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The American Prepper's Canada Survival Guide for SHTF

Post-Collapse Survival in Newfoundland, Labrador, and British Columbia, Canada

Prepping: Buying a Home in Canada
If you're on the East Coast, you should have your eyes on Newfoundland and Labrador. If you're on the West Coast, you should be looking closely at B.C., north of Washington State's Puget Sound for buying a home or property...
by Tom Brennan and , Copyright ©
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If all Hells breaks loose in the states, would you be a lot better off in Canada?
Let's face it.

The vast majority of the North American population is south of the Canadian border. If we ever experience a societal collapse, most of the horrors that go along with it will be down in the states, where the majority of the population resides.

What's the Weather Like in Canada?

The "cold" of Canadian winters shouldn't scare you. As you get closer to the coast (Pacific or Atlantic), temperatures become less extreme due to maritime conditions. At the same time, cold winters on the coast can reward you with spring melt and amazing summers (where you don't need air conditioning). Coastal areas also mean a rich source of food year round; not only from the ocean, but also areas near valley meadowland and or present day agriculture can spell out areas for you to grow food and raise livestock.

As you get closer to the mountains, specifically forested mountains, hunting for both large game and bears spells out additional survival resources for the adept.

Canada is the Second Largest Nation on Earth

Though Canada is the second largest nation on earth, there are specific places in Canada that could make for a great post-collapse survival retreat for those with the time and financing.

Why Canada?

In the U.S., especially on the East Coast where huge populations of people can be found in major cities, post collapse survival is likely to fall into the hands of armed militias.

Whether that's a good thing where you live now, or not, depends entirely on who comes to power in your region. As you get into these remote areas of coastal Canada, the population drops off significantly and militias are likely to be a rare thing away from small towns. One other rare event takes place as you get further into British Columbia -- where you are becomes a lot less of a military target from an overseas foe.

External threats drop significantly. Whether you survive and thrive depends entirely on an act of God and or your ability to live off the land through self-sustaining farming, fishing, and hunting. For the purpose of this article, we talk about the latter.

The Best Survivors Form Teams

Got a few friends? A group of people with a variety of skills is a long time and proven method of survival in a remote, rugged region. Men and women both can combine their individual skills and knowledge to form small communities that thrive and care for one another away from dangerous cities and urban decay. See: How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization

1. Pacific Coast (and Coastal Interior)

Survival Location: British Columbia

Among the places that thoughtful survival relocation planning should include is British Columbia (B.C.), which borders the Pacific Ocean and stretches inland and over the Canadian Rockies. This huge area of Western Canada includes islands in the Pacific Ocean.

It boasts the most moderate temperatures, longest growing season and best hunting and fishing in Canada. If you're paying attention, B.C. is south of Alaska. Yeah, south.

Population Drops Off Quickly North of Vancouver

From an American point of view, B.C. is a less densely populated area, with the exception of the urban metropolis of Vancouver far to the south, and has a lot of acreage that is listed as "off the grid". Waterfront home owners in the states, the closest being Western Washington, can make an easy jump across the Canadian border by boat following any kind of SHTF event due to the proximity that the Puget Sound (large body of water connected to the Pacific Ocean) gives to the Canadian coastline.

Preppers Buying Homes in Western Washington for Canadian Access

Hopefully articles like ours don't drive up prices on Western Washington coastal and island properties near Canada, but unfortunately it's only likely to happen as more people connect the dots prior to any future U.S. collapse and realize how easy it would be to make that trek by boat. If you time the weather conditions right, you can even do it on a jet ski...

Look at it this way: If America ever goes the way of the Titanic, Canada may be one of the last life boats, specifically for Washington State and Maine residents (Canada above Montana, North Dakota and the Great Lakes is cold with a lot of barren plains that have sub zero temperatures several weeks or longer each winter -- simply not suitable for prepper relocation when there are better regions in Canada to look at first.)

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The 49th Parallel

Most of Canada's population lives along the 49th parallel which borders the United States. This is mostly due to the colder climate and smaller population. Canadians living above this zone are mostly in a prepper and survival mentality and accustomed to an off-grid outdoors lifestyle.

Canada is Not the USA

Canada is a Parliamentary system with more centralized power, such as police (RCMP). This means that the central government exercises more control over certain rights than in the USA (such as gun ownership). Centralized control can be more easily disrupted in a large scale emergency and accelerate breakdown of order and basic systems in urbanized areas. Inland BC will be somewhat immune from these issues.

What does moving to Canada involve for Americans? There are regulations

Regulations. Do I need a Visa? Americans do not need a visa to visit Canada. You will need to provide proof of US citizenship though. But immigrating here does have requirements including: having a skill or experience that can be used in Canadian businesses; having an existing job waiting for you in Canada; having relatives or friends who have nominated you for permanent residency; being able to show that you are a business owner or entrepreneur with a high net worth. You just don't move to Canada.

You have to select which Province to move to, each has its own regulations. These can vary as well.

Because of centralized government gun ownership is by license. Licensing for long guns such as rifles and shotguns are easily acquired, handguns are not. Weapons such as the AR-15 and AK 47 series are restricted. While a growing number of US States now allow Permitless concealed carry, legislation to expand this to all States is being proposed. Concealed weapons permits in Canada are difficult to obtain. The current survival/prepper community in Canada is more scattered, with fewer groups. This can be attributed to the fact that Canada is more rural and less populated; many rural residents are already in a "../survival" frame of mind and lifestyle. The inland areas see a hardier and more independently minded group of residents than the more urbanized residents along the 49th parallel zone.

The mindset here along the 49th Parallel more closely resembles that of many US East and West Coast cities as in extreme dependency on outside resources for food, energy and many basic needs, an inability to adapt to lack of conveniences or provide the most basic needs for themselves such as growing their own food, heating their shelters and protecting themselves.

In an emergency these city dwellers will have fewer survival skills and many will become casualties.

British Columbia's benefits

Along coastal areas, the ocean fishing and extended growing season make for richly abundant resources. Moving a short distance inland provides more wildlife and hunting opportunities as well as survival concealment. Wooded areas are abundant and fuel for heat is readily available as well. Inland areas abound with lakes and rivers and Canada boasts the largest supply of fresh water in the world. Many available properties list a pond or nearby lake as a part of the acreage.

British Columbia's drawbacks

Survival depends on a realistic and adaptive approach and mindset. BC does have some drawbacks which demand thinking and adapting. This part of Canada has the possibility of tsunamis and is along the Pacific "Rim of Fire" which can result in catastrophic earthquakes and tsunami reactions. The coastal communities have an effective alert system in place currently.

Moving inland it is a fact that this area has a large population of carnivorous predators such as Grizzly, Black Bears and Cougars. Being prepared to deal with these predators is an essential survival factor and predator-proof shelter construction, effective firearms and a survivor's mindset are critical.

Bears can run at 35 mph, swim and climb trees. Avoiding them unless you are hunting them is the best resort. Otherwise a heavy caliber firearm and good aim are all that's left. Traveling in alert armed groups can increase the chance that any predatory bear is safely dealt with in an encounter. Leave the "bear bells" and pepper spray at home.

Transportation and access routes inland are few in number and motorized traffic in a catastrophe would be paralyzed. Non-motorized transportation is essential and having snowshoes and skis as well as horses or mules would be a good idea to consider and develop the necessary skills to use and care for them correctly. In the winter months, a good dog sled team can also be a good tool but if you've got the fuel and the experience, a snowmobile may be the best way to get around period. Even if an EMP shuts down most of the U.S., there's a good chance that your remote home in B.C., Canada can escape the effects.

That means in America electronics don't work, while up there in B.C., Canada (or Newfoundland, keep reading) your electronics may be just fine. Of course, if a foreign military has a second EMP planned for Anchorage, Alaska and U.S. military bases in Alaska, you might not escape the EMP after all. Something to keep in mind as you plan your EMP preps and build those Faraday Cages.

The Vancouver "issue" for American Preppers

Vancouver is an urbanized environment with a high drug use and gang situation. There is also a large prison population which would not be controllable in an emergency due to a smaller law enforcement presence. Urban violence would spread outwards and fewer police would be available. This population could spill over into the countryside as well.

Finding property in British Columbia

There are small prepper communities on some of the islands off the shore. Moving inland the best way to find realtors who sell land and homes suitable for relocation is to use the term "off the grid" in your online realty search. This will bring up realtors who sell properties with self-contained power supplies, water access and acreage for planting. Research the most likely properties for purchase as well as the reputation and reliability of the realtor. Use Google Earth and maps to gain knowledge of the area as well to look for elements that could cause concern before discussing any purchase. Online Canadian prepper forums are excellent places to get information about best places to buy and who is already there.

Considering the colder climate here, selecting a property with an independent power supply, serious insulation and heating capabilities and having vehicles that can travel over rough roads and weather conditions is a priority.

2. Atlantic Coast (and Coastal Interior)

Newfoundland and Labrador: the Atlantic Option for relocation

Newfoundland is an Atlantic refuge area for those who do not have the means to move to the West Coast of Canada. In a large scale emergency, the East Coast of the USA and Canada offer few areas where civil unrest or wide scale catastrophe would not have serious effects. The high density population, limits on supply of food and drinkable water and limited access to hunting make survival here extremely tough post collapse.

But several large islands to the east of the Canadian landmass offer an opportunity to survive; one of the most promising is Newfoundland. Once again, immigration to this Province is regulated, you just don't move there. Visiting Canada requires a proof of US citizenship; this is available through various means. Immigration is a process and there are various avenues, including work, education and refugee status. There is an application process for all.

Newfoundland is the 16th largest island in the world

Newfoundland is Canada's 4th largest island and the 16th largest island in the world. It was called Vinland by the Viking Leif Ericson and has a long and important history. There are a number of fairly populous cities, St. Johns has a population of 106,000 and is the capital. Farming has been in decline for years and most food and consumer products are imported by ferry or flown in. But in a catastrophe this would change since there is still much growing area available, self-sufficiency would restart. Fishing and hunting opportunities abound. The weather can be severe, since it borders the North Atlantic. Perhaps the climate offers the best security for a planned relocation. Residents are accustomed to the colder environment; city dwellers would be less likely to invade this place and would seek other targets for raids and foraging in a Post-Apocalypse society.


Labrador is going to have more options than Newfoundland, due to the fact that Newfoundland is an island. Labrador, on the other hand is the Canadian interior, and parts of Eastern Labrador are going to offer maritime weather conditions; at the same time forested regions will offer fuel for winter and opportunities for hunting and concealment. Current commercial agricultural operations in Newfoundland and Labrador show the ability and types of food that can be grown.

A resourceful prepper is likely to expand on what he or she can grow using greenhouses and even hydroponic/aquaponic set ups.

If you're going to do it, it starts with immigration

The key to successful pre-planned relocation to Canada involves the immigration process, knowledge of where you intend to settle, adaptation to a new environment that is admittedly colder (though coastal regions are typically not as cold as the U.S. northern plains in winter) and a will to adapt and survive.

There are varying degrees of remoteness as you move further inland in British Columbia and the need to prepare for a maritime climate that feeds off the Atlantic is necessary for living in Newfoundland and eastern Labrador. You will also be living in a foreign country with different laws and culture. Both these Provinces offer a chance to escape the harsh realities that overpopulated and dependent US East and West Coast locations would hold in a Post-Apocalypse world.

Preparation and survival go hand in hand no matter where you go. If you truly feel the U.S. is on a collision course for disaster, the sooner you make your move, if that is what you are feeling lead to do in life, the better.

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