For Aaron Broverman, his recent move from Toronto to Waterloo just made sense. The rent at his Distillery District condo had increased and he needed more space.
“When we first moved in, it was something like $1,600,” he said. “It had gone up significantly. We didn’t really want to pay the $1,900 for that level of space. We only had one bedroom.”
Broverman, a freelance journalist, said he and his now wife Brittany Theis were attracted to the condo’s floor-to-ceiling windows, industrial features and open concept design when they first moved there in 2015. The couple, who both have disabilities, also enjoyed the community aspect of the neighbourhood.
“We loved to walk around and visit the coffee shops there. Our favourite coffee shop was Arvo,” he said. “You can’t go to the restaurants all the time because they’re expensive, but we did like getting dessert at the French restaurant Cluny.”
After years in the building, the rent increased around the same time they were thinking about starting a family. They needed a second bedroom and their condo was feeling cramped.
“In September, we found out (my wife) was pregnant,” said Broverman. “Looking around Toronto, the cost is like $2,500, $3,000 for a two-bedroom. As soon as you jump to a second bedroom in Toronto, it’s a huge difference.”
The couple contemplated moving to Hamilton so they could still be close to the city, where Broverman records a podcast and has other work-related commitments. However, he and his wife frequently went to the Kitchener-Waterloo area to visit her family. Her father planted the seed that they should make the move because they were already driving there often for weekend visits.
“That made sense to us,” said Broverman. “The family support will be close and we’re going to need that, me in particular as a father with a disability.”
In March, the couple packed up and moved to Waterloo, going from a busy, bustling neighbourhood to an up-and-coming one. They opted for a condo because it offered easy access with elevators for Broverman’s mobility scooter. The new place had all of their non-negotiables — and two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
“We’re paying $1,895 for this [Waterloo] place,” he said. “And our apartment in the Distillery, our one bedroom, was going to go to up to $1,900. Both Brittany and I are very happy with the move, the extra space will pay dividends when the newest member of our family joins us in a few weeks.”
Another one of Broverman’s must-haves was proximity to public transit. The Waterloo condo has a bus stop in front of it, and the GO train is about a 10-minute walk away.
“We wanted to maintain the same walkability that we had in the Distillery or at least get close to it,” he said. “They do have the independent coffee shops that we like. There’s a lot of those so we can go for a coffee… You can still get your ramen. There are still nice restaurants.”
So far, Broverman hasn’t had any issues taking the bus or getting to and from Toronto on days he isn’t working from home.
“Waterloo has a great reputation of being this tech hub in Canada. There are a lot of students… It fits where our lives are now,” he said. “I don’t feel isolated. I don’t feel like I can’t do anything here.”