What are my fellow urban Canadians doing different about prepping? Here’s some of what I have done and worked.

I hope I’m not duplicating an existing thread, but I thought it would be useful to have some discussion specific to Canadian members, given differences in laws, available products, climate, infrastructure, etc. I’m a newish prepper and am interested in how others are setting themselves up. I live a in a city in Western Canada, in a condo, so I don’t have land, a garage, or tons of storage space. Given those limitations I’m still better set up than most people in my city.

First, my perspective. I really only focus on a two-week scenario. I’m assuming my plan would involved (1) bugging in, (2) assisting three elderly family members, (3) contending with overloaded public services, and (4) no “societal breakdown,” partly because that is such a vague concept. I have no problems with guns but don’t own any and don’t plan to (though I might get armor). There are very different laws here regarding weapons, self-defense, etc., and it would be good for Canadians to be aware of those.

My main scenarios are (1) loss of power during extreme cold or heat, (2) water system breakdown, (3) air contamination largely from fires.

I’ve developed my plan by asking, what would I need to get by, and what shortfalls/losses would I find demoralizing. So I’ve planned on the high end for maintaining hygiene and related items. If the water system went down, the prospect of 00s of 000s or millions of people pooping in their yards or plastic bags (ineptly and in a panic) raises concerns about air and water contamination, and obvious panics about supplies. 

I have food and water preps, medical, and air filtration, so far. I’m investigating solar generators and am debating which one I should get (affordable but also useable over 14 days), as well as a panel. I’d prefer to get a large unit and two smaller ones for elderly family members.

For the elderly family I’ll be assisting, the first question is whether they’re safe to remain at home, or join me. In general, I’ll want to stay away from hospitals and any emergency public service centers as they’ll be chaotic and unpredictable, so psychological and medical aid on site is preferable.

Because I have limited space and am not planning for a very extreme scenario, I’m not going into my preps in detail because they’re pretty standard. But I’m curious what other Canadians, especially urban dwellers, are doing.


  • Comments (3)

    • 2

      I’ve never even been to Canada but sure would like to visit someday.

      There is a forum thread that asks about how prepping is different for people in various areas of the world but it only had one reply from someone in Canada. I’ll post her reply down below:

      Ubique – February 11, 2021

      I currently live in Manitoba, central Canada. Our winters can be brutal. Right now we (and the rest of Canada) are under a nasty polar vortex. The temperatures have been hovering between -45 to -50 celsius with the wind chill.

      Prepping here means preparing for the cold. I run gas heat, so a prep priority is to get a dual fuel gas generator plumbed in for power outages and a direct vent gas fireplace installed if the furnace goes down. Once the garage is built, then solar panels on the roof and a wood/pellet wood stove installed there as back up. The wood stove ould be nice in the house, but it isn’t possible without a major addition/reno.

      The vehicle is a another source of warmth if the power is out. Gas tank always full and topped with methylhydrate to keep gas lines from freezing. A jug of methylhydrate is the same as gas line antifreeze sold in those little bottles, but much more economical.

      I run studded tires in the winter season and carry emergency candles, break out tools and extra warm gear. But, a big caveat here is: I have had a gas line freeze years ago in -32 celsius and my emergency candle barely made a difference. I broke down in a farm yard, no one home, but they had the local custom of leaving the door open for a traveller in distress. I checked and was able to call for help and then wait in my car.

      If the door had been locked, I could have also waited in their barn or if no animals and no warmth there, then I could have burned my spare tire in a safe spot to stay warm.

      Part of my winter prepping is to ensure that I don’t have to drive in hazardous conditions when the roads aren’t fit for travel. The other part is to ensure I have a fighting chance to make it to a city hospital if needed.

      We have a small country hospital that is not capable of handling major health emergencies. We are careful not to have accidents or be careless.

      The ambulances, and RCMP aren’t always around. They have a large area to service. The air ambulance can’t always fly in certain conditions. I had to drive my husband to the closest open hospital over an hour away during a blizzard several years ago when the small regional hospitals were on rotational service.

      In order to avoid winter travel, specialist doctors and dentist appointments are before end of October. Pantry top ups before end of September.

      There is also the mental health side of winter prepping here. The extreme cold is unsettling. You can feel the shift in the atmosphere even inside the house. I think it is instinctual. I light candles where we sit and find they are comforting. The music and television shows are kept positive and lighthearted. We both do puzzles and read. We sleep more until it passes.

      So, that’s the winter side of prepping here.

      Like other areas of the world, we have also been impacted by climate change. We chose our current home partly because the area was not as badly impacted on the projection models.

      Eventually, we hope to find a small acerage and be able to achieve all our prep goals.

    • 5

      Hello from the East Coast!

      Some things are the same for me here, being new to prepping as well. I’m an apartment dweller in an environment that’s technically semi-rural but is basically suburban (there are a lot of small towns smushed together here), with some storage space but not a ton.

      The most realistic scenario is a protracted winter power loss. Water is something of a non-issue. I’m assuming I’m probably bugging in if a short trip to relatives’ houses in other parts of the province isn’t viable.

      • I tend to be someone who gets fixated on gear and equipment for things, so I have ended up with some stuff that is slightly more wilderness oriented than I’ll likely need or, more importantly, be able to use. I’m struggling a little with how to shift to the less glamorous but more practical issue of having a decent amount of food in case of storm or supply chain disruption, etc. It sounds like you’ve done a better job staying focused on the key scenarios.
      • Based on your post and the fact that you live in a place that actually has mass transit, I’m not sure if you have a vehicle, and it may be immaterial to bugging in anyway, but put some effort in expanding my winter car kit to being more of a year-round GHB, and I expanded the tiny medical kit I kept in the glove box into sort of an EDC/mini-GHB with a spare multitool, space blanket, poncho, N95’s, cash, notebook, etc. stuffed into a little plastic container from Dollarama.
      • Solar is of course great, but depending on the layout of your condo and what a winter storm would likely entail, perhaps focusing on a portable power station would be more practical, although that definitely wouldn’t give you 14 days.
    • 1

      One thing to consider especially since you have indicated the potential need for others to join you is how you will determine the need and what timeline you will act on it. If there is a larger evacuation called or a storm approaching, roads and normal options may be limited as the event nears.   Getting clear information is tough, but I found Canada had a decent system in place.   I recently took a vacaation to the olympic penninsula in Washington State, US that included a day trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island in BC, Canada.  I was impressed wtih their guidance website that indicated the Alertable App for your smartphone as well as advised making a bug out bag.  I forgot I has set it up to alert me and I was warned about air quality a week after I returned to California.