Much of Toronto came to a standstill early Monday afternoon as thousands of people looked up — way up  — to see a rare event in sky, a partial solar eclipse.

The CNE and Ontario Science Centre were just two of the places buzzing with activity as people armed with their eclipse glasses patiently waited for the event to start at 1:10 p.m. 

So was it worth it? People like Carrie Gentes were at the Ontario Science Centre for hours before the big event. 

"It's quite phenomenal, it's a very rare experience," she said, looking up at the sky with her eclipse glasses on. 

Nine-year old Matteo Piccolo said the moon blotting out the sun reminded him of an old videogame.

'It kind of looks like Pac-Man,"  he told CBC Toronto. 

Others on Twitter who created their own pinhole viewing boxes had a bit of a different reaction. 

Lineups started early

Some people like Julia Knight got to the event grounds at the CNE as early as 9:20 a.m. to make sure they could get the free pair of eclipse glasses guaranteed by the Ex.

"I hear they're selling online for 25, 30 bucks," she said. 

The viewing event was held by University of Toronto's Dunlap Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

"This is all about sharing our passion for astronomy with the public and making this amazing celestial event as accessible as possible," said Mike Reid, one of the school's astronomers.

Eclipse

This is what the partial eclipse looked like through a Lunt LS60T H Alpha Solar telescope from Mississauga. (CBC/Mike Cole )

There were also telescopes on-site to let people get an up-close-and-personal view of the rare event. 

"It's nice to be able to look into the telescopes and see things you don't usually see on the sun, like the solar flares and the sunspots," said attendee Dawn Dell'Agnese.

Many attendees created their own eclipse viewers using old cereal boxes and shoe boxes. 

Mike

Professor Mike Reid from University of Toronto's Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics was at the CNE to answer any questions. (CBC)

Over at the Ontario Science Centre, some people decided to skip work and school for the special event. 

Seven-year-old Ruel Ramalingam was told that students at his Whitby school would not be allowed outside to witness the eclipse. 

His parents decided that wouldn't stop him from missing the event. 

Andrew

Andrew Ramalingam and his seven-year-old son Ruel are making a tradition out of watching eclipses. (CBC)

So Ruel's father, Andrew Ramalingam, decided to make a trip down to the Science Centre for the viewing party. 

"He's always been interested in eventhing to do with astronomy, the stars, the sun, everything. So I figured it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. Something we can both experience today."

Andrew Ramalingam and his wife watched an eclipse in the 90s and wanted to create similar memories with their son. 

With files Makda Ghebreslassie and Linda Ward