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

Me & My Shadows

The last leaves are now just reflections of nearly forgotten memories, cast like shadows on the wall.

Nelson Mandela said “there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.”  I think he is right.  I have not yet met the goals that I have set for myself and I know that once I attain these there will always be more.  There is always more to come, I think, even beyond death there is more.

I hope that I still have a lot of time to work my life plan out, but one never really knows.  It seems to me that my future life is set out like a dinner party to which I have have not been invited yet.  Still, I can’t help it!  I hope that Judy Chicago set the table for me!  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to sit in on this dinner party with all the fantastic attendees?

But, I don’t know what this life has in store for me.  The future, my future, just like everyone else’s is somewhere just beyond my grasp.  My future exists only like the shadows of last years leaves which promise that there will be other springs; other falls.

I think about Aesop’s warning to “beware that you do not lose the substance by grasping at the shadow”.   I could use some illumination, but in these short days when the sun casts so much shadow it is not always easy to find the light that will surely come again.  It is easier to focus on the unreachable shadows which are long, sleek, and mysterious.

Thankfully, I can do some shadow exploration tomorrow when I return to THO.  I can’t help it!  I wonder what is waiting there for me?  I know it will be my home, my land, my friends and family.  I know that there is a big party at home this weekend coming.  What else is waiting in tomorrow’s shadow?

Categories: Art, Erazim Kohák, Family, Forest, Open your eyes, Tiny House Ontario, View, Writing | Tags: | 2 Comments

Tiny House News

I will be writing a weekly column for Tiny House Listings.  You can see the first of these here.

This post is dealing with my reasons for going with a 12v system and the steps I took to get this up and running.

Thank you to Steven at Tiny House Listings for the opportunity to write!

Happy reading and enjoy the weekend!

xo L

Categories: Off Grid, Sustainable living, Tiny House Ontario, Writing | 1 Comment

Life Moves

Before I left Tiny House Ontario, I took a couple of photos inside the house.  It always surprises me how much changes there during the day.  Not just out in the forest as one would expect but inside of the house too there is always the flux of change.

My art gallery stays pretty much the same because I very rarely sell a piece of my own work.  Still I hang them on tiny nails so I don’t damage the wooden walls very much, so they wobble with the wind and are very rarely level.  Too, inside, with the switch and the light that I added this year, the wall looks different than it did earlier this summer when I put them up.  Outside the window, the gravel is waiting patiently and settling in.  The big change will come next year when the collected rocks are added and this becomes a flag stone patio.

The shelved wall is always fluid.  From the season that needs heat to the other seasons there is a huge change because all things that freeze are moved to Hamilton with me.  Also there are books that come too, because I can’t live the whole winter without them, namely: Erazim Kohák: The Embers and the Stars, Julia Cameron: The Artist’s Way and all of my own writing.  The other change is warmth and peace of mind in the form of the heater and the carbon monoxide/smoke detector.

There are always little changes too because I refer to the books, use the games, light the candles, burn the sage and so on.  Every tiny thing moves, because life moves and changes.  We too move and change, sometimes these are obvious glaring differences like a move to Australia, finishing a degree, finally finding job security, illness and death.

Most of the time, change is barely perceptible; like the changes I refer to here in the photos.  Only those who monitor change can see them clearly.  I am the sort of person who notices subtle changes and this is why I know that in my life there is a shift happening. I see this as clearly as I see that I did not put the bag of seeds and the candle away in the right spots on the shelves below.  I don’t know the impact of these changes, but I know that they are coming.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” ~ Stephen King

Categories: Erazim Kohák, Off Grid, Open your eyes, Original Art work of Laura Moreland, Stuff, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario, View, Writing | 4 Comments

NaNoWriMo and The Little Bad Wolf

NaNoWriMo is going well.  I am, happily, ahead of schedule of the 1,667 word per day count.  This morning I knew I could not get right down to writing because Rudigrrr Wolf had to go the the vet to have his follow up blood test for Lyme disease.

When he was found, after being abandoned with two other little ones in the woods, the poor little fellow had ticks.  The first test came back negative but 6 months later the disease showed up in his screening.  My poor Bad Little Wolf was treated, but you have to wait 6 months until you do the next test to see if the blood comes back clean.  While he was there he also got his rabies booster shot and because he is so small these vaccines are quite hard on him.  He has been sleeping beside me all day.  Poor little Toot!

I will let you know, Monday or Tuesday when the test results come back if the THO’s Tiny Wolf is clear.

Isn’t he just too gosh darn cute?

Categories: Dog, Tiny House Ontario, Writing | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments