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posted on December 14, 2021

You may have visited (or plan to visit) one of Canada’s major cities like Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal, or perhaps you have your sights set on a well-known tourism destination such as Whistler or Niagara Falls, but the great white north is full of secluded, hidden gems worth exploring. Luckily, there are Turo hosts all over the map for those looking to discover some of Canada’s tucked away treasures. 

From paradisiac islands in Quebec and British Columbia to quaint mountain towns in Alberta, our community is far-reaching and these three hosts are here to prove it. While they may not live close to one another, they share a lot in common: for one, Turo is often the only option for making money off their cars in their regions. Whether its ride sharing regulations or a small market size, many of these hosts (and their guests!) don’t have additional transportation options like Lyft or Uber.

What’s also interesting is the natural affinity for the sharing economy in these areas. These hosts live in tight-knit communities that already value peer-to-peer exchanges, so platforms like Turo only add technological convenience to a respected way of using resources. 

Finally, living in a smaller community means these hosts can often make do without their vehicle when running errands or going about town, which can be a short walk or bike ride away. They value the flexibility and simplicity of the platform, and enjoy the opportunity to improve local mobility by sharing their vehicle on Turo when they can.

  1. Take a cruise around Îles de la Madeleine, QC
  2. Take your trip to new heights in Jasper, AB
  3. Explore Haida Gwaii, BC – the “Galapagos of the North”

Next time you visit one of these three Canadian hidden gems, you can count on a smooth, pleasant ride from one of our hosts.  

Take a cruise around Îles de la Madeleine, Québec 

You don’t need a passport to take an island vacation. Quebec is home to a group of islands called Îles de la Madeleine also known as Magdalen Islands in English. It’s a beautiful chain of eight islands. Seven are inhabited and ready to explore by taking Route 199, an 85 kilometer road that crosses the entire archipelago. 

There are all kinds of cool sites and activities to visit. You can do a little shopping in Cap-aux-Meules, visit L’Étang-du-Nord Lighthouse, or visit Belle Anse, a beautiful stop with red cliffs that glow when the sun goes down. If you’re more interested in some scenery and physical activity, you can do some fishing on Pointe aux Loups Island, stroll along Grande Échouerie beach, or explore caves and go kayaking on Grande Entrée Island. 

Meet Vincent in Îles de la Madeleine

Forget being a car enthusiast: Vincent I. is more like a car scholar. He’s been passionate about cars since he’s been born, and he’s got the papers to prove it. 

“I wanted to have a very complete driver’s license, so I got all classes of cars, all classes of trucks (class 1) with air brakes and manual transmissions. I have an international performance rally driver’s license, having been an active racer and Quebec champion in the past. My passion does not stop there! I am also a private pilot. I own several motorcycles, cars, and buses.”

A gearhead by nature, Vincent has seen and driven it all, but the one brand that owns his heart (and dominates his collection)? Mercedes-Benz. In fact, he’s got so many that people mistake him for a Mercedes-Benz dealer.

Car lover, accomplished driver, entrepreneur: the perfect storm that led Vincent to become a Turo host.

“I’ve known about Turo since its inception thanks to TechCrunch email blasts. I thought it was a great idea, as my main business is based on Airbnb. It was a chance for me to vary my activities, with more or less the same way of welcoming people to the Îles de la Madeleine.”

What makes Turo extra special is that it’s one of the only platforms available on Îles de la Madeleine for entrepreneurial-minded individuals interested in the sharing economy.

On a mission to democratize access to accommodation and transportation, and encourage tourism to the island, Vincent seized the unique opportunity to provide both in a well-rounded offer. Not only does it allow him to provide a great customer experience, but it has been a profitable venture he’s proud of.

“The sharing economy has become something very important for me. I earn my living entirely on this principle.”

Beyond profit, one of the things that makes his Turo experience so rewarding is the opportunity to share a magical corner of the world with people, one not many have heard of, but that everyone who visits can’t forget. 

His favourite part? Watching people react in disbelief when exploring the islands and sharing the feeling of being blown away by the extraordinary landscapes all over again. “The îles de la Madeleine are a unique place in the world and of great beauty. I literally fell in love with the great poetry of the Islands, the ocean, and the people who live there.”

Take your trip to new heights in Jasper, Alberta

Jasper presents endless possibilities for adventure. If you’re visiting this alpine town near the Canadian Rockies, Derek and Andrea’s 2014 Ford Edge provides one cozy and convenient way to get around. Guests visiting Jasper in the winter can get in some skating and skiing or give dog sledding and ice climbing a try.

Those visiting during the warmer months can hop in a car on their way to a round of golf or tap into their thrill-seeking side with kayaking, rock climbing, cliff jumping or rafting. 

Meet Derek and Andrea in Jasper

This adventure-loving couple has lived in Jasper for 10 years and enjoy the year-round fun the alpine town offers. Between fulfilling their passion for snowboarding and being avid golfers and mountain bikers, it’s no surprise that the nature-infused lifestyle provided by Jasper suits Derek and Andrea H. well. Today, they are one of only a few Turo hosts in this popular, but slightly secluded, tourist destination. 

When visiting Jasper you’ll easily find all kinds of activities and breathtaking sights to see. While finding something to do is a breeze due to the infinite amount of options, not the same can be said about finding transportation and getting around can prove to be a slightly more challenging endeavour.

“In Jasper, AB there is no rideshare opportunity as there are additional restrictions in our municipality”

“There is a lot of demand with our tourist town and hardly any competition. Another benefit of being in a small secluded town is that Jasper is small enough that you don’t need a car to get around on a daily basis. We are within walking distance to grocery and other stores, so when our car is booked, we don’t feel majorly inconvenienced.”

While listing their car on Turo seemed like the perfect business opportunity, they didn’t join Turo with the goal of becoming hosts. They started off as guests and had such a great experience that they decided to start sharing their own vehicle to make some extra money and save up for a big personal investment. 

After first hearing about Turo in 2018 through a friend who traveled to Europe and raved about it as an “easy, inexpensive way to rent a car”, they decided to check it our for themselves. A few weeks later while traveling in Edmonton they decided to book a car for the day, one they’ve been wanting to test drive.

“We searched on Turo and found one we wanted to rent. We were so impressed with how easy it was to book, pick up, and drop off, that we started a conversation about renting our own car on Turo. We were saving up a down payment to buy our first house. This was an easy way to make extra money and help us save for our first house.”

Now that they’ve become homeowners, car sharing allows Derek and Andrea to cover household expenses. Plus, it allows them to increase local mobility in Jasper, one of the West’s best kept secret. 

Their favourite thing about Jasper is how much less touristy it is compared to other mountain towns such as Banff. “We don’t get the amount of tourists other areas get. In the summertime it is a great time for guests to visit as there are hikes, beaches, and lakes all within a few minutes’ drive from the town of Jasper. Jasper is a beautiful place to visit in the summer with many local restaurants and coffee shops to try out.”

Explore Haida Gwaii, the “Galapagos of the North” 

If you’re planning to make a trip out west, don’t forget to fit in time to see Haida Gwaii, the territory of the Haida nation, which literally translates to “Islands of the Haida People.” This awe-inspiring, secluded archipelago is home to a wide range of activities and is guaranteed to take your breath away.

You can take a fishing expedition or whip around the islands on a boat tour. You can also explore the culture and history of the islands, which has been home to the Haida People for at least 6,000 years.

Meet Julien in Haida Gwaii

Turo as a way to get more… exercise? That’s certainly one reason to join. Or at least it was for Turo host Julien B. in Haida Gwaii. 

“The motivation to start hosting was an attempt to force myself to bike more during the summers. Can’t drive if you’ve got no car!”. That, coupled with the occasional rental car shortages on Haida Gwaii, made listing her car on Turo the obvious choice. 

“We are a small island community of under 5,000 people, so there isn’t Uber, Lyft, or really anything similar in the area. Even if there was, I don’t have much interest in being a driver on those services.  I work full time, so Turo is a nice and easy platform that allows me to manage requests so they make sense with my schedule.”

After years of jetting around the world and experiencing new places, people, and cultures, Julien found her way to Haida Gwaii as the result of a coin toss, and was quickly enchanted by the place’s beauty and community. It was exciting to remember how many cool and unique corners there were within Canada’s borders. 

“When I got home, friends and family were asking about all the exotic countries I had visited but all I wanted to do was recount memories and stories from my travels across Canada! We are so lucky to live in a place with both so much diversity and so much space to roam, and I feel extremely fortunate to have stumbled across the magical islands of Haida Gwaii.”

This interest in travel and community has gone hand in hand with Julien’s participation in the sharing economy, as she was an early participant. After discovering Couchsurfing in 2008, she became fascinated by trying different platforms that facilitated peer-to-peer exchanges. 

“Peer-to-peer platforms have helped me travel further, connect with amazing people and reduce waste and idle resources. I feel like these platforms have totally changed the way we live and have contributed to an important shift back towards a sharing economy which values the benefits and experience of relying on each other.”

She says this is especially true in a place like Haida Gwaii. The islands are disconnected from the rest of the country, so residents of the islands learn to rely on each other by trading skills, food, art, labour and other resources. 

“It often feels that between the land, the sea, and the people, Haida Gwaii provides you with everything you need, and inspires you to give back how possible. Reciprocity is a Haida law, which I think pushes people who live here to give when they can and trust their community will help them when they need it. I often lend out my car to friends or friends of friends, it doesn’t really bother me to have someone use my car when they need it more than I do.”

When asked about her favourite aspects of living in Haida Gwaii, Julien finds it hard to pinpoint just one — understandably. Perhaps its “how the grey whales come into town in the spring; the community banter at the local coffee shop; wandering the giant stands of old growth; kayaking on still water after the rain or witnessing the sacred traditions that Haida people carry on after tens of thousands of years of living and thriving on their lands and waters. It’s really a remarkable place that visitors often say grounds them in a way they hadn’t felt before”.

Interested in exploring new places in Canada? Start browsing for vehicles today.