Building a Shipping Container Home in Ontario – 2023 Complete Guide

Are you wondering if a shipping container home in Ontario is the best option for you?

The past decade in Ontario has seen tremendous growth in population and skyrocketing housing prices. The lack of affordable housing has become a very serious challenge in Ontario, Canada. 

According to a 2021 report by Mike Moffatt from Smart Prosperity Institute, Ontario would need to build one million more homes following the projected population growth rate for this decade in Ontario.

Shipping container homes in Ontario are a sustainable and budget-friendly alternative. Hence, the container homes Ontario industry has experienced substantial growth. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the cost of shipping container homes in Ontario, financing options, and the procedure for obtaining permits for a shipping container home in Ontario.

Whether you want to create an exquisite custom container home or you’re looking to purchase a minimalist container home, we’ve made a list of the best shipping container home builders Ontario and prefab shipping container homes you can buy right now.

How much do container homes in Ontario cost?

shipping container homes ontario, Canada
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The cost of shipping container homes in Ontario is determined by factors such as size, design, type, and the number of containers used.

With custom container homes, you’ll likely incur additional expenses such as on-site consultation, renderings, floor plans, etc.

If you’re looking to build a luxurious, custom-made container home with multiple containers, you’ll spend anywhere around $88,000 to $250,000 for a quality design and build. 

Prefab and modular shipping container homes for sale in Ontario are usually much cheaper since the building materials are sourced in bulk and there’s an already-existing design.

For simple, single-level container houses of 160 sq. ft, you can expect to spend between $24,000 and $48,000. 

People who are considering shipping container cottages can even build their own container homes and save money on builders.

Typically, DIY shipping container homes Ontario cost around $130 – $175 per sq ft.

Alternatively, you can purchase modular shipping container homes in Ontario for $200 – $300 per sq ft. 

4 Container homes for sale you can buy right now

1. Cawaja Cabin 20′ – Dwell Containers

  • $48,500
  • One 20’ shipping container 
  • 160 square feet 
  • Single living space
  • 1 bathroom
  • Functional deck included 
20ft shipping container homes in ontario
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Cawaja container home exterior

This tiny home from Dwell containers is designed as a one-man cabin for residential use, guest lodging, or vacation purposes.

The Cawaja cabin design features a nice deck area that can serve as an outdoor hangout space.

The exterior walls of this shipping container home are designed in the classic Dwell exterior style, exposing the raw structure of the container on one side and styled with wood accent panels on the other. 

The inside of the Cawaja cabin is styled in shiplap walls.

There’s a simple living room in an open concept including the sleeping area, kitchen, and then, the dining area which easily converts into a workspace.

The three-piece bathroom on the other side of the living space comes with a fancy, glass shower, standard toilet, sink, and extra storage space underneath the sink area. 

The kitchen also comes in high-quality with a large sink, premium cooking gas, and countertop area, and there’s decent space for your kitchen accessories thanks to the shelves on the walls and the bottom storage cabinet.

This tiny shipping container home can be customized to your taste and delivered to your doorstep in just 2 months. 

2. Honomobo HO5+ – 3BR Container Home

  • $313,365
  • Five 40’ shipping containers
  • 1530 square feet 
  • 3 bedroom
  • 2 bathroom
  • 1 living room
  • 1 kitchen
  • Large glass doors and windows
3 bedroom container home
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This is one of the largest shipping container homes offered by Homonobo.

HO5+ has a remarkable design made with 5 shipping containers.

This container home is built with high-quality materials using standard factory settings. It also features large doors and windows that light up the entire living space. 

The front sliders lead to a large living space that also houses the dining and a modern kitchen on the other end of the room.

Moving further into HO5+, there’s a single bathroom and a  simple storage space right after the kitchen. This shipping container home also features an ensuite bedroom and two other bedrooms. 

There’s a built-in garage beneath the structure and you have several options for customizing your container home, such as adding a staircase leading to the basement in your design.

HO5+ is a spacious and functional shipping container home, it is a great selection for families who want to locate their home in the woods. 

3. The Dwell40 – Dwell Containers

  • $88,500
  • One 40’ shipping container
  • 320 square feet 
  • 1 bedroom
  • 1 bathroom
  • 1 living room
  • 1 kitchen/dining
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Dwell40 container home

The Dwell40 shipping container home converts a 40’ container into a bright, beautiful space.

This tiny home presents a chic, yet functional ensemble, it is a smart investment for couples in Ontario, CA.

Dwell40 has its decently-spaced living room, well-finished kitchen, and dining in an open concept. 

The kitchen has everything you need in a contemporary, linear set-up, the spacious countertop, double-set stainless steel sink, large glossy cabinets, and stunning backsplash blend seamlessly with the living space.

Although the living room is spacious enough to accommodate a workstation, the kitchen countertop area can easily serve as a dining and a workspace.

The bathroom is right after the living space, it is nicely furnished with a tub, modern toilet, and a washing machine.

A glass door on the other end leads to the bedroom, it boasts a stylish, minimalist design, however, you’ll need a few wall cabinets to settle in conveniently. 

4. Honomobo HO4

  • $313,750
  • Four 40’ shipping containers
  • 1280 square feet 
  • 3 bedroom
  • 2 bathroom
  • 1 living room
  • 1 kitchen
ho4 tiny home by honomobo
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Homonobo’s HO4 has an interior design that personifies class. Everything about this shipping container home, from the high ceiling illusion to the flooring and finishes, tells you that it was solidly built.

Unlike most 3-bedroom shipping container apartments, Homonobo’s HO4 puts up the entire structure as a single-level home. 

The exterior view of this shipping container home is just as magnificent as its interior.

HO4 has an incredibly spacious living space designed in an open concept with a large living room, fireplace, and tastefully designed and furnished kitchen as well as a dining area.

The large glass sliding doors and multiple LED lighting bring a warm, natural feel to the living space.  

With the HO4 design, you’ll be getting 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms. The first bathroom is right after the living space, while the other bathroom is positioned appropriately to serve the rooms.

There’s an upgrade option for HO4  to include a second wall of glass depending on customer preference. 

5 best container home builders in Ontario, Canada

1. Giant Containers

Giant containers are one of the world’s best shipping container home builders with shipping container projects in abundance across the world.

They supply new, modified, and custom container structures globally. Giant containers are a Toronto-based company widely known for providing high-quality, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective prefab shipping container homes in Ontario and across the world. 

They have grown massively in credibility, experience, and skills over the years.

These experienced builders have completed remarkable shipping container houses in Ontario and the world at large.

Stackt, the largest shipping container market in Toronto made of 120 containers, was designed and built tastefully by Giant containers. 

You can draw inspiration from this luxury, outdoor-setting Colorado container home built by Giant containers.

Whether you want to keep it simple or go for an out-of-the-ordinary design for your container home, the possibilities are endless with these builders.

Giant containers have the skill and experience to deliver your dream home in record time. 

2. ModHaus+ Steel Shipping Container Homes & Modules

ModHaus+ is an innovative steel shipping container home manufacturer in Ontario.

Their container structures are built in advanced designs and high-quality materials, ensuring sustainability.

These builders are one of the best in the modular-container building industry, they are constantly improving their materials, designs, and technology to meet current needs and preferences. 

Just like other builders, they offer a series of completely-finished model shipping container homes for sale including elegant finishes such as large high efficient windows and doors, luxury vinyl plank flooring, bathroom vanities, high-value gloss kitchen cabinets, and utilities like the HVAC systems, water heaters, electric stove top, and fridges.  

ModHaus+ provides a 3-step service to customers that request customized container homes – design, build and deliver.

They provide both virtual and on-site land assessment, customized drawings, delivery, and installation, however, ModHaus+ doesn’t provide extra site modification services such as the construction of decks, stairs, or railings. 

3. Dwell containers

Dwell containers is a fast-rising, innovative shipping container builder. Their goal is to build sustainable, eco-friendly homes by recycling and repurposing containers.

Dwell containers are a great choice for custom container homes, vacation spaces, container cottages, and commercial structures especially if you live in Ontario, Canada. 

They work with a group of seasoned architects and designers to create unique, off-grid spaces.

If you want a custom container home, Dwell containers offer very impressive fully customized models you can select from.

These builders also accommodate customers who want to go down the DIY route, they offer consultation packages that can cover services such as sorting building permits, designs, and home plans. 

You can hire them as project managers for the building of your container home, they can help you prepare your building site.

They also provide drawings, and other engineering tasks depending on the services required. However, you’ll need to be available on-site and oversee the entire building project.  

4. Honomobo container home builders 

Honomobo is another outstanding container home builder in Ontario with over 7 years of experience in their niche and 100+ shipping containers to their credit.

They are known for creating luxury, ultra-modern structures using technologically-advanced factory techniques that guarantee efficiency and durability in construction. 

They ensure their container homes are made with high-quality, durable steel containers following several quality checks.

These builders affirm that their container homes are modern, beautiful, and incredibly energy-efficient.

Homonobo offers their H-series, a variety of models ranging from a one-container, 160 square feet studio to a luxury, 1,920 square feet home built with six 40-foot containers to customers. 

Homonobo’s signature container homes can be built to include features such as garage space, full-size patio doors, or home automation to suit your style and taste.

They also help their customers with financing, building permits, planning, delivery, and installation.

Homonobo container builders do not provide custom design and build services, you’d need to pick a home plan from the 9 different designs in their H-series.

If you prefer an exclusive, custom-made shipping container home, you may need to consider a different builder. 

5. TargetBox

TargetBox shipping container company provides tiny home solutions and other products such as moving containers, portable storage, and shipping container sales.

They provide both modular homes and container customization to clients. 

They have three standard shipping container home layouts featuring R22 insulation, dry-walled ceilings, vinyl plank flooring, steel frame for doors, and custom exterior painting.

TargetBox is a family-operated business, when you reach out to them you’ll be getting first-hand information and top-notch customer treatment.

They have several offices in Ontario and British Columbia, however. Building a container home with them is easier as you can get your entire service sorted out online through their email or website. 

You can get a quote online to place an order, and your dream home will be delivered to your doorstep.

TargetBox even offers 48-hour delivery of their container units, depending on your specific modification needs.

They ensure their structures are 100% secure to withstand the wind and other harsh weather conditions. 

Are container homes legal in Ontario?

Yes, shipping container homes are legal in Ontario, Canada. The provincial government of Ontario considers shipping containers as buildings.

The key is to follow all the required building codes and zoning laws of the state. There are additional requirements for shipping container homes in Ontario such as: 

  • Size – The legally acceptable minimum size for a separate shipping container dwelling in Ontario is 188 sq ft
  • Standard CSA certifications are required for factory-built shipping container homes, while container structures built on site will require a series of inspections to ensure they meet building codes
  • Suitability – shipping container building plan must meet the municipal zoning by-laws

Obtaining a permit before proceeding to build your home in Ontario is a very crucial condition you must follow.

You’ll need to apply to your local planning department with construction drawings for your project, a completed application form, and sign other documents that may be required by your municipality.

Make sure to get information on your municipality’s zoning by-laws and ensure that your home design satisfies all the stipulated requirements of the building code.

The entire process of obtaining your building permits can be daunting, this is why most standard container home builders help their clients with building permits.

Consider hiring a builder that’ll help you get approval for your new home if you don’t want to go through all the stress.

For those considering a DIY container home, read the shipping container homes Ontario building permit guide to get more information on the building codes and other vital regulations.

Financing your container home in Ontario

It can be very challenging to get financing for shipping container homes in Ontario, Canada.

Container structures are unconventional, hence the possibility of finding a traditional mortgage company to fund your container home Ontario is very low.

However, there are a few other options for financing shipping container homes in Ontario. 

You can take an unsecured personal loan to start the building process for your container home project if you have a good credit score.

You can find personal loans that are up to $50,000 in Ontario, Canada. Home equity loans are a better choice to fund your shipping container home if you require a higher amount and you can meet the qualifications. 

If you’re building a mobile shipping container home in Ontario or a simple tiny container home that won’t be installed on a permanent foundation, you can access an RV loan from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) to fund your project.

Certified builders in Ontario usually help their customers secure this type of loan. 


Ryan Stetson

Ryan Stetson

Currently own two 20' and 40' containers converted into an office/workshop. Having worked in the shipping industry for 6 years, my goal is to share my personal experiences as well as connect potential container buyers with suppliers around the US.

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