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American looking for small, cheap parcel of land to subsistence "homestead" in Canada  RSS feed

 
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I am a U.S. citizen with minimal financial resources looking to find a small, very cheap piece of land I can live on primitively in Canada. Will probably need to live out of my car until I can construct some kind of primitive shelter from locally available materials. I have been an avid backpacker for years and am fairly comfortable in wild areas. No experience with firearms, but will probably need to acquire and learn to use a 22 to hunt small game. Not comfortable with larger-gauge weapons needed to fend off brown bears and the like. Am reasonably competent at fishing.  Looking for advice on getting started in this process. Do NOT need a lare parcel of land -- just something that affords some minimal privacy. Looking for advice on government issues re: gun ownership and immigration issues. Also would appreciate advice on specific areas of Canada where setting up such a life might be most practical.

Thanks.
 
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I don't suspect there is a part of Canada where living out of a car this time of year is practical.

Now if you had a full-size work van you might be able to rig up a micro RMH [4 inch system] to keep you warm...
 
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If you are planning to live that primitively, then you probably don't need to own land.  If a person is willing and wanting to live primitively, there are vast areas of crown land (public/government) in Northern Canada where a person can wander/hunt.  There are gun regulations, and hunting seasons, but if you are looking to bug out of the U.S., you have some work to do.  A shelter large enough to house a person and his camp gear/food need not be large, and can be easily made from/camouflaged by the available materials.  Heating is a matter of a properly built fire, but you may want to invest in a woodstove and install it properly in an enclosed space.   
 
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:I don't suspect there is a part of Canada where living out of a car this time of year is practical.

.



Yeh, I know.  It got down to minus 1 celsius last night.  That's almost 30 degrees F.   Pretty darn cold for our part of Canada.  Then again, we've had our first proper snowfall in 4 years, so it's a really hard winter for us.

Just one example of how large and varied Canada is.  Canada is the second largest country in the world.  It's HUGE. 

Do you have any idea what sort of climate you want?  Do you like winter?  There are some rather splendid winters in parts of the country.  Do you like hot and mosquito heavy summers with brilliant thunderstorms every third night?  Do you like going 6 to 8 months of the year with zero rainfall, during the growing season?  What do you think is affordable?  Are we talking $700,000 an acre or $7,000?   There are places far more affordable than that, but they are more isolated - a good thing and a bad.  Those places are isolated for a reason. 


How about WOOFING or something similar across Canada to get an idea of what part you are interested in?  It would also help you get a feel for the culture and laws - it may seem culturally similar to the US, but believe me, there are some huge differences.  Sometimes people like these differences, but a lot of people I know found Canada and Canadians too 'bland' (their word) and the laws here too focused on protecting our freedom from harm rather than protecting the freedom to act.  I've heard many a would-be immigrant call it 'draconian'.  Being a commonwealth country, we also excel in bureaucracy.  Most immigrants need a lawyer to cut through the red tape - but there are free and affordable ones who specialise in this kind of thing. 

But you may love it here!  It's hard to know until you've spent a few months here.


Here's a place to start looking.

Occasionally the individual provinces will have a programme to encourage people with certain skills.  For example, a nurse coming to BC (from a part of the world with equivalent training) will have very little problem with the immigration part of things (the union is another matter).  Some provinces want more farmers. 


Gun ownership -   There are some pretty strong regulations with gun ownership here.  You have to go through a course, pass a test, get a licence, that type of thing.  I've never felt the need to own a gun.  I don't see the point.   Most parts of Canada we rely on the authorities to take care of predators or other danger.  That's what our taxes pay for and they are far better trained than us.  Hunting is another matter, but there are restrictions on what you can hunt when.  There are big areas where discharging a firearm is strictly forbidden. 

Most predators here aren't a problem.  Actually, the only problem predators are ones made a problem by humans.  A predator needs to be trained to be a problem and this happens most often near towns and cities.  There are ways to modify your behaviour and your environment so that you are not Pray.  For example, when in bear country, don't keep toothpaste in your tent.  Simple. 


 
Kyrt Ryder
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Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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R Ranson wrote:

Kyrt Ryder wrote:I don't suspect there is a part of Canada where living out of a car this time of year is practical.

.



Yeh, I know.  It got down to minus 1 celsius last night.  That's almost 30 degrees F.   Pretty darn cold for our part of Canada.  Then again, we've had our first proper snowfall in 4 years, so it's a really hard winter for us.


Also by far the mildest and most expensive part of canada.

In southwest BC car living with fossil-fuel heat is doable... But impractical.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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It got down to minus 1 celsius last night.  That's almost 30 degrees F.   Pretty darn cold for our part of Canada.  Then again, we've had our first proper snowfall in 4 years, so it's a really hard winter for us.

Also by far the mildest and most expensive part of canada.

  Yep.  Be prepared for serious cold.  Especially this year.  Right now where I live it just warmed right up to a balmy -13 C.  It was -20 C for a few days (and that's not including the wind chill).  <-That's -4 or so Fahrenheit.  Not warm.  Certainly not car camping warm.   
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I have been an avid backpacker for years and am fairly comfortable in wild areas.

  This might be true, but winter is long and cold, and if you are not familiar with winter camping then there is a bit of a learning curve.
 
raven ranson
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fossil-fuel heat?  You mean running the heater in the car?  I've never known anyone to do that here, but I suppose it makes sense if have money to buy gas.  The people I know who year-round camp/car here don't have money to waste on that.  They just take a look at the weather forcast and drive to the weather zone that will be mildest.  The smart ones do anyway.

Prices of many things are higher on the West Coast, but I think the actual cost of living is about the same as the rest of Canada - or it can be.  We have the huge advantage of being able to harvest food year 'round.  If one does not trot down the landowner path and one is willing to farm/forage, then it's very affordable.  Actually, there is some land in the gulf islands that is cheap.  Perfect for subsistence living.... in the winter that is.  Many of these islands have no drinkable ground water and can go 6 to 8 months between rainfall in the summer.  Not so nice to live on in the summer. 

But everywhere in Canada has its charm, advantages, disadvantages, and to some extent, personality.  It's very difficult to know what a place will be like until one's spent a few months there.  That's why I suggest WOOFING or doing something like that to get an idea of what it's actually like to live there - with your style of living. The Ideal of Canada and actual Canada are very different things. Best get to know the place before committing to living here. 
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I suggest reading Mors Kochanski's:  Bushcraft and practicing some of those skills if you are at all serious about it.
 
Kyrt Ryder
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R Ranson wrote:fossil-fuel heat?  You mean running the heater in the car?  I've never known anyone to do that here, but I suppose it makes sense if have money to buy gas.  The people I know who year-round camp/car here don't have money to waste on that.


That's one method but rather inefficient since it first converts the fuel to electricity then heat. I was more thinking a propane or kerosene space heater. Still impractical- but doable

Prices of many things are higher on the West Coast, but I think the actual cost of living is about the same as the rest of Canada - or it can be.  We have the huge advantage of being able to harvest food year 'round.  If one does not trot down the landowner path and one is willing to farm/forage, then it's very affordable.


The 'land owner path' is the only one which appeals to me personally, and appears to be the OP's intention [though I could certainly be mistaken.]

everywhere in Canada has its charm, advantages, disadvantages, and to some extent, personality.  It's very difficult to know what a place will be like until one's spent a few months there.  That's why I suggest WOOFING or doing something like that to get an idea of what it's actually like to live there - with your style of living. The Ideal of Canada and actual Canada are very different things. Best get to know the place before committing to living here.


Definitely sound advice there.
 
raven ranson
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Land ownership has a huge number of strings with it.

Depending on where you are in Canada, and what kind of title the land has, you don't actually own much of the land.  There are water, oil, mineral, and all sorts of other rights that someone who doesn't own the land can have on your land.  You may not even have water rights (the right to dig a well, or use any forum of water on the property).  What's more, someone with mineral rights can mine on your land, often without having to ask your permission.  If you want to own land in Canada, be careful what access rights come with the land.  Don't always trust the real estate agent to know what these are.  In some provinces, they are reevaluating the rights, and many current landowners might lose their water rights - so those of us on a well may have to pay the government for our own water. 

Another problem with land ownership is the property tax.  Where is the money to pay that annual tax going to come from?  My neighbour pays over $14,000 per year, but his property is deemed residential and of high value.  That doesn't include his garbage pick up and other amenities.  With farm status, you can often pay less than 1,000 a year, but you have to prove that you are selling farm produce.  Depending where you are, this takes two years, so assume you'll have to pay full rate on the property tax for two years.  If you have a pond on the property, they will often tax you for that... I don't know why, but ponds are taxable. 

Owning land in Canada also shoulders you with some legal responsibilities and liabilities.  This varies from place to place.  Best to know what they are before buying land in Canada.


That said, yes, land ownership is my preferred path as well.  It gives a great sense of security, but it also comes with a lot of unexpected expenses and responsibilities. 
 
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