Part 3 of 4 – Going off-grid: How Canadians Live off the Land in Tiny Homes

In the last post I discussed some of the ways that Torontonians have implemented the practical simple living aspects of tiny house living. In unique condos, laneway suites, and in smaller houses, buyers find affordable living by creating their own unique reality through their choice of living space, often in ways that are conscientious and sustainable. 

But city life is not for everyone. Getting away from it all or going off grid: whatever you call it, we’ve all imagined it at some point. 

Leaving the city behind is a pipe dream for most of us; for others, it is a reality. Using tiny homes as a vehicle (literally!), some enterprising Canadians live out their dreams of independent living in otherwise inhospitable spaces. As mobile, self-contained units, tiny homes offer the opportunity for individuals with insatiable wanderlust to live closer to nature. Technology makes this possible, when smart living makes the most of the renewable resources: harnessing solar, wind, and geothermal energy, off-grid living limits reliance while still providing many creature comforts, albeit through alternative means.

In this third of four series of articles, we will look at examples tiny living in Canada, and find inspiration from how individuals have taken a leap of faith to create their own unique living space. Our goal is to show a different and unique perspective to living, one that you might be able to identify in your own living practices, ones that perhaps you want in your life, and ones that you can identify in others’ living practices. Using other Whatever living style you seek, Art House Realty, with our focus on curating homes, can help you to find your perfect fit!

(Image: theoffgridcabin.com)

ARCTIC OFF GRID

Meet Jeff Rose and his family of seven who live completely off-grid on a 40-acre plot of land in northern BC. Living debt free and owning their own land provides major incentive for their back-to-nature lifestyle: the Roses manage their busy household with the help of solar panels, generators, waste composting systems, and a rainwater collection and filtration operation.

Permafrost makes prevents building anywhere in the extreme north off-grid an unavoidable way of life, where communities rely on above ground structures (such as the Univik Utilidor) for service. Going off-grid isn’t as easy as plugging in Tesla’s Powerwall; it requires extensive fore planing. Totally mobile 97 square feet tiny homes built by Leaf House, for example, are designed for mobility in the far north, using smart materials to insulate and protect from the elements without adding extra weight. Different from their southern counterparts, a consistent features of these northern tiny homes is their complete self-sustainability achieved with features such as compostable toilet using the humanure system.

(Image: dailymail.co.uk).

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE: THE TINY BOAT

Boats can be tiny homes too! Dreams of independence and sustainability are kept afloat on self-sustained boats that seem to be an idyllic paradise, moored on rivers, lakes, or ocean enclaves.

Like their land counterparts, water versions of tiny homes also lend themselves to ecological concerns and also tend to focus on homemade and reclaimed building materials. Many build their boats by hand, like custom-made The River Den that shores at Wakefield Quebec on the Gatineau River. Using  desalination units (for ocean homes), solar power, that run on solar power. If this type of living suits, you too can build your own tiny floating home!

In Freedom Cove, homeowners have done just that: using reclaimed materials combined with artistic vision, these people have created a floating artist’s colony. A far cry from anarchic Waterworld, these individuals have created floating food garden, and is open to many people.

(Image: trueactivist.com)

BACK TO NATURE: LASQUETI ISLAND, BC

Lasqueti Island in British Columbia refused connection (other than ferry) to the BC grid. Residents provide for themselves, using solar. But as so and so states, this kind of living means constant work to maintain, requiring second level DIY. Outhouses are the norm, and human waste processed as fertilizer.

Solar ovens/sun ovens, and other off grid water solutions for hot water for bathing, washing, and cooking require island inhabitants to move their heating apparatuses with the patterns of the sun. Living becomes a fulltime job on this island.

ART HOUSE: CULTIVATING LIFE

While this kind of living might initially sound more like The Mosquito Coast rather than Swiss Family Robinson for some, many homeowners still wish to incorporate some of these aspects of sustainability and financial independence into their own living solution. 

What can we learn from an off-grid lifestyle? Like Torontonians, island, boat, and arctic dwellers are also impelled by a desire to create their ideal living situation. We at Art House also seek to cultivate your living style, whether in a condo or boat. Come and see us with your preferences!

READ THE ENTIRE SERIES:

Part 1: Living Simply In Toronto: Cultivating Space and Place

Part 2: Tiny Toronto: Small and Simple Living in the Downtown Core

Part 3: Going off-grid: How Canadians Live off the Land in Tiny Homes

Part 4: The World is your Oyster: Intelligent Living Around the World in Tiny Spaces

Until then, share with us what aspects of off-grid living do you adopt into your own home?  How do you conserve energy and reduce your reliance on the grid? And, how would you like to improve your living space by incorporating more of these elements into your living style, and how can we help you to achieve these goals?