Housing and Social Justice

Here is a long article here about a new community in Olympia Washington.  It consists of 29 tiny houses for the homeless.  It is well written and covers a good deal of the background detail.  I think, what they are doing here is great, and thought you might also want to read about it.

Olympia housing :-D

I hope that they have left each of the inhabitants a place to grow a little garden.  I also hope that many communities use this as an example and set up similar sites.

I have only two suggestions.  One is that they put in flooring, or even paint the plywood because it is not easy to keep raw plywood clean.  The other is that the build supplemental stairs since it does not look safe or easy to reach the bottom stair on these houses.

On the topic of handouts, yesterday I saw a video which pointed out some very interesting points.  I know it looks rather boring, but it isn’t.  Contrary to the way it looks it is one of the most interesting videos I have seen on the topic of poverty.  It also offers fresh perspective on hand-outs.

(((Clearly this video is done from an American perspective; however, it does not differ in any clear way from Canada that I could see.  I am wondering how it differs in other countries, if at all?)))

Categories: Community, Money, Neighbours, Open your eyes, Sustainable living, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario, View | Tags: , | 5 Comments


Here is a sweet little business set up in an alley in the arts district in Saskatoon.  An absolutely right sized spot isn't it?

Here is a sweet little business set up in an alley in the arts district in Saskatoon. An absolutely right sized spot isn’t it?

After a recent trip to Saskatoon, a community filled with tiny and little houses, I called the City of Saskatoon, Planning and Building Department.  I asked if there was a minimum size requirement in Saskatoon.  Apparently there is not because they said they did not think that there was a minimum size restriction in the National Building code.  This is the code that Saskatoon uses.

After speaking with three people on the phone, I wrote to the Canadian Code Centre (a couple of times before I got the straight to this question):

What is the minimum size of a house in the National Building Code?
Here is the response I got:   ((((I will comment on this after the letter below))))


Dear Ms. Moreland

 The National Building Code (NBC) does not regulate a minimum size for buildings in the body of the code. Whether a permit is required or not for a building is an administrative requirement, for which each province and territory has detailed requirements (and – which may differ from province to province).

 The National Building Code only contains a few (model) administrative requirements for provinces or territories, should they wish to use them in enforcing and administering their code. Within these model requirements (located in Division C of the NBC) is a reference to a document “Administrative Requirements for Use with the NBC 1985”, which in turn suggests that an exemption for permits would be appropriate if buildings are smaller than 10m² (108 ft²).

This exemption is based on the assumption that such small buildings would be accessory buildings and that there is only 1 such accessory building per primary building. In addition, the 1985 document states that the exemption for small buildings is not intended to waive the safety and health requirements for a series or group of such buildings. This likely means that an authority having jurisdiction (city or municipality) would not use this exemption where people intended to live in such small houses.

In addition, staff at the Canadian Codes Centre are not aware of a study or research report that contains a clear-cut, definitive answer as to whether there is a legal or safe minimum size for a permanent dwelling.

The views expressed in this letter are those of the staff of the Canadian Codes Centre of the National Research Council who assist the Committees which are responsible for the preparation of the National Building, Plumbing and Fire Codes. These views should not be considered as official interpretations of legislated requirements based on the National Building and Fire Codes of Canada because the final responsibility for an official interpretation rests with the authority having jurisdiction.

Kind Regards

Frank Lohmann,
Senior Technical Advisor, Housing and Small Buildings  (NBC Part 9)

NRC Construction
Canadian Codes Centre
1200 Montreal Road Building M23a
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0R6


What I get from this letter is that it is as I previously understood.  There is NO minimum house size in Canadian code!

So, it is therefore up to we Tiny Housers and Tiny House enthusiasts to educate our municipalities and local government to the benefits of tiny living so that we can have these changes in code made to all locals.  We must lobby, speak to elected officials, educate those who are on the election trail and keep making our voices heard if we want to see tiny houses available in communities across this nation.

What I am asking is that anyone who is interested in this lifestyle please take a few moments and write letters to the elected officials in your community.  Copy the building department as well.  If we all lobby together there will be change, community by community.

ALSO, FYI… Here is a story on the awesome community that  opened my eyes a little more; Saskatoon.

Categories: Building code, Environmentalism, Money, Tiny House Ontario, View, Writing | Tags: , , , | 28 Comments

Finding Love

Heart shaped stone

Today I saw a video that I think is very wise.

I thought this was a beautiful reminder of how we can invite simple blessings into our daily life.  Also, it reflects, on natural abundance.

<p><a href=”″>Finding Love</a> from <a href=”″>hailey bartholomew</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Categories: Art, Magical, Open your eyes, Simple living, View | 2 Comments

The Wooden Horse

Today it is Chinese New Year and we enter the year of the Wooden Horse.  The year is said to be the one of renewal in which we throw out useless ideas and purge ourselves of unnecessary attachments.  The Wooden Horse, I think is a perfect year for tiny housers, because along with this purging the year proclaims that progress, modernity and unsentimentality will reign.

According to this tradition it is a good year to clean out your closets, to work as hard as a horse and to advance.  Just my kind of mentality!  I have just been reading a little on the the year and it makes me hopeful that this will be the best year of my life.  I hope this is correct!

All these thoughts about how the year of transformation has closed and we pass into the year of moving forward, made me think about how this is reflected in my own little homestead.  Last year was the first time that I concentrated on the beauty of my home instead of the utilitarian function.   I think that this was accomplished with the addition of all the stone work.  Yet I ordered the stove in that year too and this will transform the house into a reasonably practical year around sanctuary.  The fact that I picked up my new wood stove yesterday and the plans to install it are moving forward this spring seem timely and meaningful within the context of this tradition.

What I mean is that installation will be a lot of very hard work.  The stove while tiny, weighs about a hundred pounds.  As well I do not want it in the house but rather in a box outside, so again next spring I am going back to work again in stone.  I know I have a lot of physically hard work ahead of me, but this will transform Tiny House Ontario into an almost fully functional home.  A simple tool for heating means a lot.

I am giving too much thought, perhaps, but I love that this year, the year where wood and horses intersect, that I will be doing the work of adding a wood burner to my home.  Somehow, everything just feels right.

Here is the box and a peek inside.  I did not take it out yet because it is very heavy and I because I still have to move it to the tiny house, I want to keep it packaged and safe.

The box A peek inside

Categories: Off Grid, Ontario, Open your eyes, Simple living, Tiny House Ontario, View | 4 Comments

A Bit of Small House Family History

At the tiny house last week there was another cold snap but this gave me a good opportunity to do some measurements to see how the solar furnace is working.

I also took a nostalgia trip over to the house where my grandma spent the bulk of her youth.

Read more about this here.


My great Grandparents last resort


Categories: Family, Ontario, Simple living, View | Tags: | Leave a comment