Prices have been surging recently across the most popular streaming services, including Netflix, Disney+, and Apple TV+. Because of that, an increasing number of Canucks across the country have been searching for free streaming TV channels to enjoy.
The good news is: there are plenty, and while they don’t offer the same level of quality as paid streams, they prove enough to fulfill your entertainment needs.
So, sit back, relax, and let us show you quality TV for free.
Best for TV Shows
First, we’ll give you the rundown of the best streaming destinations for watching free TV shows since most of us enjoy bingeing TV series in our free time, anyway.
1. CBC Gem
Two of the three plans offered by CBC Gem are free for all Canucks, so if you are looking to enjoy the online programming of one of Canada’s oldest broadcasters, you can do it right away. Even if you go with the Premium account, you’ll get a free month to decide whether or not you want to cancel. As for the quality of the shows it offers, check these out:
- Schitt’s Creek—Schitt’s Creek follows the ups and downs of the once-wealthy Rose family, who have suddenly gone bankrupt and are forced to relocate to a small town where they must learn to live within their means;
- Workin’ Moms—now in its seventh season, Workin’ Moms explores core issues mothers with careers are forced to face, including parenting struggles, work/life balances, and postpartum depression.
CBC’s competitor—CTV—also offers a range of current Canadian and U.S. TV shows for free. However, you need a valid TV provider account if you want to access everything the platform offers. A couple of the best shows you can watch there include:
- Sullivan’s Crossing—based on Robyn Carr’s bestselling series of the same name, Sullivan’s Crossing explores the trials and tribulations of Maggie Sullivan, who once led a privileged life as a neurosurgeon but now faces charges of negligence;
- Shelved—a new and hilarious sitcom taking place at a public Toronto library; the patrons and the staff navigate everyday troubles and tribulations while striving to keep their little workplace running as smoothly as possible.
3. Global TV
Did you know that Global TV also offers free episodes of certain shows? It’s true! Global’s Freeplay feature allows you to stream thousands of hours of amazing shows and movies straight from the Global TV app. You’ll get to enjoy programming such as:
- Departure—a six-episode event series dealing with the investigation around the sinking of The Queen of the Narrows; stay put as the sharp investigative team of Kendra Malley and Dominic Hayes begins uncovering all the answers;
- Family Law—follow the recovering alcoholic and lawyer Abigail Bianchi as she struggles to put her career back on track while working with her estranged father. A dysfunctional family helping other dysfunctional families. What could go wrong?
This one’s for the French-speaking Canadians looking for quality yet free programming. Noovo offers Quebec-produced content free of charge. Even if you don’t connect your TV service provider account, you can access a ton of francophone programming, such as:
- Killjoys—if you are looking for the perfect mix of space travel, bounty hunting, and future cowboys, then Killjoys is for you. You’ll stay with Dutch and his longtime partner, John Jaqobis, as they hunt notorious outlaws across the galaxy;
- Jérémie—a group of friends are confronted with the hassle, turmoil, and responsibilities of the adult world, which they try to navigate often without success between parties, dates, and various friend getaways.
Despite offering a somewhat outdated content library, Tubi does not charge its viewers, and you will find something worth watching. Also, you will encounter ads occasionally, but that’s the price you “pay” when using free services. On the other hand, you can watch Tubi’s offering on any device you can imagine. Sign up today and watch shows like:
- McGraw Avenue—the show explores the struggles of two men with widely different views on life and how they navigate the complicated Detroit neighbourhoods, which is a show with enormous popularity and Canada;
- Hannibal—want to see Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, and Laurence Fishburne at their best? Then Hannibal is the show for you, as it explores the fictional life and relationships of fiction’s most notorious serial killer.
6. Pluto TV
Pluto might be Canada’s best free streaming TV service, as it does not charge its viewers for anything and offers access to thousands of shows and movies. While you still have to sit through ads, they are nothing compared to the available titles, such as:
- The Walking Dead—Rick Grimes and the gang are forced to endure the harshness of a cruel world plagued by a zombie apocalypse, in which they come face to face with ruthless killers, rival groups, and bleak circumstances;
- Star Trek: Strange New Worlds—watch Star Trek’s latest and greatest show exploring the space journey of Captain Pike, also known as Kirk’s predecessor.
Best for General News
7. CTV News
CTV News is a streaming service dedicated to showing local and regional news from Canada and around the world. It offers the latest news, videos, and expert analysis for free to cord-cutters in Canada. Two of the best shows include:
- The Debate—hosted by Mike Le Couteur, The Debate airs every night to discuss various key issues. The show also invites experts to share their insights, experiences, and views about the night’s top stories;
- Power Play—if you are looking to stay on top of the most recent political news, you must tune in to Power Play, a marquee program led by Vassy Kapelos.
8. Global News
In addition to its huge entertainment portfolio, Global TV covers news across the country and worldwide via its Global News channel. You can access the 24/7 live stream from your favourite browser and stay in the loop of everything important happening in Canada:
- 60 Minutes—60 Minutes is one of the most-watched news magazines on television and takes a deep dive into the most prevalent issue facing North America—ranging from bone-chilling crime reports to pop culture, health, and science;
- Crime Beat—Crime Beat investigates the most newsworthy criminal cases in Canada with extensive interviews with family members; on top of that, it explores the impact of crime on the local community.
Similar to Global News’s constant coverage, Toronto City News offers a free 24/7 live stream that you can watch via the official website. Even if you miss any important happenings, the site lists the best news clips you can watch at a later time. Here’s what else it offers:
- CityNews 680—if you want to get your news while on the move, you can tune in to the station’s radio station for the latest news, weather, and traffic reports;
- CityNews App—you can now get immediate notification of the most important breaking news even if you are away from the live and radio streams.
Those interested in politics should also check out CPAC’s news coverage—their comprehensive approach to domestic politics also includes senate and house meetings coverage, the latest on legislative changes, and important keynote speeches. Best of all, there’s no background commentary, so you’ll get the latest happenings without any bias:
- Headline Politics—long-form coverage of Canada’s current political events with interviews with some of the country’s most important politicians;
- L’Essentiel—hosted by Esther Begin, L’Essentiel is available as both a podcast and web series and provides an in-depth analysis of the impact of political decisions.
Best for Lifestyle
Do you love spending your free time watching home improvement shows? Then HGTV and its fixer-upper type of shows is the specialty channel you need to check out. However, HGTV does not have a streaming service, but you can still find its content via Global TV or watch the videos available through its official site. Among the best shows you’ll find include:
- Backyard Builds—contractor Brian McCourt and HGTV designer Sarah Keenleyside help families find more space by taking advantage of their backyards, ultimately creating custom builds with an elevated design that fulfils anyone’s dream;
- Decked Out—professional deck builder Paul Lafrance shows everyone just how to best utilize outdoor spaces by building decks and other installations that will convert your backyard into inspiring green rooms.
Best for Cooking
12. The Roku Channel
Owners of Roku devices and TVs will get free access to one of the best streaming services out there: The Roku Channel. Users will get access to thousands of hit films and TV shows, hundreds of originals and TV channels, and many premium subscriptions. Many of them delve into the world of cooking, and foodies are thrilled they get to watch shows like:
- ¡Qué Delicioso!—get the front seat at a fierce competition in which Latin Americans put their cultural spin on established classic dishes of famous chefs; the prize is $10,000, and the chef with the best fusion dish goes home with it;
- Martha Cooks—if you want to be welcomed to Martha Stewarts’s kitchen, play Martha Cooks, and watch her share her favourite recipes and cooking techniques.
Best for Stock News & Financial Education
13. BNN Bloomberg
If you are a financier, investor, or any other type of businessman or professional concerned with economic matters and market movements, then you should definitely tune into BNN Bloomberg. The good news is you can watch the most important clips via the official site. However, to get access to the live channel, you must sign in with your TV provider:
- The Street—fast-paced view at the latest overnight developments affecting the country’s (and wider) markets and access to important economic reports;
- The Open—Jon Erlichman provides minute-by-minute coverage of trading in North America and shares stories that may affect to move the markets.
Best for Sports
14. CBC Sports
We already talked about CBC Gem’s fantastic TV offering available for free, but this broadcaster also offers live sports streams under the CBC Sports brand. You can also watch replays if you are not able to spectate live. Some of the competitions they offer include:
- Badminton Canada Open—held in Canada since the 1950s, this international open has been attracting competitors from all over the world; in 2023, the event took place at the beginning of July for men’s and women’s singles, as well as all doubles;
- World Volleyball Beach Pro Tour—during the summer months, you can also watch beach volleyball in all its glory for free; right now (July 2023), the World Volleyball Beach Pro Tour is in Gstaad, Switzerland, and CBC offers streams of both courts.
Best for Kids
15. TVO Kids
How about a streaming destination for your kids only? And one you don’t have to pay for on top of that? TVO Kids offers content for both preschool and school-age children. This 100% kid-centred service has a bunch of fantastic animated shows, as well as games and educational videos and apps. For instance, you can watch the following:
- Paw Patrol—there’s rarely a parent out there who hasn’t heard of the Paw Patrol—the country’s favourite computer-animated TV series for children that follows the life of a boy named Ryder and his crew of amazing search and rescue dogs;
- Bookaneers—what about a live-action show that brings educated pirates in front of your children? Bookaneers will first hook them with the exciting world of pirates and then teach them everything from pronouncing words to placing a comma.
The landscape of streaming TV in Canada has expanded significantly in 2023, offering viewers an abundance of excellent free options. If you are not a dedicated binge-watcher looking for the latest exclusives, you’ll find everything you need via the services listed above, ranging from excellent TV shows and news to lifestyle, cooking, and kids TV content. In some cases, you only have to create your account before pressing ‘Play’. That’s all!