Our readers, real tiny home enthusiasts across the country, share their thoughts and predicaments, inspiring us to work harder and keep going.
These comments on various articles in 2022 gave us pause because they perfectly illustrate the reasons behind the tiny home movement in Canada as well as the obstacles many of you are facing. People asking why they can’t live the way they like, why there aren’t more affordable options for housing in Canada, and why they can’t rent land to tiny home owners.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
“I bought a 2 acre parcel in Chatsworth Township in 2020. Wanted to build a smaller home and being forced to pay for a minor variance even though Ontario min is 188 sq ft. Minor variance application in 2021 $700, in 2022 $1500, an increase of 115%. Also, have to put up $5000 up front should they have to “defend” you. Likely would end up at $15000.” – Anna, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“I think we should also look at designing entire environmentally ‘green’ communities using variations of tiny homes in various sizes, from 200 sq ft up to 6-700 sq ft. These communities could be designed to be self-sustaining in energy, internal transportation, sewage and water, etc. We have amazing technologies now available to us to allow these innovations in communities of the future. Combine these designs with changes in the approval process with Provincial/Federal funding and you could build housing at the rate suggested by the current government. Building conventional sub-divisions won’t work. We would still end up with $500k+ homes which will be increasingly out of reach as we move to the future.” – Bob, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“Bang on! I’ve been saying that for years! We baby boomers are getting squeezed into living conditions not desirable for some. For example. I lived in the country, became separated during the time of refinancing my mortgage. Unfortunately and surprisingly, I was not in a high enough income bracket for refinancing with my bank! Therefore I sold and left Ontario and bought a condo which is NOT my desirable living situation! I’m suffocating in a condo with mere windows on one side only, of it. I lived in a rural community North of Toronto, which I loved, now I’m alone in a City without roots and social connections in Alberta! My mother, with last stage Alzheimer’s remains in a Long Term Facility in Ontario. My guilt and despair of leaving her is creeping in. Somehow there is something terribly wrong with this picture.” – Anonymous Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“I tried to get the mayor of Guelph Ontario to create a tiny house subdivision and rent back lots to tiny house owners. He would not do this. I tried to email premier Doug Ford and my email was rejected. The laws need to change to help with the housing crisis. If I could rent an area in a backyard of a homeowner s house to put my tiny home it would benefit both the homeowner and myself. Who do I talk to to try and get the laws changed?” – Diane, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“These homes are incredible and everything needed to enjoy retirement in a compact comfortable way.” – Michele, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“Building Official here. I work with the OBC all day every day. I could design the smallest possible OBC compliant home no problem. The real issue is land. When you buy a house in a municipality you usually go to a builder and they have bought lots from a developer. The builder gets your permit and pays your fees. Permit fees are based on square footage so let’s say an 800sqft house will cost you $1000 (I think Toronto is like $16/m.sq). The problem is development charges. Every home pays development charge for city services, roads, water, etc. These fees are upwards of $30000 (I think $80k in places like Toronto) for each property no mater the size of the house or lot. So developers and builders benefit from putting the largest number of the largest houses possible in their development to lose the least amount of money to development charges. This is why you see them building super skinny but tall houses these days, or massive McMansions that stretch right to the property lines. If you went to a developer and asked them to create a community for smaller house they would laugh in your face.
What you really need to campaign for is developers to be socially conscious instead of greedy, and municipalities who offer discounted DC charges for smaller home developments. I’ve been putting this idea in the ears of people at my municipality for years. Raise DCs by 200% for houses that do not promote affordable housing (McMansions, maximum lot coverage, 2ft property lines) and offer a large discount for more desirable housing types that align with sustainable and affordable living (under 200k house value, under x sq.ft., larger setbacks and lower lot coverage).” – Joe, Tiny Homes in Canada reader and Ontario building official.
“I keep scrolling all day and let it go, and go back again a month later, and then let it go. I have a “planning” disorder for sure. I can’t stand looking at lots for sale, then what their zoning is, then, how far they are to civilization, and then, if the zoning is right and then…well, you know the routine, it’s driving me absolutely mad. I want to own the land, I want the house built to my specs, and I don’t need a lot of land …so… WTH ? Does this mean, I should just stay where I am and forget this ??” – Cathy, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“I would like to live out there and build a small log cabin home and have chickens to make fresh eggs. Work as much as I can on the Land to share but I like if it can be a permanent place to live one person single with back ground skills mechanic and some Garden work handy person can fix lawn mower .and trimmers good with hands” – Salome, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“Can someone on Ontario disability support program afford a tiny home?” – Denise, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“I just need a nice spot with good views and connections to utilities (that’s the hard part!) I’d buy a small lot of land up north, but those bylaws are a real menace! Why should I build an 800’+ home when I already have a home? Just because it’s on wheels it doesn’t count? I think that so long as things like sewage is being properly dealt with (septic or municipal), if I bought the land I should be able to live on it in any structure I want regardless of size or mobility….“ – Michelle, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“I am in the Niagara Region and also looking for a tiny home community. I love the idea of off grid living. I grew up roughing it and long for the simpler life. I don’t need or want all this filler that so many folks use to convince themselves of their happiness. I want to walk barefoot and get my hands dirty and really have a chance get rid of all the “noise”. I’m willing to relocate anywhere in Canada. I’d love to be a part of building a community, whatever that entails. I want to be of service to those around me, that’s what brings me real joy.” – Jill, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“Such a lovely story. And very inspiring. My husband and I, originally from Vancouver/Victoria, currently live in France where property is sooooo much more affordable than Canada, the US and the UK. However, we are thinking about returning to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. However the proceeds from the sale of our Condo here in France would only be a down payment for a condo anywhere in Canada now. Living in the UK and France now for over 20 years we have become very used to living in small places. So we are very much interested in the Small House movement back in Canada, specifically on Vancouver Island.” – Brent, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“Who is sabotaging the development of tiny house movement? Is it so difficult to organize a “park” or a settlement for those who can’t afford a “palace”, but also wants to live somewhat normal life. Canada has always been “about compassion” and we loved this country for it. Is Canada losing one of its most essential traits?.. This problem that we can’t find a place for a tiny house is just a shame! Total injustice! To whom it may concern: please live and let others live. Let Canadians build their lives the way they want. Resolving this problem would help so many families, kids, seniors, people with disabilities, etc. It could save even lives and health of those who literally kill themselves earning money for a “palace” that they don’t even need now.” – Olvi, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“I am currently 1 of 3 houses that are currently looking for a place to move. Someone called the city on our current location and we have until June 12th to have all 3 units removed.” – George, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“Is this basically a trailer? I’m not looking for a trailer. I don’t want to park my tiny house in a trailer park. I want a permanent home in a tiny house. I want a place where I can live all year round, pay my property taxes and services, the same thing I’d do if I had a ‘regular/normal’ house.” – Victor, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“I currently have a 100 acres of land, and I am currently looking to turn it into a small tiny home park. Their is a lot of red tape and to be honest it is difficult to get through” – Shelley, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“We have and unorganized acreage that we are looking to turn into Tiny House Parking..(10ish Acres of our 100+) will be completely off grid and must be on wheels. Not a *Community.. its a parking spot with a bit of room for a deck.. small shed if you like.. we are going to be speaking with a local gravel company to give us a cost on clearing and building a road and parking pad… Once we have the Quote we will see if we can get enough interest to make the cost worth it. We do live on the property.. we are building a house and dog boarding kennel.. on the other side of the 100+ acres…” – CJ, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“I own a serviced vacant lot in a beautiful community in Georgian Bay ON. It’s a gorgeous waterfront community of 17K people; where homes sell for an average of $750K. My issue is paying taxes to the town every year and not being able to put a tiny home of my choice on my own lot. I am fine with no wheels and abiding by the town set backs etc. However, it is extremely upsetting that I pay money for something I own, yet cannot build/place a home of my choice that is in line with my preferred lifestyle – tiny home living.” – Lori, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.
“Hi, it’s unacceptable that it’s so difficult to find legal, permanent and sustainable parking/full-time living arrangement for families living in tiny houses on wheels (THOW) in Canada/ON. An absolute shame. When can we expect changes?” – Andrea, Tiny Homes in Canada reader.