July 19, 2019 4:50 pm
Updated: July 19, 2019 6:16 pm

Road trip Ontario: Everything to know about renting and operating RVs

WATCH ABOVE: Amy Closter, general manager of Owasco RV Centre in Clarington, talks about common misconceptions and the benefits of travelling in a RV.


Want to travel and explore Ontario‘s beautiful scenery and towns, but don’t want to forego the comforts of home? For those involved in the motor home business, they say renting and operating recreational vehicles (RVs) is less intimidating than it may seem.

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“I think there’s been a shift of perception of RVing. I do believe that there were certain stereotypes attached to our being before. One of the issues we had was, ‘It’s not for people like me,’ and I believe that people now recognize that Canada has a huge backyard which we can play in,” Chris Mahony, president of GoRVing Canada, recently told Global News.

“People are crazy busy and time is an asset. And I think that people are realizing that with their leisure time they can just pick up and get away and go to a whole host of destinations if they choose the RV lifestyle.”

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He noted approximately 65 per cent of those who are travelling by RV are under 55 years old.

“We’re finding more and more sub-35-year-olds want to try RVing and get involved in the lifestyle,” Mahony said.

He said despite a slight softening in the market this year compared to last year in some parts of Canada, there is still an intense amount of interest in RVing.

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Mahony said RV manufacturers have been focusing on ease of operation and using technology to make it easier, taking aim at a misconception many people have about RVs.

“Most of it is just the push of the button,” he said, noting the simplicity of operating equipment such as extending the sides on some models, generators, propane tanks etc.

When it comes to emptying tanks of grey or black water, Mahony said it’s as simple as pulling a hose and lifting a handle.

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“It becomes a bit laughable when we do it for first-timers,” he said.

Global News went to the Owasco RV Centre in Clarington to take a look at different models of RVs. Staff showed vehicles as small as 19 feet and increase from there.

Meanwhile, Mahony had a warning for anyone who operates an RV. He said in Canada, RV drivers can’t park at the side of the road and set up camp — something that is allowed in the United States.

“You have to go to a campground and pay for a night’s stay if you want to be in the letter of the law,” he said.

Common questions and concerns about RVing

Q: What kind of driver’s licence is required?
A: There are three classes of recreational vehicles (A, B and C). A full G-class licence will let you operate many of the RVs available for rent. For the larger vehicles with air brakes, you need a different class of licence.

Q: When are the peak rental periods?
A: The typical peak period, when demand and rental rates are higher, is generally between June and October. To potentially get a noticeably lower rental rate in Ontario, consider renting in April, May or October.

Q: What are the typical costs involved in renting a RV?
A: It will depend on the dealership you rent from, the distance and type of travelling you’re doing, the time of year, and the type of vehicle.

When visiting Owasco, staff said the smaller RVs (i.e. 19 feet) can cost $100 (in off-peak season) and up per day to rent. Those vehicles were estimated to burn about 14 litres of gas per 100 kilometres of highway travel.

Looking at the larger vehicles (24 to 26 feet), the daily rates can start around $140 (in off-peak season) and it was estimated those vehicles could burn about 23 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres of highway travel.

Depending if you’re “dry camping” or connected to a power source, there could be extra fuel costs if you’re relying on a generator for power.

To park the vehicle at an Ontario Parks campsite, the nightly rate can be anywhere between $37 and $52 depending on amenities and if the site has electrical connections (30 amp plugs are typically needed for RVs).

Q: Where are campgrounds in Ontario to park a RV?
A: Click here to see a full list of Ontario Parks facilities. GoRVing Canada also maintains a list of public and private campgrounds.

Q: Where can I find a list of dealers that rent RVs?
A: GoRVing Canada maintains a list of dealerships on its website.

Q: Where can I drain and refill the water for the RV?
A: You can find locations online, such as this RV dump station map. Many Ontario Parks campgrounds have facilities to assist with this.

For a full list of Ontario road trip ideas, click here to see other instalments in our series.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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