public freakout van life

Ontario man throws a fit and calls authorities over camper van blocking his house's view

While home ownership has long been a widely-held life goal, prices in places like the GTA have forced people to consider alternative lifestyle options, whether that means moving somewhere cheaper or resigning to the reality of renting forever.

Another burgeoning trend is the van life movement, which many in North America are turning to for its lower cost and increased freedom — finance-wise, mobility-wise and otherwise — than the traditional idea of "home."

As van life has progressed from a simpler way of life to a "bohemian social media movement" (as the New Yorker calls it), far more people are out on the road during the day and camping out wherever they can park themselves overnight — which has caused some friction with locals, as one new video caught in the Toronto area shows.

An Ontario "vanlifer" filmed a heated interaction they had with a homeowner this week after they parked out front of the man's house, which overlooks Lake Ontario.

"This guy is fiercely protective of his view of Lake Ontario. He’s also a little bit stupid," the camper wrote along with the clip, which they shared to an Ontario van life community Facebook group on June 2.

The footage begins with the homeowner in question on the phone with the city to report the van, which the driver alleged had been stationed there for less than a half an hour when city bylaws dictate a parking limit of three hours.

"We just get this kind of shit out here all of the time," the homeowner says on the phone, to which the filmer, eating, scoffs "a guy having a sandwich?"

The homeowner then turns to the van lifer, and replies "Yeah right. How many guys come here for a sandwich [and stay] two nights, you have no idea."

public freakoutHe then decides to give the man "a break" by telling the authorities that he rescinds his complaint and will instead just call back in a few hours if the van is still parked there.

After he gets off the phone, the confrontation between the two gets progressively worse, with the driver saying he knows the rules and will not leave a trace upon his departure, and the homeowner asserting that he has lived in the house for many years and is just tired of people parking out there for free and obstructing his view of the lake.

"You block the view and you get a freebie when it's three-hour parking," he says.

While the man featured in the video is being called a "male Karen" by some commenters who are on the side of the van dweller, others seem more willing to understand where the homeowner is coming from.

A few suggested that the man may have mistook the van for another that had been parked there previously, or that he has had to deal with so many vans continuously parked there that he is somewhat righteously fed up.

"I can kind of understand this drunk old man's frustration. He probably paid millions for that home. And now thanks to [van lifer app] iOverlander there are continuously beat-up RVs parked across the street from his house," one person commented.

On the flip side, others bemoaned residents who "think the waterfront belongs to them" and pointed out that these kind of altercations cause more disturbance than a person parking their van outside for a night.

"Imagine being that serious about having an unobstructed lake view and doing well enough in life to afford a house across the street from a lake," one said.

It seems that much like cops and drivers versus cyclists and landlords versus everybody, this far less common homeowner-versus-van-lifer battle is one that will not be going away anytime soon as tensions are worsened by the unaffordability of housing in the area.

Lead photo by

Mike Holler via Ontario Van Life


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