These siblings moved to Toronto during the pandemic. They found a $1,775 a month apartment at Queen and Dufferin

These siblings moved to Toronto during the pandemic. They found a $1,775 a month apartment at Queen and Dufferin

Who: Oscar Zambrano, 27, business consultant at Intangent; Carina Zambrano, 24, marketing specialist at Kijiji

The history: Oscar and Carina were both raised in Ottawa. Carina spent a year living abroad in China, from 2018 to 2019, and, shortly afterward, decided that she wanted to move to Toronto.

Oscar and Carina had visited Toronto over the years and realized it was livelier than Ottawa, jam-packed with events, artists and festivals.

At the start of 2022, Oscar and Carina decided to give up their two-bed, one-bath condo in Ottawa and make the move to Toronto together.  

The hunt: In January, Carina got a job at Kijiji in Toronto, and Oscar planned to quit his job in Ottawa and find something new once they moved. The next month, the siblings borrowed their parents’ car and drove to Toronto, looking at 12 apartments in the span of five days. They stayed with a friend in Kensington Market during the process. 

Oscar and Carina wanted something spacious, clean and light-filled, located close to downtown, within walking distance of grocery stores and other amenities. Their search took them to The Annex, Queen West, Trinity Bellwoods, Harbord Village, Little Portugal and Cabbagetown, but all of the places they saw were dank, dark and rundown. None of them felt like home. 

The outcome: On February 8, they looked at a recently renovated two-bed, one-bath in an eight-storey apartment at Queen and Dufferin. It was just a two-minute walk from Queen Street, a 10-minute walk from Liberty Village and a 20-minute streetcar from Carina’s Kijiji offices (if she ever stops working remotely).

Grocery stores were nearby. It was also the cheapest of the apartments they viewed, at $1,775 a month. Another bonus: their background is Colombian and one of the building managers spoke Spanish. Inside, the kitchen was a bit small, but with plenty of storage. There was also lots of natural light, ticking off another one of their boxes, so they decided to go for it.

As things open up, barring a sixth wave-induced lockdown, Carina is looking forward to taking more in-person dance classes at DanceLife X Centre. Oscar is excited about playing more group sports, like pickup soccer, and meeting new people.

The siblings are also interested in attending The Toronto Caribbean Carnival this summer. They don’t eat out much, and prefer to meal prep on Sundays to save money during the week, but Oscar and Carina really enjoyed a recent meal at Gusto 101. Oscar, who recently got hired at a management consultancy company, has been enjoying the five-minute walk to the public library, as well as The Workroom, where he’ll be taking a sewing course this month. 


Do you have an interesting real estate story? We’d love to hear it, especially if you moved to Toronto during the pandy: [email protected]