How to watch Canadian TV while overseas - stream CTV, CBC, Crave and more when abroad

Canadian flag on walls of TV studio
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Is it a coincidence the majority of Canada's biggest TV channels start with the big 'C'? Whatever the case, unfortunately it makes sense that you'll struggle to tune into the likes of CBC Gem, Citytv, Crave and others when outside of the Great White North. That's thanks to geo-restrictions preventing viewers from watching outside of the country.

Whether you want to watch Canada's Got Talent, Heartland, or US imports from HBO Max hitting Crave, a VPN is the way to workaround blocks while overseas. Find the best Canada VPN equipped with plenty of servers based across the country, and you'll be able to stream CBC and the like as if you were there. In some cases, this even means accessing 100% free streams where all that's required is for you to make an account.

From tuning into your native broadcaster to streaming Canadian exclusives on Netflix, follow our guide below on how to watch Canadian TV when overseas and stream CBC, CityTV, and more.

Canada's Got Talent judges

(Image credit: Citytv)

Why can't I watch Canadian TV channels from overseas?

Much like when it comes to trying to watch UK TV abroad, Canadian streaming services geo-lock their content so only those within the borders of its country can tune in. This is the case across Canada's free national channels like Global TV and CBC, as well as cable channels and online streaming platforms like Crave. 

The reason? 

Well, it most likely comes down to licensing agreements, with each country and service having their claim on particular titles. Of course, annoyingly this can mean while it might be free-to-watch or available on a cheaper service in Canada, those in another may have to pay more, or vice versa.

For Canadian expats trying to live stream their native broadcaster such as CityTV, you'll face messaging like: "The video you are trying to watch cannot be viewed from your current country or location."

You'll find similar across Crave, TSN, Global TV, and others, too.

Rather than paying out for yet another service while away - especially if it's a one-off - you can use a VPN to watch Canadian TV as if you were right at home.

How can I watch Canadian TV channels from abroad?

We feel your pain of trying to watch your usual streaming service - especially when you pay for it - but find you can't while on vacation, for instance. However, there's no need to pout with a VPN up your sleeve. 

It's fair to say a VPN and the way in which it works on a technical level can sound confusing, but anyone can get one installed and working in time to tune into the latest CTV Drama programming. 

Put simply, a VPN can mask and change your IP address (which is linked to your current location), encrypt your personal data, and spoof the device you're using into thinking you're based elsewhere.

When it comes to watching Canadian TV overseas, you can be visiting your neighbours in the States but appear as though you're on the couch in Toronto.


(Image credit: CBC)

Which is the best VPN for watching Canadian TV?

ExpressVPN - the best VPN for watching Canadian TV abroad (opens in new tab)

ExpressVPN - the best VPN for watching Canadian TV abroad (opens in new tab)
There's a reason ExpressVPN finds itself at the top of most of our VPN buying guides, and that's because of its wealth of servers and security features. It's also the best when it comes to unblocking streaming services, including CBC, CityTV, Crave, and more with servers in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Try now and get 3 months free and a 30-day money-back guarantee on top.

Step-by-step guide on using a VPN to watch Canadian TV from overseas

Using a VPN to watch Canadian TV channels from anywhere is super straightforward. Simply...

  • Sign up and install a VPN (opens in new tab) on your device
  • Locate and connect to one of its servers based in Canada
  • Head to the website or app of the streaming service you wish to use
  • Hit play and enjoy!

When it comes to the order in which you do this, it's a good idea to connect to the Canada VPN server first before heading to the website or app of the streaming service you wish to watch. This covers all bases in case the platform otherwise detects use of a VPN and continues to shut you out. ExpressVPN is pretty tight, but this has been a problem for other VPN providers before.

Alice Marshall
eCommerce Editor

Alice is eCommerce Editor at Future with a focus on streaming services, such as Disney Plus and HBO Max, and VPN. She predominantly writes buying and streaming service guides, as well as how to watch articles. Previously a Commercial Content Writer at Trusted Reviews, Alice has five years experience giving online buying advice, and over two years writing about consumer tech.