I am coming to europe for an undetermined amount of time. our first few weeks are planned out then we are just going to see what happens. has anyone come across places that are not so strict on having a working visa to hire you?
The rules are pretty standard in the Schengen group, which now consists of most of Europe- if you do not hold a Schengen area passport, you need a work visa, period.
You should have an easier time getting at least a UK work permit as a commonwealth citizen (since you are Canadian I assume). Just like in the US, and maybe Canada I don't know, to get a Schengen permit you need to have a company prepared to sponsor you in order to get a work visa.
Just being Canadian will not get you anywhere as far as a work visa for the UK is concerned. However, if you have a parent or grandparent who was born in the UK (and can substantiate this) you can get a work permit for (I think) 6 months. Contact the Visa Section of the British Embassy in Ottawa, or look on their website. By the way, Patrick, what are your views on visitors to Canada (especially Nova Scotia) who try to get jobs without work permits? Just asking.
FYI Europeans aren't even allowed to volunteer, in Canada without a visa, not even for charitable organisations.