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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 18, 2020
A new Cape Breton business is offering travelers the opportunity to live small while enjoying the big scenery of the world-famous Cabot Trail.
Visitors to the west coast section of the trail may have noticed two new “tiny houses” that were recently moved to a location in Belle Cote that overlooks the harbour where the Margaree River spills into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The tiny homes, as they are also known, belong to a mainland Nova Scotia family who started a new enterprise called Cabot Trail Tiny House Vacation Rentals.
Kate Page said the seed of the idea was planted when the Fall River family, which also includes husband Dan and children Madelyn, 14, Isaiah, 12, and eight-year-old Eli, visited Cape Breton on a summer holiday two years ago.
“We were really excited because it was the first time we did the Cabot Trail since Dan and I were kids,” recalled Page.
“We were overwhelmed with the beauty and the scenery of Cape Breton — we also saw the opportunity for some unique accommodations, so we started to look for land.”
It didn’t take long for the Pages to find a location that fit their vision. The next step was to either build or acquire the tiny houses required to make their dream a reality. They opted to do both.
They constructed the “Red House” on their property in Fall River. And it was a labour of love as neither Dan nor Kate are certified tradespeople. In fact, Dan is the pastor at a church in nearby Bedford.
“But he does have some building experience and so does my father,” acknowledged Kate.
“There was a large learning curve initially, but I think we now feel pretty comfortable in and around the tiny houses – once we finished the Red House we towed to its new home on the Cabot Trail.”
The Pages purchased the second tiny house, that came to be known as the “Boat House” because it possessed some nautical features, in early June. The bad news was that the seller was in Grand Cache, Alta. The good news was that the Page children were not in school because of the COVID-19 lockdown.
“So we piled into the car and made a five-day drive across Canada – coming back took a little longer,” said Kate. “We even put our signage on it so everyone would know its final destination.”
She added that the family had planned on staying in the home on the return journey only to discover that campgrounds were not yet open.
Both tiny houses are now on the property that they have prepped for a total of five such structures and the Page family is ready to receive their first guests. That could happen as early as the coming weekend, although the first official reservation is for next Monday.
The Pages have been putting the final touches on the new guest houses. All members of the family chipped in to help build the decks and fire pits. And while they will return to their Fall River home later this summer, they have contracted some local assistance to take care of the daily operations of their new undertaking.
Meanwhile, Nova Scotia Business Minister Geoff MacLellan said he was pleased to hear of the new undertaking.
“It’s always great news when new businesses open up and we see people trying to get something going,” he said.
For the record, authentic tiny homes are generally on wheels and can be easily moved. The Page’s two structures are 2.5 metres (8.5 feet) wide and 4.1 metres (13.5 feet) tall. One is 7.3 metres (24 feet) long and the other is 6.7 metres (22 feet).