This week’s COOL ROOMMATES: Living at Queen and Spadina with four roomies and a cat named Finnegan

This week’s cool roommates cook, clean, make art and get freaky in a winding, creaky, Dickensenian apartment above LIMITE, Queen street’s finest clubwear boutique. The six eclectic pals are artists, hairstylists, students and more, and whenever someone new moves in they drink everything in the cupboards. Last time I was there I met a puppy with a pink mohawk. Don’t come over if you can’t handle street noise or cat hair. Let’s get to know ‘em!

WHO: Mark, Kayla, Karolyn, Denise, Jessie, and Finnegan
WHAT: A 5 bedroom, two bathroom apartment with art studio
WHERE: Queen and Spadina
HOW MUCH: Everyone gave us a different answer for rent… it’s a mystery. 

Tell me a bit about yourselves. 

Kayla: I just graduated from drawing and painting at OCAD coming out of a shared house commandeered by meth heads… I’m a relatively recent addition to this apartment, however it served as a second home for a long time prior to my actual entering of the household.

Mark: These kinds of questions really throw me off and make me feel like I need to list a bunch of cliches like ‘I just really like, LIKE people.’ or ‘My dogs name is Sandy and she is my soul mate.’ – but maybe less contradictory? Social person vs. weird dog person = that is where I fit I guess. I don’t live with a dog, but I really love dogs. You will be hard pressed to find another living creature that is actually more excited than ever before Every.Time.You.Walk.Into.The.Room. Even if you just went to take a shit and step away for like 5 (15) minutes it’s like fucking Mardi Gras up in their dog life. Aside from dogs, and people – I guess I party more than I should and I work my ass off in school so that I can placate the party guilt I suffer from.

Karolyn: I’m 24 years old and I work as a hairstylist. I enjoy time with friends and family, going out, traveling, and reading. 

Nice to meet you! Now tell me a bit about the apartment.

Kayla: It is a mansion of a downtown apartment. Legend has it the building is a historic site and therefore major renovations cannot be done and rent cannot be raised – so we pay a glorious four hundred something each.

Mark: Our badass house is located at Queen and Spadina aka Burger Capital Toronto – We sport McDonalds, Hero Burger, a Burger Quality Meat Diner (BQM) and soon an A&W will join the arena. I feel like living here is quickly going to become a front row seat to a Hunger Games-esque showdown of the Burger Giants. May the odds be ever in your burger. I’m not sure what the rent is in total, but we all pay around 600 bucks each give or take, depending on how many drifters we have contributing to rent. In September my cousin from South Africa visited, in March my friend Kayla had to move in because meth heads were shooting up sauteed draino and vim in her kitchen. Never cute.

Karolyn: I think we all pay about 500 each, Mark probably filled you in. 

What do you like best about where you live?

Kayla:  Let’s just say if we could pick up the house and move it anywhere else we would. Living at Queen and Spadina is mayhem especially when all you want in the morning is food and you’re the most haggard hungover bitch ever and everyone you know is shopping in your front yard.

Any house rules that are absolutely unbreakable?

Kayla: KAROLYN SHOWERS AT 9:15 am!! Do not remove the spaghetti off the kitchen wall. Never leave an open window unattended. Never cut your nails at the kitchen table… unless Karo’s not around.

Mark: Leave no door unlocked. We live on Queen Street, guys. I’m talking front door to Queen Street contact. It is up to us to keep that shit locked down like Alcatraz – No ins and outs. Not only does this rule protect us from crack heads and that weird guy who paints the sidewalk outside of our house (and accused my one roommate of being a Dark Majalian?), it also keeps our precious little Finnegan safe and sound. He is not built for the outside world. 

Anyone have habits that really gross you out?

Karolyn: Mark’s beard whiskers on and around the sink.

Mark: When the mess gets out of hand. Dirty dishes, smelly litter boxes, that sort of thing. Everyone is pretty good at communicating though, so there aren’t too many struggles.

Kayla: Coming from the house I lived in before it’s really hard for me to be bothered by things.

What are the house traditions?

Kayla: Spaghetti wall? Very recently Real World Wednesday’s have been happening


…Punch night?

Mark: When new people move in we have something called ‘Punch Night’, which is when we pour all the leftover alcohol from the weekend into a bowl and add juice or whatever we can find (I think one time we used coffee), and then just drink it to the point of oblivion. Another tradition is forgetting to do garbage on Monday nights. We’re pretty adamant about that one.

What do you like best about living with other people? 

Mark: I grew up pretty solo dolo. My brothers were way older and doing their own thing if not moved out, my parents got divorced when I was around 11 so my mother went back to Zimbabwe and my dad was still just working all the time. So from living in this oversized house for 6 in Oakville, but completely alone, to living in an oversized house for 6 with 5 of us, it’s a welcome change that I’m still not bored of. I love the small things like hearing people doing their own things in their room, walking past a bedroom and hearing people fucking is also the best – cause then I don’t feel bad when it’s my turn. 

So aside from listening in on their sexy times, what’s your favourite thing about living with these people 

Kayla: I love them all so much! Mark’s been my bestie for a long time so it’s great to live with him, and Karo and Jessie are just awesome… All our personalities work together really well.

Mark: No one really gives a shit, but we all love each other. We can not see each other for days and it won’t be a thing, but if any of us ever need anything we know it’s just a quick skip down the hallway for us all.

Is there a house mascot?

Kayla: Finnegan the overly-affectionate, slightly slow cat

Karolyn: Finn.

Mark: Finnegan.

Finn’s a babe (see above). Do you guys have a house motto to go with the mascot?

Kayla: All black errthang cuz we wear all black errthang

Karolyn: Sometimes we all talk with a Minnesota accent? 

Mark: Hmm… me and Karolyn often laugh about how we’re probably going to live here forever. We’re already common law. 

What improvements would you make to the flat given limitless resources?

Kayla: I would get it cleaned—like floor-to-ceiling cleaned. And also fix the shower curtain there is way too much duct tape happening. And paint the tennis ball green kitchen any other color. 

Mark: I would get the front door replaced with one that has a buzzer AND automatically locks I(As it stands I constantly have to let people in and out.), paint EVERYTHING, and open up our roof so it could be a patio.

Anything else anyone’d like to add?

Kayla: I’ve lived in Toronto for 5 years, and lived in 6 different places, all which have ended horrifically. I am really happy to be part of a house which has existed happily and harmoniously for a long time and will continue to do so into the future. I am content and comfortable here, which is a new and exciting thing for me. Endlessly grateful to 352 for scooping me up.

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