Canada is, geographically speaking, one of the largest countries on Earth. With a landmass of 9.985 million km², it is the second-largest country in the world. However, Canada is not densely populated due to a relatively low population compared to its landmass. In fact, it is the country with one of the lowest population densities in the world – primarily because Northern Canada is very cold and has limited daylight. But is there an emerging trend of people moving to Northern Canada?
Many people in recent years have decided to relocate from the hustle and bustle of the larger, more populous provinces in favour of moving up to Northern Canada. There’s even evidence of this in RE/MAX Canada’s 2022 Small Markets Report, which analyzed housing market activity in a number of areas, including Whitehorse in the Yukon.
The area known as Northern Canada is composed of the Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory and Nunavut. The population of each territory is 45,515, 40,323 and 39,589, respectively.
What is it Like Living in Northern Canada?
Living in Northern Canada is unlike any other experience you’ll have in your life, according to many residents of Canada’s Great White North. One of the main things that comes to mind when thinking of Northern Canada is the limited daylight observed for half the year. Due to its geographic positioning, daylight hours in Canada’s territories range from just five hours in December to 20 hours of sunlight in June. Twilight is observed between May and July, so there is no real darkness during that time. Fun fact: Yellowknife is the city with the sunniest summer in Canada, with an average of 1,034 hours of sunlight being observed from June to August every year.
While many Canadians may believe they can escape the outrageous surge in housing prices by moving north, this may not be the case. While at one time, housing in Canada’s north was considerably cheaper than in the rest of Canada, this may no longer be the case due to the high cost of living and, in line with other regions across the country, limited housing inventory.
According to the RE/MAX report, Whitehorse (which experienced 2.4 per cent population growth last year) is one of Canada’s fastest-growing small markets and is currently a seller’s market, which is anticipated to continue for the remainder of 2022. Average price is expected to rise three per cent. Condos and townhomes are seeing the most activity, both in terms of sales and new construction. However, supply cannot keep up with the demand, and is driving prices up. Whitehorse has been a hotspot for new immigrants in particular, with municipal programs in place to help them integrate into the community. The region is also seeing out-of-province buyers who are falling in love with the lifestyle of the North.
Limited job opportunities up north and a high cost of living makes the cost of living high for those who aren’t financially secure before making their move north.
In addition to housing costs, the basic cost of living up north is not for the faint of heart. Over the last few years, everyone has seen it in the news, so perhaps the shock value has worn off. But, basic groceries like bread and orange juice tend to cost far more than they would in other areas of the country because of the transportation costs to get the food there.
However, living in Canada’s Territories has lots of great benefits, too. For those who enjoy the winter months, typically, Northern Canada experiences winter temperatures for eight to 11 months out of the year, with temperatures sitting more than 35 degrees below freezing at some points. The area also does experience warmer months. Typically observed in mid-July, the summer months of Northern Canada often see temperatures hover around 16 degrees celsius. Compared to the colder months, that 16 degrees feels like you are living in a tropical location.
Moving to Northern Canada will also allow you to experience a different cultural vibe than you would see in areas like Toronto or Vancouver. With plenty of First Nations in Canada’s northern territories, by relocating there, you will be able to experience the culture for all that is and enjoy all the delicious foods and festivities that come along with Canada’s beautiful indigenous culture.
While job availability up north may be limited, the Canadian Federal Government is always looking for employees willing to relocate and will sometimes even pay for the moving fees. This is something to look into if you want to relocate up north. You will have a secure job, but your moving expenses may also be taken care of, setting you up for success.
Living in northern Canada is not for everyone, but those who do live there tend to love it. In fact, many Canadians who choose to relocate to one of Canada’s territories praise the land for its beauty and diversity. With plenty of mountains and beautiful rivers, Canada’s northern territories may be the place for you if you’re interested in the outdoors. Just make sure to pack your parka!