Why Not Canada?, by C.N.

I am often surprised to hear about people planning for an eventual societal collapse and hearing that you are choosing to remain in place where your worst fears are being realized. My question is, have you thought about the possibility of greener pastures  awaiting you just a short trip up north? I understand loyalty and having a fierce love for your country, however, in really bad times when bugging out is necessary, maybe Canada has what you might want for a short or long term visit. We are a kind and friendly people with one of the lowest homicide rates in the world (of 1.8 per 100 000), those are some pretty good odds.

If your country was to implode, why not come up here with us?
Perhaps you don’t really know Canada. Survival blog readers are a special type of intellectual and deserve to know the benefits of my country, as a precautionary measure. Due to the rural nature of most of our country, many of us are preppers or farmers or homesteaders by nature. I believe it’s fair to say that almost every Canadian knows someone who grows, fishes, or hunts, therefore creating a more self sufficient environment should something terrible happen.

Camping is a fun pastime for Canadians and you would be hard pressed to find a family who hasn’t experienced a night in a leaky tent  during a summer camping trip. The truth is, you just can’t hold your head high as a respectable Canadian if you can’t start a campfire, or properly get into a canoe. Many of us know our environment and our limitations within it.

Yes, we share the largest freshwater lakes but we have so much more then just that to offer. There are huge parts of Canada that are uninhabited and you can’t swing a cat without hitting 3 freshwater sources. 31,700 large lakes to be exact on our 9,900,000 square km (or 3,800,000 square miles) of land. 

Lots and lots of fresh water is not all we have, in addition to our being surrounded by 3 oceans we have the largest coastline in the world, 202 080 km or 125 570 miles long. We are the 2nd largest country in the world by area (including our waters) smaller then only Russia.

We are famous for our rugged and untamed landscape of 8 distinct forest regions, rocky Canadian shield, beautiful prairies, and stunning coastal regions. A tired joke from the prairies is that it took 3 days for my dog to run away (because it’s so flat that you can see him leaving for so long, get it?) Yeah, not as funny as it is true. Imagine that for a retreat location, being able to see intruders approaching for miles.

Plentiful forests are another great feature, enough wood to build with, burn and tap for delicious maple syrup. We love our maple syrup here.

Despite what you have likely heard, much of Canada is not entirely snow covered all year round, we have 4 seasons but they are not intolerable even without the comforts of the grid. Winter temperatures average around -15c (5 F) to -40c/F but that’s a really cold day, even here. Summer temperatures average between 20-30 degrees c (70-86 F) up to 40c (104 F) on a brutal hot day. This year my part of Canada didn’t even get snow, unfortunately the children were not as impressed as the adults.

Since Canada is so large (9,900,000 square kilometers, or 3,800,000 square miles), and has such a small population (35 million) in comparison, it should be an ideal bug out location for Americans, especially Christians since 77% of us identify ourselves as such.  

If I travel 2 hours north of the Canada/America border, it is likely that I would be lost in a less densely populated area. If I drove 5 hours north of that border I would probably be into thinly populated cottage/ fishing/ hunting country. If I went further than that, I would be in almost no man’s land with the odd smaller town spaced really far apart.

If population density is your concern, we can boast just 3.3 people per square mile, among the lowest rates in the world, with 80% of the population along the border, and mostly in the eastern portion of the country.

If the military is your concern, again Canada is the place to be. Our military (God bless them) is small to even us, with 67,000 regular personnel and 43,000 reserve personnel, hardly enough manpower to hold down just one of our major cities if one was concerned with martial law or that sort of thing.

As for natural disasters, Canada seems strangely immune as we have very few earthquakes, tornados or floods. Most often our largest threat from nature is a big winter storm which, I kind of enjoy. There is nothing like the feeling of being cozy and warm inside and watching the snow accumulate outside.

As a testament to our financial resiliency, somehow, we weathered the storm of 2008 seemingly virtually unscathed. By some  strange twist of fate our home prices are still rising and we are now the condo building capitol of the world. This shows that by some miracle Canada didn’t follow America during their unfortunate downturn. Perhaps our luck might continue should something worse happen, it might be possible for Canada to, against all odds, dodge that bullet again so to speak.

I am not a fan of poisonous things so a beautiful added bonus of living in Canada is that we have very little of that. Unlike the hotter climates, there is not a scorpion waiting in your shoe, nor a funnel web spider living under the rock your children play near. Our most dangerous insect by numbers is probably the mosquito which is found everywhere, only we do get relief from them for 3 seasons out of the year.

We do have some big scary animals, although again, the most dangerous is also the most unlikely. We have bear, deer, moose, wolves, coyote, mountain lion and caribou. The biggest threat now is hitting a deer with your car on a dark road at night. In the wild, the largest threat is likely a moose during mating season, they are fiercely territorial and will kill you just for being in their zone. Aside from the moose, and the possibility of getting in between a sow bear and her cubs, most animals seem to be content with not attacking humans. The bonus of all these large animals is of course, hunting. We are one of the worlds best destinations for hunting and fishing.   

What more could you want in a survival retreat?

Let’s recap and see if Canada covers all the basics of a great survival location.
1. Water – We all know how important water is, and if we are to believe the media then fresh water is becoming more and more unavailable to us. This is thus far, not a problem here and can’t possibly be for the foreseeable future.
2. Food – Canada has a very healthy population of fish and animals, easily enough to sustain a group living off the grid. Aside from the animals, there are many wild food sources including seaweed and plant life. It would be difficult to starve in the wild with even a small amount of information and gear.
3. Shelter – Forests and nature abound with many choices of what terrain to choose for a retreat and plenty of materials to build with and burn for fuel.
4. Population- A simple check of Canada’s population reveals that 80% of us live relatively close to the border, and of them, most densely populated around Lake Ontario. It would be fairly easy here to settle into an area where very little people are, and others would have immense trouble getting to. 
5. Threats – There are very few threats here from nature. We get very few natural disasters and we have very few poisonous insects, and dangerous animals. Man made threats could be a train derailment of dangerous goods, or a nuclear situation, which is possible almost anywhere.
To conclude, I love America, and its people and I am in no way suggesting that Canada is superior. I am simply pointing out the benefits in the event that something should take a turn for the worst in the beautiful land of the free. Canada is situated in a position to provide all that you may be seeking in a retreat location, hopefully courtesy of SurvivalRealty.com or just as a temporary bug out location with a well stocked Recreational Vehicle, maybe for an ‘extended hunting trip’.

I have nothing against South America but as more and more Americans seem to be setting up bug out locations farther south, I have wondered about the risk to benefit ratio there, rather than here. In my humble (and perhaps flawed) opinion one might want to plan a secondary location in a more environmentally stable area without the risk of mudslides, tropical storms, frequent and larger earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

When planning a bug out location or a survival retreat I hope that I have highlighted the benefits of your friends to the north. Our low crime rates and low population in comparison to our vast area coupled with our many natural resources seems, to me, to be an ideal location, one of the best in the world and only a stone’s throw away. 

JWR Adds: The objection most often raised to Canada can be summed up in two words: Gun laws. If it weren’t for that factor, then the warmer parts of Canada (such as the Bella Coola region of western British Columbia) would become a popular haven for American survivalists. I should mention that I have had a couple of hyper-pacifist consulting clients that refused to own any guns, even in the face of very traumatic times ahead. (One client was from Canada, and the other from the U.S.) Since isolation would be their only defense, I recommended that they both relocate to live inside the limits of either Abbotsford or Creston, in British Columbia. (Small farming towns.) There are some amazing properties in the province.

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