Real Estate

The Chase: A restaurateur looks for an apartment within walking distance of Kensington Market

By Ali Amad| Photography by Brittany Carmichael
The Chase: A restaurateur looks for an apartment within walking distance of Kensington Market

The renter: Andrey Malkov, the 34-year-old co-owner of Hibiscus restaurant.

The story: Andrey had been living in a one-bedroom apartment near Trinity Bellwoods for about a year when he decided it was time for a change. The $975 rent and proximity to Queen West were great, but the apartment was just 250 square feet, which made having guests very difficult—and things were particularly cramped when his parents visited from Russia. Andrey often spent long hours at Hibiscus, the Kensington Market vegetarian restaurant he owns with his younger sister Elena, so he wanted his new apartment to be within easy walking distance.

Option 1

A two-bedroom apartment at Dupont and Ossington, advertised for $1,300 per month

Andrey decided he’d move in with a friend, so they could split the rent. The two of them toured an apartment located a short bus ride away from Ossington Station. They considered applying, because it was the biggest, most affordable two-bedroom place they’d seen. But they were turned off by the dozen other people at the showing, which seemed like a definite precursor to a nasty bidding war. They may still have tried to get the place if not for an odd, musty smell that permeated the entire space.

Option 2

A room in a five-bedroom house on Nassau Street (near College and Spadina), advertised for $550 per month

After about three months of fruitless searching, Andrey’s friend lost interest, so Andrey began searching Craigslist for solo apartments, and eventually stumbled across a promising ad for a vegetarian commune in Kensington Market, steps away from his restaurant. He had lived in a similar type of place in Leslieville years earlier, and he missed the collaborative, community lifestyle. He sent several messages to the listing’s email address, but he never heard back.

The Choice

A one-bedroom apartment on Dupont (near Spadina), advertised for $1,250 per month

The nature of Andrey’s search changed after his parents decided to move to Canada for a couple months to help his pregnant sister with her baby. Andrey wanted his folks to live with him, but time was running out: his sister’s due date was just around the corner. Luckily, he stumbled upon a large, one-bedroom, ground-floor apartment that one of his friends was looking to pass on to a new renter. The place was in an old but well-kept house with 10-foot ceilings, and it was only a block away from his sister’s apartment—close enough that his parents could walk over, but far away enough that everyone would have plenty of breathing space. Not needing to worry about an application or competing bidders sweetened the deal. Andrey took over the lease and moved in within days.


Here’s the exterior of the house:


  There’s a bit of office space:


  The living area:


  And here’s the kitchen:


  And the bedroom:


The Hunt


Sign up for This City, our free newsletter about everything that matters right now in Toronto politics, sports, business, culture, society and more.

By signing up, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy.
You may unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


More Chases

The Chase: This condo dweller always wanted a house. When the market cooled, she pounced
Real Estate

The Chase: This condo dweller always wanted a house. When the market cooled, she pounced