Hearst is a small town in Ontario, Canada on Highway 11, more than 900 kilometres North-North-West of Toronto and Peterborough, and about 300 kilometres North-East of Lake Superior. Established due to the construction of the National Transcontinental Railway, the town was named in honour of William Hearst1.
Hearst sits so far north that it represents the last town in Ontario accessible by car, as anything further north requires the intervention of a helicopter or plane. Supporting a small population2 and the Université de Hearst, Hearst provides a fine base for outdoor pursuits such as hunting, fishing, skiing, camping and snowmobiling.
Hearst basically has two seasons - nine months of freezing cold followed by three months of bug-infested thaw. You can expect temperatures ranging from several degrees sub-zero to 30°C or more, all in the same day. Given such variable conditions, if you think you might need to sleep rough, have something warm to wear!
While the town provides standard accommodation - like the air-conditioned Companion Hotel-Motel3 located in downtown Hearst - you may find yourself at a loose end with limited funds. You could, for a third of the cost of a room at the hotel, have a go at camping at the sites near Fushimi Lake; but, at 41 kilometres from Hearst, that might be a little too far to go. So, what can you do when night rolls in and you need somewhere to get your head down?
Without money, you can still find places to sleep in Hearst. Wherever you lay your head down, you should always remain mindful of personal safety4. If you can, sleep in company - at least then you have someone to hand should you run into trouble. If you're not travelling with others, but have a vehicle - lock it up and park somewhere not too out of the way. Should you find yourself alone and without a vehicle, sleep somewhere not too far from company - like an all-night gas station or diner.
Hearst offers several places where you can sleep not too far off the beaten track.
Esso, 1112 Front Street. The 24-hour Esso has a trucker lounge with couches you can sleep on. If you get kicked out (for something minor like not actually being a trucker), you can sleep in the attached restaurant.
The Beer Store, 1106 Front Street. The Beer Store has a car park, which you can sleep in. You can expect to be cold and have the Beer Store owner shoo you away first thing in the morning - but, if needs must.
Thunderhouse Forest Services, 34 Rousse Street. The parking lot here has a bunch of old school buses used by the tree planters, where you might find somewhere to rest up.
Canada Post Corp, 21 9th Street. You can find a bench across the street from the post office (which sits a block south of the Queen's Hotel strip club).
Hearst Parks. Hearst supports several parks, intended to encourage sports and general community activities. You might chance a stay at one of these, though they're all maintained by the town and therefore may have staff less inclined to support your interest in a restful night's sleep.