Updated 30 May 2017, originally published May 2013.
Hello and thank you for visiting Nomads on the Road. This article about Remote Canadian Towns and Cities has proven to be hugely popular. So I thought I would update it and add some more information about the towns featured as well as add some new towns and camps that have been brought to my attention. Also while you are here, why not check out some of my photography from Canada, you can do so here.
Canada is a vast and remote land. When around 75 percent of all Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border, it is clear to there are plenty of remote Canadian towns and cities to be discovered. From the frozen north of Nunavut and the Yukon to the awe-inspiring and coastal British Columbia, there are lots of remote Canadian towns and cities out there.
Here are a selection of remote Canadian towns and cities to get the wanderlust in you going.
Telegraph Cove, British Columbia
Telegraph Cove started life as a lumber mill and salmon saltery in the early 20th Century. The area acquired its name in 1912 when the Superintendent of Telegraphs was looking for a lineman’s station and northern terminal for the telegraph line from Campbell River. With a year-round population of around 20, Telegraph Cove find itself nestled between the wild Pacific Ocean and the rainforest on Vancouver Island. While it is certainly remote, located in the far north of Vancouver Island, it does receive its fair share of tourists, with around 120,000 visiting each year.
Tahsis, British Columbia
The little coastal village of Tahsis is one of the most remote Canadian towns in the country. Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the village is around 300km by air from the provincial capital of Victoria. With 300 residents the area is found at the head of the steep and forbidding Tahsis Inlet, part of the spectacular Nooka Sound. The inlet, while making access to Tahsis difficult, is actually a protector of sorts for the town, saving it from the vicious lashings of the Pacific Ocean. With the major income for the town derived from forestry, Tahsis enjoyed a healthy population at its peak of around 2,500. But as the forest industry has declined, so too has the town’s population, it now numbers around 300 residents.
Today, the town has reinvented itself as an outdoor recreation adventure destination. Tahsis offers visitors an abundance of activities in the great outdoors, from hiking, caving and wildlife viewing to a whole range of water sports. Located within the traditional territory of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, Tahsis always offers a fascinating look into First Nation history.
Old Crow, Yukon
A dry community in the middle of the Yukon, Old Crow has, at the last census, 267 residents, the majority of them belong to the Gwich’in speaking Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation community. As the only community in the Yukon which can’t be reached by car, it earns its place in this list of remote Canadian towns and cities. Fly-in fly-out via the Old Crow airport is the only way to access this remote community. Old Crow is named after a Native American chief called Deetru K’avihdik, whose name literally translates as ‘Crow May I Walk’.
Old Crow is situated near the beautiful Vuntut National Park on the banks of the Porcupine River, 120km north of the Arctic Circle.
Grise Fiord, Nunavut
With a name that means ‘place that never thaws’ it would be a good guess to say Grise Fiord is cold and icy. The small Inuit hamlet in Nunavut is the northernmost towns in Canada. Despite a population of just 130, Grise Fiord is still the largest community on Ellesmere Island. The town also holds the distinction as one of the coldest inhabited places in the world, with an average yearly temperature of -16.5 °C.
Located in remote northern Ontario on the Moose River, Moosonee is known as the Gateway to the Arctic. As Ontario’s only saltwater port, Moosonee and nearby Moose Factory Island are only accessible by rail or water, despite being on the same latitude as Calgary. The town was originally the site of a fur trading company set up in 1903 by Revillon Freres and later incorporated into the more famous Hudson’s Bay Company.
Around 138 make this small Quebec town their home, Kegashka, or Kegaska as they pesky French-speaking Canadians like to spell it, was the site of a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post in 1831.Yet it wasn’t properly settled until 1898. Located at the entrance to the Lower North Shite, Kegaska is 37 miles past the end of the road. Literally, the road ends in Natashquan, 37 miles shy of Kegaska. Now the area attracts outdoor enthusiasts, drawn by the excellent hiking, wildlife watching, iceberg viewing and sea kayaking.
Pleasant Camp, British Columbia
Pleasant Camp in British Columbia isn’t remote as such yet it is sparsely populated. It is only a four-hour drive Whitehorse in the Yukon… in summer. Pleasant Camp’s 12 residents are on their own in winter however as the area receives upwards of 300 inches (750cm) of snow each year.
Just 500 miles shy of the North Pole lies the northernmost permanently inhabited community in the world. Alert. Alert is home to scientists and soldiers, unless you are a radar operator or a meteorologist there is a good chance you’ll never visit this remote town. The sun never sets in the summer, while the winter months see the town plunged into months-long darkness.