How to watch Canadian TV in the UK

If you’ve been trying to watch Canadian streaming services like CBC Gem or CTV in the UK, they won’t work. You’ll encounter errors like “the full GEM experience isn’t available outside Canada” and you won’t be able to access any of their content.

The reason this is happening is most likely because you’re trying to access a streaming service that only has the rights to broadcast its content in Canada. And your internet connection is being blocked by the platform.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to get around this problem. All you need to do is make the Canadian streaming services think you’re accessing them from within Canada.

In this article we’ll show you how to do that so you can watch all your favourite Canadian TV in the UK

How to watch Canadian TV in the UK

Total Time: 2 minutes

  1. Create a new account with ExpressVPN or NordVPN

    How to watch Canadian TV in the UK

    Register for an account with ExpressVPN or NordVPN. If you want the very best, these VPNs have been setting the standard in the industry for years. They’re the best VPNs on the market for reliably streaming content.

    ExpressVPN and NordVPN are renowned for their reliable and fast connections, which is crucial for streaming high-quality content without buffering or interruptions. You can get 3 months of an ExpressVPN subscription for free here. And similarly, you can get 3 months of a NordVPN subscription for free here.

    If you don’t like the looks of ExpressVPN or NordVPN, and opt for a different VPN, the process will be very similar, simply continue following the steps below.

  2. Download and install the new VPN app

    How to watch Canadian TV in the UK

    Once you’ve signed up for a VPN you can install it on nearly any device.

    ExpressVPN and NordVPN are available on Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Kindle, Amazon Fire Stick/TV, Chromecast, Nintendo Switch, Android TV and more.

  3. Open your VPN and connect to a Canadian server

    How to watch Canadian TV in the UK

    When you open the app, you’ll need to log in with the credentials you created. Once logged in, select a server located in Canada. This will give you a Canadian IP address. Essentially making it look like you’re connecting to the internet from within the country.

    This step is crucial as streaming services that only have the rights to broadcast their content in Canada will check your IP address to determine your location. And to watch these services in the UK, you need to have a Canadian IP address.

  4. Watch Canadian TV in the UK

    How to watch Canadian TV in the UK

    Once you’re connected to a Canadian server on your chosen VPN, you will have access to all its content, just as if you were in Canada.

Why can’t I watch Canadian streaming services in the UK?

When you try to watch Canadian streaming services from the UK, you often can’t because of two main reasons: geo-blocking and licensing agreements.

  1. Geo-blocking: This is when streaming services use technology to check where you are in the world. If you’re not in Canada, they won’t let you watch their shows or movies. This is because their system can tell your internet connection is coming from the UK, not Canada.
  2. Licensing agreements: Streaming services in Canada have agreements that allow them to show certain movies and TV shows only in Canada. They don’t have permission to show these outside of Canada, including in the UK.

So, because of these rules and technology checks, Canadian streaming services will block your connection and you won’t be able to watch them in the UK.

How do Canadian streaming services block my connection in the UK?

Canadian streaming services block your connection in the UK by using a process that involves checking the location of your internet connection. Here’s a simplified explanation:

  1. IP Address Check: Every device connected to the internet has a unique identifier known as an IP address. An IP address is used to identify a device on the internet or a local network, enabling it to communicate with other devices and online services by providing a unique address for data exchange. The problem is this IP address also provides information about the geographical location of your device. When you try to access a streaming service, the service checks your IP address.
  2. Location Detection: The streaming service uses your IP address to determine where in the world you are accessing the internet from. Each country has a range of IP addresses allocated to it, so the service can tell if you’re in Canada, the UK, or elsewhere.
  3. Access Decision: If your IP address shows you’re in the UK, the Canadian streaming service recognizes that you’re outside its service area. Due to licensing agreements that restrict content to be shown only in certain locations (in this case, Canada), the service automatically blocks access to its content for anyone trying to watch from the UK.

This process is automatic and happens within seconds of trying to access the service, effectively preventing viewers outside of Canada from accessing geo-restricted content.

How will a VPN allow me to watch Canadian TV in the UK?

A VPN allows you to watch Canadian TV in the UK by changing your IP address to one that appears as if it’s coming from Canada.

Essentially, when you use a VPN, you’re connecting to a server located in Canada. This process routes your internet traffic through the Canadian server, making it seem like you are accessing the internet from within Canada.

Streaming services that check your IP address will now see this Canadian IP instead of your real one from the UK.

As a result, the geo-blocking restrictions are bypassed, and you can access content as if you were physically located in Canada.

Will any VPN work with Canadian streaming services?

Not all VPNs will work effectively with Canadian streaming services due to several factors:

  1. Detection and Blocking: Some streaming services are very good at detecting and blocking traffic that comes through VPNs. They maintain lists of known VPN IP addresses and block them. Therefore, a VPN that might work one day could be blocked the next.
  2. Server Locations: To access Canadian content, the VPN needs to have servers located in Canada. Not all VPNs have servers in Canada, so it’s important to choose one that does.
  3. Speed and Bandwidth: Streaming video requires a lot of bandwidth and a fast connection. Some VPNs can slow down your internet speed because of the encryption process or if their servers are overloaded. This can affect your streaming quality or make it difficult to stream at all.
  4. Reliability and Security: Some VPNs are more reliable and secure than others. A good VPN should have a strong no-logs policy, robust security features, and reliable customer support.

Therefore, it’s important to choose a VPN that is known for its ability to bypass geo-restrictions effectively, has servers in Canada, offers fast and reliable connections, and prioritises user privacy and security.

The VPN services we recommend for Canadian TV in the UK

1. NordVPN

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

  • Affordable pricing
  • Effective streaming access
  • Diverse server types
  • Solid speeds
  • Useful add-ons
  • Strong security
  • Limited server locations
  • No virtual servers
NordVPN

Streaming: With its extensive network of servers in Canada and unique Double VPN feature, NordVPN provides extra layers of security while effectively overcoming VPN blocks, making it a reliable choice for accessing Canadian content.

Servers: NordVPN’s extensive network of over 480 servers in Canada provides a vast array of options for users looking to access Canadian streaming services, ensuring there’s always a server with low traffic and high speed available. Its proprietary NordLynx protocol offers fast and secure connections, making it highly effective at circumventing geo-blocks without sacrificing performance.

Privacy: NordVPN’s secure connection and no-logs policy have been verified via three independent audits, including one by Deloitte. The audits have confirmed NordVPN’s adherence to its no-logs policy, ensuring user privacy.

Price: NordVPN offers three pricing plans: Complete, Plus, and Standard. The 2-year plan for the Standard package is priced at $3.19/month, the 1-year plan at $4.99/month, and the monthly plan at $12.99/month. It accepts major credit cards and various payment systems.

Speeds: Below is a table showing the speeds tested for NordVPN. From our tests in New Zealand, NordVPN displayed very good speeds, although slightly behind ExpressVPN, but significantly faster than many other VPNs on the market.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)937.07520.93
NordVPN US server710.906.98
NordVPN UK server531.123.73

Read our full NordVPN review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

2. ExpressVPN

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

  • Physical servers in 104 countries
  • Brilliant for unblocking streaming services
  • Very high-speed Lightway protocol
  • Available on almost any device
  • Very secure
  • Pricey
  • Only 8 simultaneous devices
  • No addons
ExpressVPN

Streaming: Known for its high-speed servers and advanced encryption technologies, ExpressVPN excels at bypassing geo-restrictions with its Smart Location feature, ensuring seamless access to Canadian streaming services without being detected.

Servers: With servers strategically located in multiple Canadian cities, ExpressVPN ensures users can connect to a local IP address for optimal streaming speeds and minimal latency, perfect for accessing regional content on Canadian streaming services. Its TrustedServer technology also ensures that all servers operate using RAM, meaning all data is wiped upon reboot, enhancing privacy and reducing the chance of detection.

Privacy: ExpressVPN’s privacy measures include passing independent audits by cybersecurity firms like Cure53 and F-Secure, ensuring a strong level of security and no significant weaknesses in its macOS, Linux, and Windows apps. More details can be found in the audit reports available online.

Price: ExpressVPN offers three payment plans: a 1-month option at $12.95/month, a 6-month option at $9.99/month, and a 12-month option at $6.67/month. Payment methods include major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and other systems, accommodating a wide range of users.

Speeds: ExpressVPN maintains high download speeds with minimal drop-off, ensuring efficient performance. Tests showed a slight decrease in upload speeds, but download speeds remained fast across various server locations, including the US, UK, and Vietnam.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

3. PureVPN

A mid-range VPN that balances performance and price

  • Affordable
  • Unblocks major streaming services
  • Use on up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Streamlined user interface
  • No log audit verified by KPMG
  • Several free add-ons
  • Buffering on BBC iPlayer at peak times
  • Past concerns with “no log” policy
PureVPN

Streaming: PureVPN stands out with its Streaming Mode and dedicated IP option, which help in reducing the chances of being blocked by Canadian streaming services, ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted viewing experience.

Servers: PureVPN offers specialized servers in Canadian cities, optimized specifically for streaming. This focus on speed and reliability, along with the ability to choose a server based on the streaming service you want to access, makes it a great choice for unblocking Canadian TV shows and movies with minimal buffering.

Privacy: PureVPN has faced criticism in the past for its privacy policies. However, it has recently undergone a no-log audit verified by KPMG in the past 12 months, aiming to reassure users about its commitment to privacy.

Price: PureVPN offers three payment options: a 1-month plan at $10.95/month, a 1-year plan at $3.74/month, and a 2-year plan at $1.96/month. PureVPN accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, and a variety of other digital payment options.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance you can expect when using PureVPN. The VPN has shown variable download speeds across different streaming servers, with some experiencing significant drop-offs during peak times.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN189.44139.82
PureVPN UK Server24.3198.99
PureVPN US Server49.83106.52

Read our full PureVPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

4. Private Internet Access

Affordable and secure VPN with wide device compatibility

  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • Extra features like ad blocker and email protection
  • Verified no-log policy
  • Compatible with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu
  • High use of virtual servers
  • Not as fast as top-tier VPNs
  • Lacks proprietary protocol options
PIA

Streaming: PIA offers a vast network of servers, including many in Canada, and its MACE feature blocks ads and trackers, providing not just access to geo-restricted content but also a cleaner, faster streaming experience.

Servers: PIA boasts a large number of servers worldwide, including a significant presence in Canada, which allows for reliable access to Canadian content. Its flexible settings and the ability to customize encryption levels make it a strong contender for streaming Canadian geo-restricted content, balancing speed with security.

Privacy: PIA’s app is open-source, inviting third-party scrutiny and verification. It has also passed an independent no-log policy audit conducted by Deloitte, affirming its commitment to privacy.

Price: PIA offers three subscription options: 1-month at $11.95/month, 1-year at $3.33/month (upfront cost $39.95), and 3-year at $2.03/month (upfront fee $79). Payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and Amazon payments.

Speeds: Speed tests for PIA showed significant drops in download speeds across various servers. While using WireGuard protocol, speeds were faster than OpenVPN but still slower compared to top-tier VPNs like ExpressVPN.

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off (New Zealand)930516
PIA US server238.527.17300.658.65
PIA UK server2453.77315.787.23
PIA Vietnam server4456.554898.24

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

5. Surfshark

Affordable and secure VPN with unlimited device policy of 2024

  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Robust security and privacy
  • 24/7 responsive chat support
  • Extensive server network in 100 countries
  • Has trouble with services like Hulu
  • Lacks a unique proprietary protocol
  • App can be overwhelming
  • Not the fastest among competitors
Surfshark

Streaming: Surfshark’s NoBorders Mode is specifically designed to bypass network restrictions and VPN blocks, allowing users to access Canadian streaming platforms effortlessly, even from very restrictive regions.

Servers: Surfshark’s advantage in accessing Canadian streaming content lies in its ability to provide users with IP addresses that are less likely to be recognized as VPN-sourced, thanks to a smaller but well-distributed network of servers in Canada. Combined with its CleanWeb feature, it offers a smooth streaming experience by blocking ads and malicious links.

Privacy: Surfshark emphasizes its commitment to privacy with successful DNS leak tests and independent security audits by Cure53, ensuring robust online security and privacy. You can find more about their security audits here.

Price: Surfshark offers a 1-month option costing $12.95/month, a 12-month option at $3.99/month, and a 24-month option at $2.49/month. It accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and various cryptocurrencies.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance when using Surfshark. From our tests, we observed decent speeds, suitable for general use, but not the fastest compared to some rivals.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)940.55520.24
Surfshark US server775.96.15
Surfshark UK server587.793.79

Read our full Surfshark review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

Will a free VPN work for watching Canadian TV in the UK?

A free VPN might work for watching Canadian TV in the UK, but there are several important considerations and potential limitations to be aware of:

  1. Limited Server Options: Free VPNs often have fewer servers and locations available, which can make it more challenging to find a server in Canada that isn’t overcrowded or blocked by streaming services.
  2. Data Caps: Many free VPNs impose data limits, which can be quickly exhausted by streaming video content, leading to interruptions or the inability to watch TV shows or movies in their entirety.
  3. Speed Restrictions: Streaming requires a fast and stable internet connection, but free VPNs frequently throttle bandwidth or have slower speeds due to high user demand on limited servers, resulting in buffering and poor video quality.
  4. Security and Privacy Risks: Free VPNs may not offer the same level of security and privacy as paid services. Some may log your browsing activity, display ads, or even sell user data to third parties.
  5. Reliability and Performance: Paid VPN services invest in their infrastructure and customer support, ensuring more reliable connections and better performance. Free VPNs, lacking this investment, might not provide the same level of service, which can affect your streaming experience.

While it’s possible to find a free VPN that temporarily allows access to Canadian TV in the UK, for a more reliable, secure, and enjoyable streaming experience, a reputable paid VPN service is generally recommended.

Is watching Candian TV in the UK with a VPN legal?

Using a VPN to watch Canadian TV in the UK falls into a legal gray area. While it’s not typically illegal to use a VPN for streaming content, the act of accessing geo-restricted content with a VPN may violate the terms of service of the streaming platform. Here’s a breakdown of the legal considerations:

  1. VPN Usage: In most countries, including the UK and Canada, using a VPN in itself is perfectly legal. VPNs are widely used for various legitimate purposes, including enhancing online security and privacy.
  2. Terms of Service Violations: Streaming services usually have clauses in their terms of service that prohibit the use of techniques or technologies (like VPNs) to circumvent geo-restrictions. While violating these terms is not illegal, it can lead to consequences from the service provider, such as being banned from the service.
  3. Content Licensing: The reason behind geo-restrictions is often related to content licensing agreements. These agreements allow streaming services to show certain content only in specific regions. By using a VPN to access content from another country, you’re bypassing these restrictions, which is against the spirit of these agreements.
  4. Legal Action: Although using a VPN to watch geo-restricted content is unlikely to result in legal action against an individual user, it’s important to be aware of the potential for your account to be suspended or terminated by the streaming service.

In summary, while the use of a VPN to access Canadian TV from the UK is not illegal, it does involve risks related to violating the terms of service of streaming platforms.

How to watch Canadian TV in the UK: FAQs

Q: Can I use any VPN to watch Canadian TV in the UK?

Answer: Not all VPNs are effective for watching Canadian TV in the UK due to streaming services’ efforts to block VPN use. It’s important to choose a VPN known for its ability to bypass geo-restrictions, with a strong presence of servers in Canada to ensure reliable access to Canadian content.

Q: Is it legal to use a VPN to access Canadian TV channels from the UK?

Answer: Using a VPN in itself is legal in the UK, but employing one to access geo-restricted content may breach the terms of service of the streaming platform. While it’s unlikely to lead to legal repercussions, there is a risk of having your streaming service account suspended or terminated.

Q: Will using a free VPN affect my streaming quality?

Answer: Free VPNs often have limitations such as data caps, slower speeds, and fewer servers, which can significantly impact streaming quality. For a smoother and higher quality viewing experience, a reputable paid VPN service is recommended due to their better infrastructure and ability to provide consistent speeds and reliability.

Q: How do I choose the best VPN for watching Canadian TV in the UK?

Answer: When choosing a VPN for watching Canadian TV, look for services with a large number of servers in Canada, strong privacy and security features, fast connection speeds, and a track record of overcoming geo-blocks. Reviews and recommendations from reputable technology sites can be valuable resources.

Q: What happens if my VPN is detected while trying to watch Canadian TV?

Answer: If a streaming service detects you’re using a VPN, you may be temporarily blocked from accessing content or receive an error message. Switching to a different Canadian server on your VPN can often resolve this issue, as not all servers may be detected or blocked at the same time.

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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