One of the best reasons to move into a tiny house – or consider tiny living – is to get closer to nature, and see the sights that it has to offer!
Canada, for example, is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. With a country-wide population smaller than the state of California, it would be impossible not to feel alone with nature if you lived there!
However, like all countries, Canada has its own rules and regulations when it comes to tiny living, and so you shouldn’t jump into anything you’re not prepared for without proper research.
Where can you find tiny houses in Canada?
Quebec, right now, is one of the only regions in Canada to support and allow legal use of a tiny house as a residential space or as a recreational vehicle. Many other regions are being challenged by tiny home residents and supporters who believe that tiny-living is a positive thing.
While there are a lot of good reasons to go tiny, make sure it is legal and safe to do so before you settle down.
We’ve compiled a list of places and additional information on tiny living in Canada for you right here!
Are Tiny Houses Legal All Over Canada?
Due to rising housing costs in Canada, many Canadians are looking to downsize their lives and their budgets to go tiny. There are even protests and political movements happening in 2019 to get lawmakers to recognize tiny living as a viable option for lower-income families.
However, not all cities and regions of the country are on-board with this movement.
As stated above, only Quebec is a major supporter of tiny living in Canada.
Currently, for example, the City of Vancouver doesn’t allow tiny houses at all or in any capacity. It also does not have RV parks or things that resemble them and have very strict codes and bylaws on the construction of residences.
The reason for this is that there are a lot of places that tiny houses can fall into the “legal jargon” of it all. Because they are almost like little sheds, recreational vehicles or even mobile homes, it is hard to pin down exactly “what is a tiny house” and how it should be used or built on a universal scale across the country.
What are the Rules for Tiny Houses in Canada?
The rules in Canada for tiny living vary depending on what city or region you are going to be putting down roots.
Organizations such as the BC (British Columbia) Tiny House Collective are working toward the legalization and legitimization of tiny homes, or to help advocate for tiny living and educate owners and builders on the rules and regulations. In 2014 the Tiny Home Alliance of Canada was formed, similarily trying to work toward more accessible tiny living in Canada.
After studying a few of their resources, we have been able to grasp the tiny home situation in Canada a little better!
According to the BC Tiny House Collective, a tiny home as a place of temporary or permanent residence under 500 sq.ft. with the amenities of a permanent home (such as bathroom, kitchen and sleeping area). These are not considered recreational vehicles, so you can’t try to classify it as one in Canada.
THOWs specifically in Canada require that they are 8.5 feet wide and cannot exceed 13.6 feet in height (from the ground to the tallest point). Keep in mind, though, that if it is on wheels, you are limited to where you can put it. This goes back to that RV vs Permanent home debate that lawmakers struggle with.
Also, it is important to remember that many tiny homes that are legal in Canada are going to have permanent foundations, so if you’re looking to live tiny in Canada, you may need to put down real roots!
Laws and Policies:
In Toronto, you can build a very small house as long as it is connected to the grid, and that you apply for a building permit. By the summer of 2020, there may be new policies that support “garden suites” or backyard homes in Toronto (something to look forward to)!
In Ontario, it is possible to buy land and build a tiny home on it but again would have to have a connection to a grid and be built upon a permanent foundation according to the specific zoning and bylaws of the Ontario region.
Furthermore, some RV parks in Canada (not Vancouver) allow tiny homes on their property, but you have to be very careful and make sure your rig coincides with park standards. Many municipalities aren’t equipped, zoned or ready to welcome tiny homes – even in RV parks!
Before you go, check and see if your tiny home meets regulation standards, get second opinions, ask a million questions and be careful where you take it!
Tiny House Projects You Can See in Canada
There are only two well-known tiny house communities or projects in Canada right now.
While there is still a lot of push to get tiny houses more on the map in the Canadian landscape, there aren’t many to choose from. Other countries like the United States have had more time and better results with their tiny house communities, but hopefully, Canada is on our coattails!
Bluegrass Meadow Micro Village
In 2015, Bluegrass Meadow Micro Village opened as one of the first tiny living communities created by the Hummingbird Micro Homes company!
This little community is trying to make it easier to find tiny-house-living in Terrace, British Columbia. Located ten minutes away from the downtown city of Terrace, this tiny home community consists of about 19 homes.
They also include common areas, such as a community cabin, fire pit, and barbeque!
Renting here is about $750 a month for tiny homes. You can also rent a vacant site and park your own tiny home for $500 a month!
Calgary Veterans’ Tiny Homes
The village of Calgary has created a fantastic village made of fifteen tiny homes built for former members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The “Homes for Heroes” is one of many steps to get tiny-living on the map in Canada, while also advocating for these affordable and amazing communities for homeless veterans!
Each home has been equipped with cable and internet, as well as fully functioning kitchens and outdoor deck space. These tiny homes measure in at about 300 sq.ft. and come with murphy beds to make it easier to fit into each space!
While this may not your next tiny community, it just goes to show that the tiny house movement in Canada is making great strides towards a tiny future – for everyone!
On the Rise!
Other projects in development are communities like “Le Petit Quartier”, a tiny house community expected to debut in 2019 (though it seems to have been pushed further out) will be one of the first “urban” Canadian tiny home communities.
Furthermore, Toronto’s “Tiny Town” is a neighborhood of tiny homes on a single street – “Craven Road” in the East End. Many of those homes are single-story, 500 sq.ft. and are a great way to expose tiny living to neighboring communities!
Be on the lookout for future tiny communities as Canada works better toward the tiny living of the future!
Tiny House Tours You Can Join in Canada
Aurora Tiny House Tours
As of January 2018, ZeroSquared company, based out of Calgary, Alberta, has begun touring their Aurora Tiny House model! You can spend thirty minutes exploring this gorgeous, 337 square foot tiny home and dream about what it would be like to own it.
What are you waiting for?
“30 minute tours are available on Fridays between 9am and 2pm at ZeroSquared’s Head Office in Calgary, Alberta,” – Tiny House Talk.
Located on Vancouver Island, Rewild Homes is a company that designs and builds portable cabins and tiny homes for small living! This family-owned company creates 100% custom-built tiny homes that are available to tour at the time of this article!
Get in touch with them through their contact page – reference below – and find a time to check out their amazing cabins and homes!
How Much do Tiny Houses in Canada Cost?
Tiny houses in Canada are bought and sold in Canadian currency. This may seem like a self-explanatory statement, but remembering the exchange rate when you decide to buy a tiny home is important!
Once that’s out of the way, consider your needs and requirements before jumping into a tiny home situation. While tiny living can save a person money in the long run, the house first has to be bought or built.
Not to mention you’ll have to consider land costs, utilities or travel costs (if you are buying a tiny home on wheels).
Sites like Tiny House Listings Canada boast Canadian tiny homes for as little as $25,000, to beautiful properties of land and forest for as much as $155,000!
Generally, you can find a tiny house model that are ready to be custom-built by companies like Rewild Homes for $15,000 (basic/unfinished) – more than $50,000 (fully finished and ready to go). And there are also tiny houses for rent for about $400 per month.
If you’re looking to buy, expect to pay a minimum of $25,000 for a fully finished tiny home for about 300 square feet or more. Anything larger or more “modern/luxurious” than that will be upwards of $50,000. While that is still going to be much cheaper than a traditional family home, some people are wary about spending that much money on only a few hundred square feet.
If, however, tiny living is your dream, a $50,000 price tag will be your final hurdle into the home of your dreams!
Can You Rent Tiny Houses in Canada?
Renting a Tiny House in Canada depends on the rules and regulations in that region.
As we’ve mentioned above, renting or keeping a tiny house as a vacation home is different than owning it and living in it full time. therefore, renting a tiny house in Canada for short periods of time – such as for trips or vacations – is a lot easier to do.
When a tiny home is listed as a vacation home, cabin or temporary residence, the owner is able to use that property or residence as they see fit.
If you’re renting a tiny home in Canada like you would an apartment, you may run into some issues.
If the tiny home is owned privately, the owners of the tiny home must have all the necessary permits and permissions to own, operate and rent out a tiny home as if it were a rental property, rather than a weekend getaway.
If you’re renting privately, you want to make sure you’re vetting your potential landlords and making sure they have those necessary permits or permissions – otherwise, you could get into some trouble, too.
To make things simpler, there are micro-living apartment complexes popping up in places like Canada for a smaller, cheaper living situation – though it’s not necessarily a “house” to call your own.
“At approximately 270 square feet in size, Burns Block features the smallest self-contained rental apartments in Vancouver,” – itc-group.com.
Burns Block micro-living in Vancouver is the perfect setup for those who are looking to live tiny but still want the apartment-living feel. These apartments are modern, tiny and affordable. Once meant to be single-room hotel suites, these apartments are great for the modern tiny-life.
Where to Find and Rent a Canadian Tiny House?
According to sites like Airbnb and Glampinghub, renting a tiny house in Canada is much more popular in Ontario and Quebec.
You can rent locally from a private owner, or even take time to stay in a tiny resort! Whatever you decide, you can be sure that the view and the people are amazing!
In Fernie, British Columbia, settle down in one of Snow Valley Lodging’s tiny homes for vacation rental!
Treated like a resort, guests can choose from regular to pet-friendly tiny homes to rent and stay in. With lofted bedrooms, kitchen amenities and gorgeous sceneries, you’ll be “wow-ed” by their gorgeous setup!
If a resort-style renting situation isn’t your thing, try renting privately from a backyard tiny home! Through sites like Airbnb or Glamping
From tiny cabins to treehouses, renting a tiny house in Canada comes down to preference and location. Whether you’re close to the city in someone’s backyard, to sitting pretty in a beautiful forest, renting a tiny house is a great opportunity!
You can find private, rentable properties in our references pages below!
How do You Keep Warm During the Winter?
Tiny houses are still houses, no matter what climate they are in. If you’re new to the movement, don’t worry! Tons of tiny homeowners have already figured out all the great tips and tricks to keep themselves warm and ready to go during winter months!
We’ve listed a few here:
Modifications and Protective Materials
Skirting your tiny house with materials like foam (covered with lattice wood materials for aesthetic) will keep heat from escaping beneath the tiny house and will help insulate you through the colder weather.
Protecting your resources, such as a propane tank, will also keep you from freezing in the winter months! Many tiny house owners will put a “blanket” around their propane tank for their water heaters to prevent freezing. Pipes can burst if you don’t!
These propane blankets are expensive but worth the investment!
Tip: You may want to cover the wheels of your tiny house (if it is a THOW) with the same sort of covering material as well to prevent loss of air or damage to the wheels in the colder climate!
Make sure your water lines that lead to the sewer are going downhill, not up! This will prevent stagnation, sewer backups and freezing. Let gravity do its work!
Just like your propane tanks, cover any water spigots with insulation to prevent freezing! Otherwise, you may not have access to it until it thaws or if you have to unfreeze it yourself.
Interiors and Tips for Keeping Warm
Many tiny homeowners have woodstoves in their tiny homes. This is not only a simplistic way to be warm in cold weather but also a potentially dangerous asset to have.
Especially in winter if you’re not opening windows, you will need to make sure ALL vents lead to the outside from your woodstove. You don’t want to fill your tiny home with smoke, ash or drain the oxygen from a well-insulated room.
Speaking of insulation, many homeowners like to put plastic over their windows, as you would do in a regular home with poor insulation or no curtains. If you know you aren’t going to be opening your windows for a long time, make sure you take precautions to prevent heat from escaping anywhere you can!
There are also other great tools to use to prevent the cold from getting to you in the wintertime, such as:
- Dehumidifiers (to keep moisture from dampening clothes or furniture)
- Space Heaters
- Rugs and Blankets (to insulate and keep your floor from freezing under your feet)
- Self-Starting Propane Water Heaters
As always, you can warm up a kettle of hot water and make coffee or tea, cozy up in sweaters and blankets and hunker down like a hibernating bear for those colder months that you go tiny.
If somehow, you’re too uncomfortable to live in your tiny home in the cold, you may need to seek help from friends or neighbors who are tiny house owners. Sharing tips and tricks is never a bad thing!
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Maria is the founder of GoDownsize. While studying architecture in Denmark she became fascinated with designing living spaces for boats, tiny houses, RVs, and other small spaces.
She mainly writes about space optimization, interior design, and downsizing. She’s also in charge of our YouTube channel. Read more about Maria here.