access to the E.C. Carr Astronomical Observatory, the CAO booking year is divided into two categories; dark sky days and general use days.

Dark Sky Days:

• Reserved for members only, who may book their stay at any time.

• From three days prior to 3rd Quarter Moon through to New Moon plus five days after New Moon.

• Subject to space availability during dark sky days, only primary members (Life, Regular, Youth and Affiliate members) may invite and book up to two non-member guests (that are immediate family members) for in-house stays or up to four non-member guests(that are immediate family members) for on-site camping, no earlier than two days prior to the start of the guests’ visit, and guests may stay a maximum of three nights.

• Children under the age of 14 who are not members of the RASC, Toronto Centre are not permitted.

General Use Days:

• Open to members and their guests. (immediate family members)

• General use days are all other days not designated as dark sky days.

• Only primary members may invite and book up to a maximum of four non-member guests, subject to space availability.

• Guest stays may not extend into dark sky days.

CAO Access Fees

§  Usage fee - $10 per person per night to camp or for day use

§  Usage fee - $20 per person per night for in-house accommodation

§  Individual annual pass - $85

§  Family annual pass - $140

Note: fees are subject to change without notice.

Use of the Facility
All visits to the CAO must be booked in advance. The booking co-ordinator confirms reservations.

The house and grounds (and the Tony Horvatin Observatory, without telescope) are available to all RASC, Toronto Centre or affiliate members. A key set can be borrowed from key holders located around the GTA. Access to the Geoff Brown Observatory (with computer driven telescope and accessories) is only available to existing trained operators at this time.

Pets are not allowed inside the house or GBO. Visitors are asked to scoop up after their pets.

Insurance and Safety
Everyone visiting and staying at the CAO must be a RASC member or a guest of the member and visitors must be accompanied by a member for insurance purposes. The RASC national organization and the Toronto Centre have insurance in place to protect all authorized parties visiting the CAO. The CAO is a private facility and its primary use is for members.


Note that due to COVID-19 precautions, there are no public outreach events nor public visits permitted at CAO until further notice. All members using the observatory are provided a copy of the CAO Site Facilities Manual. They are expected to read and follow the instructions in the manual. It is your guide to getting the most out of your stay. Please read it through; especially given the many changes in site usage protocols due to the current pandemic.

Attached here is also a packing list to assist you in planning your CAO visit: