Homesteading is a great way to get back in touch with nature and reduce your dependence on the grocery store. It also can help you live a more self-sufficient lifestyle and learn valuable skills that will benefit you in the long run.
Homesteading has risen in popularity in recent years, partially thanks to media exposure and the rise of remote work that makes self-sufficient living more possible. Many individuals and families in Canada look to homesteading to regain their independence far away from urban areas and closer to the land. Others live near urban centers but use traditional methods of growing and preserving their food.
Canada is a vast country with many different types of land and climate. All these options must be factored in when choosing an area to set up a homestead. Here are the best homesteading areas in Canada based on weather, fertile land, and prices.
Arguably the best place to homestead is in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Located in the south-central area of the province directly north of the state of Washington, this beautiful area truly has it all: mild climate, fertile land, a regular growing season, lakes, forests, and access to small communities like Osoyoos and Penticton. The area is also far enough from the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of Vancouver Island to be safe from potential earthquakes and tsunamis.
Alberta Near the Canadian Rockies
Not every area of Alberta is conducive to homestead living, but the foothills of the Rockies have fertile soil and are protected from the harsh, cold winds by the mountains. The entire area between Calgary and Edmonton and the Rockies is stunning without the severe weather that comes with living on the Prairies. If you avoid places like Banff and Lake Louise, as well as the military bases, then there is an abundance of good spots to homestead or even live off the grid. Take your time looking for a property, though, since land prices in this area tend to be somewhat high.
South New Brunswick
In the eastern provinces, the south of New Brunswick is the most welcoming region to homestead. It is sparsely populated with suitable land for farming, and with the Atlantic Ocean nearby, you can indulge in seafood for your dinner table. The hilly ground allows for full or partial basements that can be used for food storage. The only thing you need to be wary of in this area is that the summers can have lots of bugs and get humid, while the winters are damp and bone-chilling. New Brunswick also boasts some of the country’s most affordable real estate prices.
The islands of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland are beautiful places to homestead. They are sparsely populated while remaining close to their mainlands for easy access to required materials. The Gulf Stream from the Atlantic Ocean moderates the climate so that the weather is much milder than in other locations. The land is very fertile, especially in Nova Scotia, and the growing season is warm for bountiful crops. Land prices are quite reasonable compared to other places in Canada, making homesteading an accessible lifestyle in these areas.
Homesteading in the Rest of Canada
While the Okanagan Valley, foothills of the Rockies, and the Maritimes are the best areas in Canada for homesteading, the country’s vastness allows for homesteading just about anywhere if you are ready for it. Homesteading in the northern portions of Canada is generally not recommended because they are bleak, remote, and have long extreme winters. This includes the parts of the north of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, and the entire regions of Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. However, there are a few other locations throughout the south that are good for homesteading, including:
Quebec – While the options in Quebec are somewhat limited, there is a lot of land available if you drive into the hills and mountains an hour or two from Montreal or Quebec City.
Ontario – The best place to look for homesteading land in southern Ontario is northwest of Peterborough, which is somewhat removed yet still a short drive from civilization. Or, if you are more adventurous, look to the west half of the province.
Southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan – The Prairies can be unrelenting in their extreme temperatures but are agricultural areas with abundant farmland available for homesteading. If you venture a bit further north, you can find forested regions with more water sources but less land for farming.
There are many opportunities for building a homestead in Canada. You can buy land and establish your homestead on a lot outside of the city. Alternatively, you can buy a larger property on the outskirts of a smaller town to grow your own food, although raising animals may be subject to local bylaws. An experienced real estate agent can guide you through buying land or a rural home and setting up your homestead in the perfect location for your lifestyle.