Growing in popularity throughout the United States and Australia is the Tiny House Movement, an alternative way of living that offers a unique opportunity for homeownership on a budget. It’s no secret that homeownership in Canada’s major cities, most notably Toronto and Vancouver, comes at a premium. More and more folks are exploring alternative ways of living in affordable housing without the burden of saving a huge down payment or becoming enslaved to a decades-long mortgage.
The good news? There is a solution to attaining Canadian real estate, and no, it doesn't involve robbing a bank!
Today I'm exploring tiny homes, looking at the good, the bad, and all that's in the between.
The question I'm asking? Are Tiny Houses practical for Canadians?
These days, everywhere I look I see an article, a TV show, or even a YouTube channel on tiny houses. Well, this should come to no surprise because tiny houses are all the buzz! Although they come in various shapes and sizes, the size is typically based on its capacity to be moved on a trailer with ease, so it can't be too wide, too tall, or too heavy. As a result, they're typically under 400 square feet, which for many is considered a tight squeeze.
If you're serious about owning a tiny house, you should start with logistics: will your Tiny House be on the road as you explore different locations, or stationary? And of course, there's the obvious question about location. Where are your options when it's time to "park" it?
There are also obvious challenges with tiny house living, which include: 1. downsizing to a smaller space with all your stuff, 2. the legal weight, width and height limits to transport the structure, 3. the municipal regulations or by-laws on where it can be parked, and 4. the building systems, components and operations for living off-grid (composting toilets, anyone?).
Owning a tiny house in Canada also presents the challenge of ensuring its constructed to be comfortable in our Canadian winters, which vary in temperature depending on where you're located.
It's one reason why Tiny Houses are so popular in British Columbia, the province with the mildest climate. Most of Canada, from the Atlantic to the Prairies, deals with four seasons that bring temperatures from sweltering 30 degrees Celsius to bone-chilling minus 30 degrees Celsius.
If you’re DIY-ing the build, it’s crucial to research the right building materials, insulation, and heating & cooling systems that can keep up with the climate. With these kinds of specific needs, it might be worth contracting the build to cold-weather tiny house experts, like Finished Right Contracting in Alberta, or CABANE in Quebec.
Taking all of this into consideration, there are many desirable advantages to living in a tiny house which includes customizing a home unique to your needs, reducing your ecological footprint, and being closer to nature with the flexibility of relocating anytime and anywhere you wish (no need for a magic genie!). You can also take pride in having built a home for yourself, and that is priceless!
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Researched and written by Tanya Ayala Sejean, a student in the PR & Communications Management Diploma program at McGill University.