Moving to the North !

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Moving to the North !

After having a few requests, both written and verbal I decided to list some things that I know might help out in your desire to live and work in the North of Ontario.

Some simple truths about this venture. 1 Day of travel to get up to Timmins, 3/4 day to get to Temiskaming Shores (New Liskeard, Haileybury)in the Timiskaming District, 1/2 day to North Bay. Just drive up Hwy 11 which is Young Street in Toronto.

Driving up; So just remember, it is two full days of travel to get up then back down. If you work now, try to find a long weekend to tag onto for travel and use only 4 days off. Ironically I have always found it faster to travel up on a Friday, of course you need to leave before noon though. This way you stay at least a few hours ahead of the crowd.

Flying up; An alternative is to fly up to Timmins via Porter Air. Porter used to have a $99 air flight special from the Island Airport up to Timmins. Not sure if they have it now, so look around for specials. Contact the Timmins Airport to see which charters or carriers are flying in and out, then look to them for last minute specials and seat sales.

Alternative Train or Bus; Passenger Trains to North, cancelled, call your politician.
Bus; Ontario Northland, expensive and slow, leaves from North York bus terminal.

Lodging; Think outside of the box!
Hotel yes of course, why did I not think of that… $$$ is a killer unless you make loads of cash now at your job already.
Low cost hotel or boarding house. Yes those exist here, though rarer now. Negotiate a lower cost by renting the room for 1/2 month to full month, sometimes it is less than a 5 night stay. Tell them, weekly cleaning at most and you will change your own towels and bedding weekly. Some strip motels already advertise monthly rates, this is normally for people working the mines or in forestry while they work far from home. Prices range from $600-$900 month
Pre furnished house or apartment, though there are loads more furnished rooms for rent in peoples houses. Those cost from $550-$1250 month up here.
As an example the Kenogami Bridge Inn, has the older travellers inn style arrangement. Smaller rooms, shared bathrooms down the hall at a reduced rate for staying, again they will do longer term rentals as well. Call for pricing.

Now outside of the Box, far out for most people.
Camping and boating
Provincial Parks for the season, forget getting a permanent spot in a provincial park, they go up for auctions and draws now. You can get longer term rates though.
Private campgrounds, from 5 start to 1/2 star campgrounds, we have them all up here.
Ministry Campgrounds, almost all shut down now, due to vandels and lowlifes who thought, hey I can live for free and be an absolute low life pig. Well, jack#ss#s you caused so much damage and money to fix, they have shut almost all of them down. Even the ones that are farther out from towns, they let companies like Miller Paving Group, go in and take over the area to turn into gravel pits mostly and they SHUT THE AREA DOWN. Cause of losers like you, deadbeat vandals. Congrats!!!!
Crown Lands, as a Canadian Citizen you can legally camp for up to 21 days then you need to move your camp. Others an apply for a permit to camp, it is not that expensive, though the price changes, so look it up.
Crown Lands though are getting harder and harder to figure out just where they are now though. The Ministry of Lands and Resources, does not have maps for sale anymore either. Budget cuts.
Have a boat big enough to live on even remotely comfortably, probably a 20 footer or larger. Most cities and towns on lakes and rivers have some marinas, or tie it up, lock it up and leave it for the day, tied to a tree and bike into the town. A few people have done this.
Camping tents, from experience get a bigger tent if you are not actively hiking the north. Even if you are hiking around a larger base tent is a game changer. Living in a little pup tent is ok for a while, but, nothing beets being able to move around in a storm, and possibly getting dry and warm to boot! and local Buy and Sells are a life saver here. I have bought 4 larger tents that way over the years, non were more expensive that $75 bucks. Though the larger tents normally need two people to set up.
At a minimum; Bivi bag, ground sheet and over tarp structure. Camped like this for years and years. Fairly minimal camping, suitable for hiking or biking.
Campers are cheaper up here, while utility and box trailers are more expensive here.
Have a utility trailer, modify it to camp and bring it up, along with a chain to chain it up of course. Like everywhere crime is on the rise.

So lets break this down a bit and go from there.

Crown Lands and Ministry campgrounds are the cheapest option going. O ya, boat camping as well, though I have less experience with doing this.
Expenses; fuel for travelling if you have a vehicle, including bicycles.
Insurance on vehicle $, cell phone $, CC payments per month.
Food $$$ lots more expensive up here than down in the GTA and southern areas. So bring some shelf stable long term supplies with you. Ironically pasta is similar pricing and meat is similar as well. Veggies and fruit are expensive, expensive up here. All year long!
Storage locker for all your belongings. No need to continue to pay high rent on a place you wont be at for a month or more. (Does not apply if you are coming for a week though)
Of course eating out is expensive up here as well, so off to the grocery store you go, up to the deli counter for prepared salads, meats etc.
Plan to live off the land up here, forage, hunt and fish to live. Good luck, you will probably die of starvation. There is very little sustenance hunting here, there are not a lot of animals left, big or small. Of a side note, this is a weird year and up past Temiskaming Shores, there is still loads of snow everywhere. Most roads are still snowbound, so no foraging at all.
Bring your own laptop or netbook along with a small printer of some sort. Resumes, even at the local library it is now almost $1 to print out a page, so cover letter and 2 page resume is going to be $3, then photocopy another .50c a page. That is expensive so bring your own paper, printer and laptop. A decent sized inverter can power all this while your vehicle is running. Alternatives include a universal power unit with an AC/DC converter. That takes even less power to run the laptop then, you only need to run the vehicle every 45min to an hour depending on the power draw and the age of the vehicle battery.

Jobs, you can of course take a job while you look for a better job, say for example you worked at Tim Horton’s or McDonald’s, well go there in the northern town or transfer in. Work for a bit while you look for a better job and decide if you like the town. Some out of the way, little isolated communities are not so friendly to strangers, although they talk a good game. Bilingual is great up here, it is almost 50/50 English and French.

Bring Winter Wear and a portable heater even in August, it sometimes snows then too! The temps at night can and do hover around 10cel even in summer sometimes, so be prepared before you go.

Heat, bring one of those small and efficient heater/cooker propane stoves. With an adapter as well as a hose, it can then be fitted to the top of the 20lb propane bottle or used inside the tent with the hose. Be safe and use your head.

Of course if have a big enough van, you can live down by the river 😉

Or in a dinning tent

Disclaimer; My info for me only, you want to do anything mentioned here, you are on your own, I am not responsible for your death or injury due to lack of proper knowledge or training!


Filed under Blog post, Bushcraft Scroungecraft, Shelter

2 responses to “Moving to the North !

  1. WildE,
    That was a great post. Good advice. Sounds like it was gleaned from hard learned experience. When do we get to share that even Timmons is further south than any of the southern borders in Western Canada?? Thanks for sharing your knowledge of the Great White North!! It is still remote, having had the opportunity to transit through the region a number of years ago. A canoe or folding kayak would certainly aid in get a bit further off the beaten path or paved road. But, then the need for knowledge and experience increase exponentially. Bring a camera or videocam or GoPro. Keep posting brother, I enjoy reading your posts, even if I do not post a comment every time. Cheers.

    • Hey good to hear from ya again.

      YES, Timmins is in line with the border, but the weather here is harsher and O so damper than any of the northern parts of Alberta. Temps and snowfall here matches 3-5 hrs north of Edmonton. Been keeping track for a couple of years now.

      Another example would be there is still snow in the bush and in shade right now. Worse than last year. So, relative actually.
      Cheers and thanks for stopping by!

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