Since December, visitors to Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario, have been checking into a brand new hotel, made of old shipping containers — a reused material that's becoming more common in the building world. 

"This hotel is actually the largest shipping-container-based hotel in North America," said Joseph Kiss, president of Ladacor, the Calgary-based company that built the hotel. 

Kiss said more and more people are seeing the merits of recycled shipping containers as construction materials.

"It's a growing trend," he said. "You're going to see a lot of it, and it's quite a good product. What you end up with is a very durable structure."

"You can have everything from a small shed, maybe a cabin, to a single-family home, all the way up to multi-family homes and hotels like our project."

Shipping containers are not only strong and durable, said Kiss, but they also allow for fast construction. The Sioux Lookout hotel was built in 13 months, he said, but regular construction would have taken two years or more. 

Some people also see the containers as an environmentally friendly building option. 

That's because shipping containers arrive in North America bearing goods, but there's nothing to fill them with for a return journey, said Kiss. It's not seen as cost-effective to ship back empty containers, so they're accumulating here.

"There's millions. Literally millions," said Kiss ... and so it's a nice environmentally sustainable use for those [containers]."