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Wild camping, also known as boondocking, and standing free with a motorhome are partly allowed in Canada. In cities, provincial and national parks, it is strictly prohibited. However, on public land, it is permitted with a few restrictions.
Wild camping is always allowed in Canada if it is not prohibited. However, there is generally a nationwide ban on wild camping in cities, national parks, and provincial parks. If you do spend the night in one of these areas and get caught, you can expect hefty fines.
On public land (National, Forest) and areas that are not privately owned (Crown Land), wild camping is generally allowed. Since lots in Canada can be quite large, you should make sure that you do not camp on private property or ask the owner for permission in advance.
Depending on the province or territory you wish to visit, there may be additional prohibitions that further limit the possibilities of wild camping, also known as 'backcountry camping.' However, some provinces allow camping under special conditions in isolated provincial and national parks. You can find more information about this further down the page.
Each province in Canada has its own rules for wild camping or backcountry camping, as some regions in Canada call it. To give you a better overview, we have taken a closer look at the provinces and show you what the individual rules are.
Wild camping in Alberta is also called 'Random Backcountry Camping.' The following rules and guidelines apply:
Speaking of Provincial Parks and Provincial Recreation Areas, wild camping is not allowed here.
Besides the general possibilities for wild camping, there is the possibility to camp on 'Recreation Sites.' These sites are free of charge, off the beaten path, and mostly accessible via gravel roads.
Locals often use these sites, so it is quite possible, especially in high season, that your desired spot is not free.
Furthermore, the following rules apply in British Columbia:
Wild camping in Manitoba is called 'Backcountry Camping' or 'Wilderness Camping' and is allowed in some designated areas. You can find an overview of these areas here: Backcountry Camping
Although wilderness camping is not allowed in provincial parks, there are designated sites where camping is permitted. The cost of these sites varies widely, and there are also some free options. To camp in these parks, you will need a permit, which you can purchase here: Permits
However, the same rules apply to all places in these parks:
In New Brunswick, wild camping is allowed on Crown land under certain conditions.
However, there are areas where wild camping is prohibited, so you should check the rules on site.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, wild camping is also known as 'free camping' and is allowed on Crown land. You can also use the following areas or sites, provided there are no prohibition signs:
Wild camping in provincial and national parks, nature reserves, and on private property is not permitted, as it is everywhere in Canada.
There are no specific prohibitions or exceptions on wild camping in the Northwest Territories. To camp at sites in the Northwest Territories, you will need a permit, which you can purchase at each campsite.
In general, the following rules apply when camping:
Wild camping is allowed in Nova Scotia in so-called 'Wilderness Areas.' Wilderness Areas are designated areas protected under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act of 1998. They offer opportunities for recreation, fishing, hunting, and camping. In the Wilderness Areas, there are restrictions on the usage of motorized vehicles. You can find an overview of the areas here: Wilderness Areas
The following rules apply in these areas:
In Nunavut, the rule is that camping is allowed everywhere where it is not prohibited. The prohibitions are limited to general areas such as. If you are planning a trip, you have to register with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police beforehand. This way, it is known in which area you are staying, and you can be found more easily in case of an emergency.
Depending on the region, you may encounter grizzly bears as well as polar bears in Nunavut, which are mainly attracted by trails and garbage. So pay attention to your surroundings or use official campsites in case of doubt.
In Ontario, wild camping is allowed on Crown land, except for national parks and nature reserves. However, there is a distinction whether you are a Canadian resident or whether you are a guest.
Canadian citizens, and people who have lived in Canada for at least 7 of the last 12 months, are allowed to camp for free on Crown land. They are only allowed to stay on Crown land for up to 21 days per year. This rule does not apply if signs prohibit camping.
All other persons require a permit to camp. However, you don't need one if:
In some areas, access is by non-motorized vehicles only. So if you know exactly where you want to spend the night, you should check the rules in that area.
Since about 88% of Prince Edward Island is in private possession, it is not possible to legally go wild camping, except for parking lots or rest stops.
In general, it is allowed to camp on public land in Quebec. However, some municipalities prohibit wild camping on public land. These include:
The same applies to the following islands of the town of Varennes:
In Saskatchewan, wild camping is allowed on public lands, Crown lands, and along rivers unless officially prohibited. Other than that, the province has no separate rules or regulations.
In Yukon, there are no separate rules or exceptions regarding wild camping, except for a prohibition on overnight camping on Recreation sites. However, there are general rules for government campgrounds that you should follow. These include:
Rest areas and parking lots
Everywhere in Canada, there are rest areas where you can take a break and stay overnight, depending on the province. Also, it is possible to spend the night in some parking lots if you cannot find a suitable place. This overnight stay in parking lots is also known as boondocking. For both rest areas and parking lots, if you see a "No Overnight" sign, you should not spend the night in the lot, as this can be very expensive and, in any case, will result in trouble if you get caught. Also, you may have to purchase something in some stores or restaurants, to spend a night in front of it.
Dangers like bears and fire
Wild bears are a danger you should not underestimate when boondocking in Canada. Before you set up camp for the night in a place, you should check in advance if there are bears in the vicinity. If you want to spend the night in such an area, you should not leave any leftover food lying around, especially overnight, so that you do not attract the animals. If you do see a bear near a trail, make as much noise as possible to scare it away. It is also best to buy an anti-bear spray, which you should use only in the last instance. When using it, be sure to watch out for the wind so that you don't get the spray yourself.
When you hear Canada, most people think of moose, bears, maple syrup, ice hockey, and Mounties in their red uniforms. But Canada has a lot more to offer. For example, did you know that Canada is the second-largest country in the world but has only 3.6 inhabitants per square kilometer? We have collected a few more facts for you.
Fact #1 - Lakes
Canada is the country with the most natural lakes in the world. So many that it has more lakes than all other countries combined.
Fact #2 - Coastline
Speaking of superlatives, Canada has the longest coastline in the world. It totals 243977 kilometers.
Fact #3 - Forests
Canada's forested areas are also of enormous proportions. About 50% of the country is covered by forest.
Fact #4 - Nunavut
The territory of Nunavut was only established in 1999 and has a special license plate: It has the shape of a polar bear.
Fact #5 - Santa Claus address
You can send your letter to Santa Claus, North Pole H0H 0H0, Canada, and get a reply from Santa.
Fact #6 - Temperature rise
Pincher Creek experienced an incredible 41°C (-19°C to 22°C) temperature rise in one hour on January 10, 1962.
Fact #7 - Rain
If you like rain, you'll love Ocean Falls in British Columbia. It rains here an average of 330 days a year.
Fact #8 - Television
On average, a Canadian watches 21 hours of television a week. 128000 households even have a TV in their bathroom.
Fact #9 - Head of State
Canada is a parliamentary monarchy and has a queen as head of state. Which queen? Queen Elizabeth II.
Fact #10 - Maple syrup
Canada and maple syrup go hand in hand. Quebec produces approximately 77% of the world's supply.
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