Off grid living in the Northwest Territories is not ideal. Life is far too difficult here, owing primarily to the local climate and particularly harsh winters. You also have a few alternatives for growing crops. Raising cattle in some locations might be highly dangerous due to wild creatures. You will either adore or despise life off the grid in the Northwest Territories; there is no in-between.
The Northwest Territories are a typical Canadian northern province with a harsh environment and a low population density. The size of this province is about double that of Yukon, and the population is only slightly higher. Approximately 45k people currently live in the Northwest Territories. The population is fairly stable, and most young people leave the province because it has little to offer them.
In the northern areas of the province, people primarily live off the land, and some don’t even generate their own power. There is simply no purpose in generating power when most of the province lacks cell phone reception and internet access. People that live off the grid here are frequently seen utilizing gas heaters, lamps, or hand-cranked flashlights.
The further north you travel in the Northwest Territories, the more difficult off-grid life becomes due to the climate until it is completely impossible. People that live off the grid in this area tend to gravitate toward areas with lakes and forests, as the lakes give food and the forests provide fuel for heating, cooking, and building shelter. No forests in the far north of this region make life off the grid impossible.
Should You Live Off Grid in the Northwest Territories?
What’s the Climate in the Northwest Territories?
The Northwest Territories is the coldest province in the country, with a predominantly subarctic climate and minimal humidity. Low humidity is important since the higher the humidity, the colder the climate feels. Although the winters might be terrible, temperatures can reach rather high levels throughout the summer, owing to the extremely long days. Summer temperatures average approximately 77°F (25°C), while winter temperatures average around -40°F ( -40C ).
If you’re looking for a province with better weather I recommend checking out Yukon.
What Type of Crops Can You Grow in the Northwest Territories?
Because the Northwest Territories are not ideal for crop cultivation, most people keep cattle in addition to crops because livestock is more resistant to the cold temperature. Berries, grapes, vegetables, and various fruits are the most common crops in this province. In general, the southern areas of the province are the best for growing crops, albeit a greenhouse and compost are required.
What’s Freshwater Like in the Northwest Territories?
The Northwest Territories have abundant fresh water, with literally thousands of lakes. The best thing about these lakes is that they are exceptionally clean. However, I would still recommend filtering and purifying the water. Although the average yearly rainfall is roughly 13.5′′ (342 mm), keep in mind that summers are quite short, and most of the rain falls as snow.
What Kind of Wildlife is in the Northwest Territories?
Because much of the area is undisturbed in nature, this province has many creatures. Wood bison, boreal forest caribou, barren-ground caribou, Peary caribou, muskox, and black bears are among the most prevalent mammals. If you enjoy fishing, this province boasts dozens of lakes teeming with fish, the most frequent of which are arctic char, lake trout, burbot, northern pike, bull trout, whitefish, pickerel, and inconnu. A license is required for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
Check your local regulations before hunting in this province.
How can you Generate Off Grid Power in the Northwest Territories?
Solar power: You will have no trouble generating power with solar panels during the summer, but bear in mind that the days are much shorter during the winter. This limits the number of solar power panels that can generate. The Northwest Territories has one of the country’s most substantial solar power refund programs, with the Alternative Energy Technologies Program (AETP) offering a rebate of up to $20 000.
Wind power: Generating power using wind turbines is not feasible in all areas of this province. You are able to apply for the Alternative Energy Technologies Program if you want to.
Are There Off Grid Living Laws in the Northwest Territories?
Living off the grid is permitted in the Northwest Territories; no regulations forbidding you from doing so. The primary issue with living off the grid in this province is how dangerous it may be, especially if you have no experience living off the grid in a subarctic climate. If you have children, your best option is to homeschool them; homeschooling rules are not too stringent as long as you notify the local authorities.
What’s Road Access Like in the Northwest Territories?
This province has few roadways, with the majority concentrated in the south. There are minor communities in the northern sections of the state. Still, most of them lack road connectivity and rely on airplanes for everything.
What’s the Price of Off Grid Land in Northwest Territories?
The land cost in this province is comparable to that of Yukon; the actual cost of land is cheap, but the cost of housing and property is high. This is because, as in Yukon, everything must be imported. You’ll need a lot of luck if you want to acquire a homestead in this province at a below-market price. Prices are slightly lower in the northern regions of the province. However, this varies from town to town.
What’s the Cost of Living Off Grid in the Northwest Territories?
Because everything must be imported, the cost of living in the Northwest Territories is higher than the national average. In general, the further north you go, the higher the expense of life, especially if the hamlet or town lacks road connectivity.
Check out Prince Edward Island for another Canadian province with a lower cost of living.
What’s the Job Market Like in the Northwest Territories?
This province has a 7.6 percent unemployment rate, higher than the national average of 6.9 percent. The minimum wage is $13.46 per hour, which is greater than the minimum wage in Yukon. Mining, oil, gas, and forestry are the most important businesses. In the northern areas of the province, the aboriginal people subsist off the land through hunting, fishing, and trapping.
Are There Natural Disasters in the Northwest Territories?
Floods, avalanches, blizzards, storms, and wildfires are the most prevalent natural disasters in the Northwest Territories. This province may appear to be a paradise in the summer, but it can swiftly turn into a freezing hell in the winter.
Can You Live Off Grid in the Northwest Territories?
I do not advocate off grid living in the Northwest Territories. This is why I do not recommend living off the grid in Yukon: the environment is not good for growing crops, and generating power will be extremely difficult during the winter.