With property prices still high in Muskoka, homeowners on a budget are downsizing – in some cases literally. 

The modern-day trend of tiny homes, popular across Canada, has reached cottage country. From a proposed ‘tiny home neighbourhood’ in Huntsville, to cute cottages in Gravenhurst, the tiny home movement is gaining momentum as would-be residents get creative in response to the hot housing market.

What are tiny homes?

The modern tiny house trend can be traced back to the 1970s when environmentalists raised concerns over large-scale development. It really picked up in the 2000s however after the Great Recession and has grown since then thanks to more emphasis on sustainability and affordability.

The province of Ontario defines a tiny home as ‘a small, private, and self-contained dwelling unit’, no smaller than 17.5 sq m or 188 sq ft. The dwelling must have living and dining areas, a kitchen, a bathroom, a sleeping area, and be designed for year-round use. They should also be equipped with necessary services like water and sewage.

Can I build a tiny home in Muskoka?

They may be small, but tiny homes still have to comply with both local bylaws and the Ontario Building Code. And in many areas of Muskoka, they are unfortunately still illegal.

Anyone wanting to build a tiny home should check with their local municipality – different areas have different bylaws and you’ll also need a building permit issued by your municipality before you can start construction.

You stand the best chance of getting a permit in the Huntsville and Gravenhurst areas, which are proving the most progressive on the issue. There are still limitations in those areas though – homes must be built on a foundation (Ie not on wheels or otherwise moveable), have the necessary building permits, and meet the Ontario Building Code and local zoning ordinances. 

Other areas have been slow to move on embracing the tiny home movement, but advocates are pushing the issue into the spotlight and the upcoming election is further adding momentum. Candidates in the Parry Sound district have already voiced their support for legalizing the small structures as a solution to the affordable housing crisis. 

With real estate rocketing and demand for more affordable homes growing, tiny homes may well be the cottages of the future. 

If you’re buying or building a cottage, we can help turn it into your dream home – no matter the size of your property. Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the region’s premier supplier of high performance doors and windows. Our expert team has years of experience in door and window installation, working with the biggest and best names in the industry. To find out more about our products and installation services, get in touch today.