Sea cans & shipping containers are no longer just used for hauling cargo overseas, in recent years, they’ve become a popular commodity among the DIY scene due to their durability and portability. You’ve probably already seen some examples of custom containers including offices, homes, workshops, or restaurants, but if not, in this article we’ll walk through some of the more common examples to showcase how you can transform your container into a variety of amazing and functional spaces.

Office Containers

When you’re in need of a professional workspace while you’re on the go or moving from location to location – a modified shipping container/office container may be the best choice for your needs. Whether you’re working at a construction site, school, or even a shipping yard – with a few simple modifications and parts, you can easily add in windows, personnel doors, electrical, and even heating/cooling to keep you comfortable and productive during both the summer/winter months.

Tiny Homes / Sea Can Homes

One of the most popular, and most talked about sea can modifications are tiny homes. Made popular by the HGTV series and the (seemingly unending) rising cost of homes in Canada, tiny homes are a great way to live in a unique, cost-effective, and eco-friendly home. Since shipping containers are built to be stacked and hold thousands of pounds, they make the perfect base structure for homes and other structures. With some careful planning and modifications, you can easily customize your sea can into your dream home.

The best part about creating a shipping container home or sea can home in Canada is that you can customize it exactly to your preferences and style from flooring, walls, exterior design/paint, windows, skylights, and more.

Mobile Workshop Containers

If you work in the trades, you’ll know that you can never have too much space for your tools or equipment. That’s why many of our customers have chosen to convert their shipping containers into a shipping container workshop so that they can keep all their tools in one place and move it from job site to job site. Depending on your specific needs you can easily add in, cabinets, work benches, tables, hooks, racks, shelving, vents, and windows. Additionally, you can also add electricity to your container to power lighting, ventilation systems, heating/cooling, and of course your tools.

Shipping Container Restaurant & Bar

While this is not a widely talked about modification, many restaurateurs have been utilizing shipping containers to create unique and cost-effective restaurants that are very similar to food trucks but don’t require the constant upkeep of a vehicle. By adding in electricity, ventilation, fridges, freezers, cooktops, sinks/plumbing, and anything else you’ll need to run the business – you can be up and running in no time. A great example of this is the Red Fish Blue Fish located on the inner harbour in Victoria, BC. They used an upcycled shipping container to create their amazing restaurant right beside the ocean! Check them out here: Red Fish Blue Fish (

Additionally, if you have the space, another great use for a shipping container is to create your own backyard bar. By cutting out a window on the side, adding in a bar top, and some electricity for the fridge/cooler, you can create a unique and fun space that your friends and family will be begging to visit every weekend!

Emergency Preparedness & Shelter Containers

Many of our customers utilize their shipping containers or sea cans as durable shelters or emergency preparedness containers which allows them to store all their emergency supplies in the event of a disaster. Since sea cans are made of industrial-grade steel and are both wind & watertight, they are the ideal shelter from storms or other dangerous events.

Purchasing a Container

Whether you’re a first-time DIY-er or a seasoned pro, the first step to any project is securing your own shipping container or sea can. Luckily for you at Van Isle Containers, we specialize in the sales of containers across Vancouver Island. Whether you’re looking for an 8ft, 9ft, 10ft, 20ft, 40ft, or even a container office for sale or rent – we can help! Give us a call or check out our selection of containers here.

Additionally, we also provide modification services, so if you’re not sure where to start or just don’t have the time to tackle the project yourself, we can help! Visit our Custom Orders page to learn more or click here to check out some of our featured projects.