French people on a trip to Canada during the Coronavirus pandemic

Written by Pauline Viaud

I arrived in Vancouver in September 2019 with my darling as part of a working holiday visa.

We bought an amazing truck camper named Jack, and we travelled for three months in British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and Alaska, and we spent some time on the Haida Gwaii and Vancouver Islands.

Since the end of December, we have been living and working on Vancouver Island, we have settled in a campsite in Campbell River. We planned to stay there until mid-April when my in-laws would arrive, and we were planning to wander together on the island and around Vancouver for three weeks. Our idea was then to go back to the Canadian Rockies, go down to Yellowstone National Park, cross the United States and meet with members of our families who had planned to come to Montréal in July and August.

We live outside a lot, and with the signs that spring was coming, we were looking forward to starting this new stage of our adventure soon!

We heard about the virus, but it all seemed so far away…


On March 16, everything changed. France issued a confinement order, and Canada started taking severe measures to avoid the spread of the virus. All day long, the radio at work was broadcasting information that my colleagues explained to me. It felt like going to war.

Public places were going to close, and I lost my job a few days later since the dry cleaner had to close as there were not enough clients.

We are worried for our families and friends in France, even though everyone is fine for now. We are worried for our friends travelling around the world, but for now, everyone is alright. We are staying informed and exchanging messages with our loved ones and calling them often.

We are not worried about Canada. We feel like the country has taken swift action to fight the spread of the virus, and people are following the instructions.


We are, however, very cautious as we live on a campsite. Therefore, we have to use the common areas a lot: bathrooms, showers, laundromat…

We have to leave on April 1st because our campsite is reserved. We initially had planned to stay around for the remaining three weeks of work.

But today, we are wondering what to do. Antoine is still working in the building industry and has committed to staying until the end of the construction, around mid-April.

As of now, our options are:

–    Go as planned to a parking lot near the construction site, but the toilets are closed.

–    Rent something for the next two weeks, but since there is only one of us working, this is not a good idea financially.

–    Settle in Antoine’s boss’ backyard.

We need to make a quick decision! ?

As soon as the construction is finished, our idea is to try to make the trip we had planned in the south of the island, but we have to find out which places are still open because BC Parks is closing its public places, including the campsites that we usually use.

Of course, we have to consider that my in-laws will have to postpone or maybe even cancel their visit.


Our fear now is that Canada will go into strict confinement. If that were to happen, the issues mentioned above would be the same. In fact, if that happened, what we would need a space that is free, legal to stay in, and that has water so we can wait there!

As for crossing the United States, we suspect that it will not be possible, and we will do otherwise, this is not a problem. We only hope that we get rid of this nasty virus everywhere in the world.

We have considered finding a secluded location in the wild, close to a river for water and close to a lake to fish. We would enjoy nature while waiting for this very peculiar moment to pass. We are self-sufficient as far as electricity goes thanks to our solar panels, and we have extra propane tanks for our oven, fridge and heating. But we can’t imagine cutting ourselves off from the world and no longer being in regular contact with our loved ones!

At no moment have we considered going back to France. We have planned to stay in Canada until October. Even if we have to change and reorganize our plans for the months to come, we will adapt, and we will take the time to explore this magnificent country as much as possible!

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