It all started in the pandemic. Stacie’s Toronto was changing and becoming noisier and angrier. She decided that, as a co-owner of a marketing company, she could work from anywhere. So, she moved out of her high-rise bachelor apartment and into a 240 sq.ft. tiny house at a campground where life is quiet and slow.
A tiny house journey that started in locked-down Toronto.
“It all started in the pandemic, probably when we went into the first lockdown. I think a lot of people were questioning where they are in life, where they wanted to go and where they wanted to be. I’ve always loved Toronto. I was born in Mississauga and I’ve lived in the area my whole life. For me, all the job opportunities were there and I always thought I had to be there.”
Two years ago, Stacie and her friend started a branding and marketing company, Tablö Creative, that combined all of their passions and allowed them to work from anywhere in the world. When the pandemic started, Toronto was no longer the place that Stacie wanted to be.
“I love the community and the culture in Toronto. But once the pandemic hit, all the restaurants, all the small used book stores started closing down. I was losing all the interesting arts and culture houses that I enjoyed so much. I felt Toronto was always a very friendly city. But, when everyone’s in a state of fear, that can bring out the worst in people. People were just angry, fighting over toilet paper at the grocery store and honking at each other on the streets. With the pandemic, I was stuck at home and there was a lot of construction around my apartment building. There were new condo buildings going up in front of me and on both sides. The noise of the construction was just unbearable. All that made me so anxious to get out of there.”
The contrast between the honking and construction noise and the new life that Stacie describes is staggering. She now lives in her tiny house full time, in a small town an hour North of Toronto.
“I found parking for my tiny home at a beautiful campground. There’s a river and trees on the other side. It’s beautiful to watch the ducks in the morning when I’m having my coffee. It’s very peaceful, very quiet here. And I’m lucky that outside of the campground there are grocery stores and gas stations very close. I’m not very far from civilization.”
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No clear path to finding land for a tiny house in Ontario. But Stacie found a great compromise.
Campgrounds are one of the easier avenues for finding tiny home parking in Ontario, where most municipalities still don’t allow homes on wheels. Stacie’s experience with looking for land for her tiny house was frustrating until she found the campground where she is now parked long-term.
“I would say there is no clear path to finding land for a tiny home at all, at least there wasn’t for me. At first, I tried to find somebody to rent me land. Then, I tried to work with the local municipalities, but they never returned my calls or answered my emails. Or, some of them would say, “We’re going to have a hearing seven months from now and here’s the application process.” But I needed a place to live in two months.”
When Stacie found her campground, she was grateful and relieved. Then, she had to adjust to living away from a bustling downtown.
“Living in a campground is pretty awesome. I do have neighbors on both sides, so it’s not totally isolated. Everyone here is very polite, but it’s not really a community. People acknowledge each other, but generally keep to themselves.”
“There was an adjustment, certainly. One thing was that I needed to get a driver’s license and a car to get around. But now, I don’t have to carry my groceries on the subway. Another thing I noticed right away is the pace of life here is very different. If you go to a coffee shop in Toronto, there will be 20 people in line and the barista is going so fast! Here, I went to a coffee shop and ordered an Americano and it took 10 minutes to make. Nobody is in a rush and everyone’s really taking their time. At first, I found it kind of frustrating. But I slowly realized, it’s actually a lot less stressful.”
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Now, Stacie’s friends all want a tiny home too.
There’s a reason alternative living arrangements, like tiny houses, van conversions and container homes come up among young people in Toronto.
“A lot of my friends still live with their parents. But we’re in our 30s. No one wants to be in that position, but there aren’t a lot of other options. Houses cost millions of dollars. I have a couple of friends who live in a house with, like, five roommates. I used to live in a bachelor apartment, but I lived there for almost 10 years, so they kept my rent pretty low. If I were to move back in now, it would be double the cost. Finding a new apartment is very, very challenging. So yeah, tiny homes are coming up a lot.”
“I’ve had a lot of people over to see the tiny house. Everyone wants one now.”
The takeaway? Tiny homes are awesome. Nature is awesome.
“I love having my own place in nature. I’ve never had that in my life. Even when I had a backyard, when I was growing up, it was very suburban. Lots of chainlink fences and parking lots. I love being able to step outside and smell the fresh air and be with the ducks and geese.”
If you’d like to learn more about finding land to park a tiny house in Ontario, the realities of living in a tiny house, and lots of other topics, make sure to subscribe to Stacie’s YouTube Channel!