Nancy Shadlock never intended to be a troublemaker. The Calgary, Alberta resident simply wanted to build a tiny house to call her own. It was her solution to a transient, renter’s life, where she found herself living in each rented apartment for eight months to a year before having to relocate, yet again.
So, she started the process of building her own tiny house on wheels—and documented the progress on her blog, Margo’s Adventures (the home is named after Nancy’s grandma, Margo).
Almost $25,000 later, plus lots of donated time from family and friends, and Nancy was the proud owner of a beautiful custom tiny house on wheels. Relatively soon after that, she drove it to a parcel of land located in the Bowness community, and owned by a friend, and parked it. She lived happily for six months on the R2-zoned land, before receiving a bylaw infraction notice. Apparently, because her home was on wheels it was considered a camper, not a secondary suite, and had to move.
Tiny houses in Calgary run into bylaw problems
Turns out the City of Calgary doesn’t have any specific bylaws or rules for tiny homes. Tiny houses on wheels that are parked on residential lots are treated as recreational vehicles, and there are specific rules about long an RV can be parked on Calgary streets and whether or not you can live in the RV while it’s parked.
Thankfully, all this is changing because of people like Nancy Shadbolt and because of the support of city councillors like Ward Sutherland. Sutherland was instrumental in overturning Nancy’s eviction notice by helping city planners see that her dwelling was a secondary suite—acceptable in that zoning area—and not an RV. Still, advocates of the tiny house movement are calling for an update on housing bylaws, some of which date back to before the 1980s.
Tiny homes offer a real solution to the housing dilemma
Nancy’s dilemma isn’t unique. For many Canadians, the typical starter home is becoming less and less affordable, and the thought of long-term renting just isn’t plausible. For these people, tiny homes could be a viable solution.
To help you get inspired for tiny home living, here are some of the best tiny houses in Calgary that are currently for sale or rent.
Number 1: Tiny House by Two Pine Homes
Price: $30,000 CDN
There are two matching pine tiny homes for sale near Bragg Creek. Both of the homes have been built on trailers so they are fully mobile, and either option can be customized to meet the needs of the new owners. The builders of these tiny homes have been in the house-building business for over 15 years, so the next owner can take comfort that each tiny home will not only be fully functional but built to codes and standards able to withstand the harshest Alberta winter.
Number 2: Cozy 12 ft x 20 ft. cabin for sale
Price: $10,000 CDN
This pretty tiny home is 12-feet by 20-feet and comes complete with a 4-foot deck, perfect for enjoying the surrounding scenery. The current owner is also willing to custom finish the house for the next buyers for an additional cost. The house is extremely sturdy, with pressure treated skins and floor joists, plus a beautiful loft window, which allows the next owner to turn the loft into s bedroom.
Number 3: Cochrane tiny house has it all for under $20k
Price: $19,750 CDN
This one of a kind tiny house in Cochrane, just outside of Calgary, Alberta, is definitely a rare opportunity! The unique little red home was built in 2015. It’s 23 feet long and offers approximately 240 square feet of living space. The home was built using sustainable products and has the potential for 100% off-grid living. What’s impressive is that the loft can even accommodate a king bed!
Number 4: Room for 8 people!
Price: $75,000 CDN
This tiny home offers 338 square feet of living space and can sleep up to eight people. Listed for sale, it’s currently sitting on a beautiful acreage in Bragg Creek. It comes fully furnished with a double bed, a pull-out couch, a full sized fridge, a stove, cupboards and kitchen table. There is also a fairly sizable bathroom and a den with two bunk beds. The builders installed Hardie board as the exterior cladding and created a comfortable full-time home for some lucky family.
Bonus: Rent a tiny house from Tumbleweed Housing
Price: $99 USD per night
While Tumbleweed Housing builds and sells tiny homes across North America, they also build tiny hotels, which allow vacationers to try out tiny home living. There are tiny homes to rent in Jellystone Park in Hagerstown, Maryland (which starts at $299 USD per night), Peak View Park in Woodland Park, Colorado (which starts at $99 USD per night), and in Mt. Hood Tiny Village in Welches, Oregon (which starts at $129 USD per night), among others.
Of course, Tumbleweed Housing is a well-known and reputable tiny house builder. They offer four different tiny home stock models to choose from and each can be customized to suit your needs. The best part is that Tumbleweed tiny homes are RVIA certified, so you can drive and park it in most places. This is perfect for people who want to travel around Canada in their tiny home!
There are lots of different options for people who are looking for tiny homes in Calgary. You can choose to either buy or rent and there are both mobile and stationary options to select from. This means that you should easily be able to find the perfect tiny home that suits your needs!