Off the grid in Canada

David and Sally Cox - Escaping the rat race
Until now, this site has spent too little time reporting on the active off-grid community across the border in Canada. From Ontario to Vancouver, BC, the Canadians have been leading the way, doing what many of us dream of, and doing it in comfort and style.
Over the next few months we will be running regular stories and photos of Canadian off-grid men and women. Please send us your photos and videos.
The Glennon family’s retirement home might just look like a stack of shipping containers of all different colours, just outside Rimbey, 140 kilometres southwest of Edmonton . But once complete, it will be a sprawling, 5,000-square-foot, four-storey building – two levels above ground, a walkout basement and another level below – with four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a games and media room, garage and workshop, and two enclosed decks.
Or take David and Sally Cox, and their dog Megan. For the last 7 years, they have lived in a remote part of British Columbia with boat access only, in a home they hand-built that has running water from the nearby stream. Neighbours number one household per square mile.

They have dry wall, refrigeration, DVD player and two computers plus some mod cons. They live on a very small pension, but that does not mean compromise. “Living off-grid does not have to mean hippy, rustic, back-to-the-land or anything truly revolutionary” says David. “We just have much too much reliance on motors to claim otherwise. But we grow our food, limit our carbon output and generally live on a smaller planet, so to speak. We are locavores.”

The reasons Canadians go off the grid are many and varied, and we will be exploring some of them in future articles (please mail with any story suggestions).

For David Cox it was simple: “the rat race. It is a Machiavellian trap. When I took my family traveling for four months (year 2000) …I had to leave $1700 a month not to live in my house!

“ In Canada that means making $2500 before taxes NOT to live in my house If actually live in the place, the costs just climb.

That is why we are off-grid. Being on-grid is like being one of the human batteries in the Matrix. The system lives off me as much, if not more than I ever lived off it. The system is a giant leach on life. Just a more subtle form of being a serf.“

Over the next few months we will be running regular stories and photos of Canadian off-grid men and women. Please send us your photos and videos.

34 Responses

  1. I am really sick of this beast system that we live in. I am sick of being fake and pretending to like or tolerate the senseless fantasy world that most people live in. I would like to join a community in Ontario where I could learn and/or be mentored so I could permanently be off the grid. I have basic knowledge of framing/roofing and I have been painting most of my working career which I realize is useless for being self sufficient but I am hard working and willing to learn. At first maybe I could trade my work for room and board and then eventually build something for myself? Please email me at
    PS if you have read timby’s comment below that is just the tip of the iceberg.

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