O’s alainn an t-aite

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a big fan (and happy customer) of the H.M. Dignam Corporation, which is a company that sells (mostly) inexpensive rural land in Canada. Outside of having amazing deals on land, they have wonderful terms of sale, which I’ll mention a few of:

  • You don’t have to be a Canadian to buy (I mention that mostly because I know that many non-Canadians read this).
  • No-questions financing with a low monthly payment (or pay cash), which means you can buy land as a student or other individual without the kind of credit you normally need to buy vacant land.
  • Pay the monthlies at the normal rate, or pay it off all at once as you see fit if you come into money. The rates are low enough that most people should be able to buy a large rural property with minimal personal sacrifices.
  • If you don’t like your property you can trade it for a different one within two years (which means if you buy something sight unseen, it’s much safer).
  • Detailed maps are available, and most of the properties are on grid and on roads.

I’ll give you a few samples from this month’s catalog so you can see what I mean. Seriously, if this is interesting to you, subscribe to their catalog — you’ll be like a kid in a candy store dreaming about your early retirement to your homestead. Here’s a property on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia — a part of the world that the Scottish settlers described as the most beautiful land they’d ever seen when they arrived (and GQ Magazine’s #2 North American island destination). It’s about half way between the bridge to the island and Bras D’Or lake, and is fifteen acres for a three thousand dollar down payment and then $318 a month.


You can also get incredibly cheap land in Northern Ontario. I’m not really sure that I’d personally want to live as remote as Cochrane, Ontario, but at least if global warming floods the coast lines, it’s a very safe place to be and there are plenty of moose to eat (if it’s your thing, subsistence hunting is very much an option, and you can sell blueberry-moose sausages to rich folk in the city and live like a king — or just make pine needle tea)! This property, 150 acres of mixed land with a big 10 acre pond and a river flowing through it is $5,660 down and then $620 a month, and is fairly typical of what’s available.


The cool thing about places like this is that there are no building codes or zoning, meaning that if you want to build a sand-bag house or an earthship, you won’t have to fight with building inspectors that don’t know anything about alternative construction methods — so not only can you buy the land for almost nothing, you can get away with building something that costs almost nothing.
Maybe you’re thinking that both of those places are far too remote? Even land in Southern Ontario can be had really inexpensively. This property is just north of where I used to live in Tweed, Ontario is on the Trans-Canada Highway, so it’s about two hours from both Ottawa and Toronto, and about half that from Kingston, all major cities. The picture is actually one that I took on a branch the river that flows along the northern border of this property.


And yes, I know, even that property is a little remote if you’re used to being able to stumble out to the 7-11 at 3AM for your dinner, but the hillbilly freedoms it comes with are a more than equitable trade… And if you build your own home and grow a lot of your own food, you really can live the good life on work that you can do over the Internet or by telephone (assuming you can’t generate money or find a job locally).



  1. Elizabeth wrote:


    Monday, October 29, 2007 at 10:18 pm | Permalink
  2. Nicole. wrote:

    We went through a bunch of old photos last week, it’s so much fun to see how young everyone looked.
    We have photos of the “forehead pull” too. Man, Funny stuff.

    Monday, October 29, 2007 at 11:07 pm | Permalink
  3. janey wrote:

    thanks very much for posting that, i’m very interested!

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 9:04 am | Permalink
  4. estrojenn wrote:

    i was in cape breton this summer and dream of moving somewhere on the cabot trail. the ocean there is incredible and the landscape, spectacular. plus i love the acadians!

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  5. Wldfire_1 wrote:

    Such incredable prices on land! I would love to be able to buy something and build my own earthship type place to live! Now that would be living! Of course i would need sat internet, as i dont think i could go without that. ;)

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 12:12 pm | Permalink
  6. shimble wrote:

    earthships.com and earthships.net

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 1:22 pm | Permalink
  7. suigeneris wrote:

    This is inspiring. I would think it’s too good to be true except that you recommend them. I already ordered my catalog.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 3:22 pm | Permalink
  8. Morgan wrote:

    Wouldn’t the land around Hudson’s Bay flood as well?

    Y’all should move close to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan… it’s billed as the “Paris of the Prairies” hehe.

    Hey Shannon, I remember you writing about buying a bunch of land and starting a community of rad modded folk.. Still any interest in that? We should go buy a huge watershed valley somewhere!

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 8:48 pm | Permalink
  9. penski wrote:

    Are these prices in Canadian dollars?

    If so, zomg.


    Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 3:20 am | Permalink
  10. Nny wrote:

    Actually, the funny thing is that Canadian dollars would mean it’s slightly more expensive than if it was American.
    Fuck Yes Canada for bringing our dollar to be worth more than the other the states.

    I’m interested in eventually buying land in New Zealand and building my own earth ship inspired home.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  11. Clive wrote:

    I think I have a postcard of that last picture around here somewhere! Those were the days!

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 9:34 pm | Permalink
  12. estrojenn wrote:

    PS – i ordered the catalogue!

    Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 8:31 am | Permalink
  13. isit420yet wrote:

    I would love to purchase one of those lots, and grow my own crop of marijuana… Is that even legal in Canada?

    Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 10:35 pm | Permalink
  14. natty wrote:

    thanks for the website! I am looking to buy my own land next year and my long term goal is to live off my own land so this is definately a viable option for me. Again, thank you~!

    Friday, November 2, 2007 at 1:57 am | Permalink
  15. Gillian wrote:

    Haha, I’ve never seen that picture of Marty and Clive before. Classic!

    Friday, November 2, 2007 at 7:46 am | Permalink
  16. Tracy wrote:

    Those are amazing prices for land. My uncle and I were just talking about him looking for land that he can use to put a cabin of a sort for hunting, fishing and vacationing. How awesome that would be to own that huge tract of land that the whole family could use and set up on and yet never see each other again if we didn’t want to. Thank you for sharing.

    Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 10:37 am | Permalink
  17. Audrey wrote:

    If anyone actually buys land from this catalogue and builds please keep a blog of it, I would love to see the outcome. Thanks!

    Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at 1:00 pm | Permalink
  18. Kayleigh wrote:

    I know this is late, but I didn’t know you grew up in Tweed! I’m from Belleville, and here Tweed is the butt of most of our jokes. haha.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at 5:52 pm | Permalink
  19. Shannon wrote:

    I grew up in Prince Edward County but lived in Tweed for a year.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at 6:18 pm | Permalink
  20. lornen wrote:

    hmmm I was just curious as
    a native of the language…
    do you speak Irish?

    im pretty sure your title is as gaelige =D


    Monday, March 3, 2008 at 10:13 am | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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