Successful Brits in Toronto: Jake Wyatt

Jake Wyatt

If the photographer had moved slightly to the right and crouched down a bit, the ball on the trophy would have fitted exactly over the ball on the logo behind.

If you attended the recent Brits in Toronto and TFC British Heritage Night, you would have spotted a very tall bloke strolling around, looking down and surveying all in his BMO Field kingdom.

That would have been Jake Wyatt who came up with the idea in the first place, roped in all the local Brits in Toronto looking for some free PR on the back of a Championship-winning Toronto football team and the rest is history.

Since then we’ve had about five e-mails from people with the same surname Wyatt, which is really a coincidence, asking us to feature him as our latest Successful Brit in Toronto.

What made you decide to choose Toronto as a city of choice? Did you plan a permanent move, or wanted to “try it for a while and see how it goes” and it turned out to be longer than planned?

My journey towards living in Canada/Toronto has been interesting. I grew up in England playing basketball. I was a 6’4 lanky teenager and found my way into a local basketball team. Turned out I would fall in love with the game and decided to take it serious and ended up playing at a decent level.

At the age of 18 I left England to move to Iceland and play for FSU basketball team/ youth academy in the Icelandic town of Selfoss.

After spending one year in Iceland, I was offered a position with an American college basketball team in Pennsylvania. I graduated four years later and attended Grad School in Montgomery, AL. It was here that I met my Canadian wife Paige who was a fellow international student studying at a local college.

So yeah, long story short fell in love with a girl and here I am and couldn’t be happier!

What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?

I was lucky, I found out at an earliest age that I wanted to work in sports and I enjoyed selling; sports sales was a natural fit. I had some great mentors growing up who encouraged me to get as much experience in sports business as possible and I was able to do several internships/entry-level jobs in the industry. Once my wife and I decided Canada/ Toronto was going to be home, I started applying for jobs in my field.

Timing worked out and a job became available at MLSE in sports sales. I had decent experience working in sport business with a few different teams in the states and back in England — I also had a few connections in my network that helped me with references here at MLSE.

I applied for the position, and after a long process, battling with Skype interviews and time zones, I landed the job. I was still in England at the time, so was one of the lucky ones who had a job lined up as soon as I landed in Canada.

What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?

I love living here in Canada and being in this city. I had been lucky to travel at a young age. For me Canada/ Toronto is the perfect mix of England and USA.

The people here have a genuine friendliness to them. I loved my time in America, and met some great people who are now lifelong friends … the food, big roads, and American dream spoke to me!

However, as time went on I found people/relationships in the States (especially the south) can be service level. At times, when I was in the States I found myself missing the English greeting at a local pub — where you walk in and the bartender starts pouring a pint of Fosters, slams it on the table and sticks their hand out for the four quid you owe them, make some joke about your chosen attire, then proceeds to ask how your day was. Sounds strange I know, but I missed that when I was in the States; I found the “You’re Welcome/My Pleasure” interactions a bit false at times.

Here in Canada, I find the people are genuine and more able to keep up with the English banter, it’s a welcoming country of diverse people, but still has the “Canadian Dream” element. I find Canada welcomes people to be themselves. With such a wide range of cultures I have never felt the need to act or behave “Canadian” … instead, I find the country encourages me to be the best version of myself and add to society that way.

The toughest part of being here is distance from family and friends in the UK. I don’t feel homesick, but it is hard not being able to pop round and see family on weekends and having to allow for the five-hour time difference when communicating with friends and family back in England.

On the plus side it is always nice to visit home during holidays and host friends and family when they want to come out and visit.

Do you make an effort to connect with other Brits in the city, or just meet them when chance allows it? Any recommended pubs/eateries/other places for homesick Brits to meet each other and network?

Since being here I have been surprised to see how big the “Brits In Toronto” community is. It is always nice to bump into fellow Brits and talk all things from pubs to English fry ups!

I recently worked with this blog and a number of the other English social groups to plan a Brits In Toronto event at a Toronto FC game. The event was great, and lots of people at the event were surprised with the standard of football this side of the pond.

Sorry, the salesman in me is coming out here … but attending TFC, Raptors and Leafs games is a great way to feel connected with the city and meet people; I have bumped into several Brits, especially at TFC games.

I am in a lucky position to sell a product I believe in. If anyone is interested in Toronto FC ticket packages or wants to meet up at a game please do reach out and contact me at jake.wyatt@mlse.com or 416-815-5400, ext. 3072. We have also set up a discount code with Brits in Toronto: click HERE and use the promo code “BritsInToronto” — this will get you up to a 25% discount on TFC tickets.

Okay sales pitch over! But to answer the question, yes I have made an effort to connect with fellow Brits and I am looking forward to continuing to do so in the future!

Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.

My advice would be to embrace your British roots but also accept that this is Canada and this is your home. This website and other groups on social media are a great way to stay connected with the British community.

But get involved in living in Canada — meet people, explore, and learn from different cultures. This city has so much to offer, from food, to festivals and professional sports teams. I still get the buzz when driving into the city, especially at night.

This is a special place and be sure to not become numb to the city. Remember the feeling of first being here and make a conscious effort to hold onto that feeling.

Oh and wear as many layers as possible in the winter, it is bloody freezing!

Thanks Jake. Didn’t notice the sales pitch at all, mate. If anyone wants to connect, here’s his LinkedIn profile.

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Need to transfer money overseas? Maybe VFX Financial can help

VFXF

It’s the VFX Financial logo, very minimalist

Fellow Brit in Toronto Andy Hedges reached out to Brits in Toronto for help in getting the word out about a company he works for called VFX Financial, so we said we’d give it a quick plug. Here’s the details …

Anglo Canadian currency specialists VFX Financial have provided Brits in Toronto readers with an extra special rate for their currency needs. So whether you are already based in Canada and need to send money overseas (not just to the UK,) or you are in the UK and need some loonies, VFX Financial can help.

Highlights include:

  • Special rate for all Brits in Toronto readers.
  • No transfer charges.
  • Generally 2%-3% better rates than banks.
  • Suitable for both Brits coming to Canada and individuals and businesses already located here.
  • Free multi-currency card for UK/Eire based clients — perfect to save money when travelling as there are no overseas usage fees.
  • Same or next day delivery of currency.
  • Fully regulated in both Canada and the UK/EU.
  • No minimum or maximum transfer limits.

To benefit from the special negotiated rate, during the sign-up process, simply enter the word “Brits” as the intro code. You can e-mail Andy for more info too at brits@vfxfinancial.ca.

That’s about it, really. Full disclaimer: do your own research on all the above before signing up, Brits in Toronto cannot be held responsible for your dealings with the company and no money changed hands for this post, it’s purely for informational purposes.

Totally biased product review by me — London Gate British Pub

Her Majesty

Actually, ma’am, it’s Harry’s pub

Brits in Toronto has been searching the city for nigh on 19 years and counting for the quintessential proper authentic “British curry” and has — thus far — come up short. And we’ve been to a LOT of curry houses in and around the GTA. (A couple have come close if you look back at some of our totally biased product reviews.)

That may have changed yesterday when we checked out the London Gate British Pub. According to the owner and head chef, Harry — a Yorkshireman who lived in Scotland for 20 years before moving to Ashford, Kent and who has cooked in a lot of Indian restaurants — wants to bring that real British curry taste to Toronto.

First things first. This is a little off the beaten track at Eglinton Avenue West and Renforth Drive. Harry says they will be on Skip The Dishes at some point.

Secondly, it doesn’t look like a British pub from the outside so you may drive right past it. There is a Guinness sign outside to clue you in. Plus lots of parking.

The space is HUGE with a patio, pool table and semi-private room that can presumably be booked for events.

Telephone Box and Pool

Semi Private Room

So, food and drink I hear you ask? Here’s the tap list. Pretty impressive. We sampled the Honey Dew and it was very nice.

Honey Dew

The bangers and mash with caramelized onions and gravy was also good, but lost points because Canadian baked beans were used instead of British-style baked beans. Harry explained that they are too expensive. We countered that they are now freely available in Canada and maybe can be included as an optional side for an extra dollar or something. Harry rubbed his chin and looked thoughtful at that suggestion, so stay tuned.

Bangers and Mash

The kicker was the Yorkshire Pudding wrap with garlic aioli, mixed cheese, caramelized onions, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, drizzled with gravy and served with fries. Choice of protein: chicken, sliced roast beef or soy. (Lots of veggie and vegan options here too.) This was a very large wrap so come hungry. It’s like a roast dinner wrapped up on a plate!

Yorkshire Pudding Wrap

So, we got chatting about the curry options on the menu at that point. There’s tandoori chicken flatbread, butter chicken rice bowl, English curry and chips and chicken tikka naan. Harry was kind enough to bring us out a sample bowl of the butter chicken and it was delicious. No oily ghee, not greasy. Just a really good flavour. (Ate it too fast to snap a photo.)

BREAKING NEWS! Saved the best till last. You know when you’ve had a few pints and really crave a doner kebab? Not shawarma … or gyro … but a real doner? Well, Harry is putting those on the menu soon too. And we tried his house-made red sauce, the real stuff that is hard to get here. It is excellent. We were eating it with a spoon and wanted more.

So, find a designated driver and head to London Gate. We give it a Brits in Toronto 4/5 stars. (Harry — please introduce the doner and offer British baked beans and we’ll have a chin wag about the coveted 5th star …)

Join the GTA Scotland Supporter Club

GTA Scotland Supporter Club

Some Scottish players celebrating a goal

Just a quickie for a Sunday morning.

Joe Sinclair contacted us to spread the word that he’s setting up a GTA Scotland Supporter Club, so we’re happy to oblige.

You can check out the Facebook page, which describes it thus:

“Looking to establish a strong Scotland supporters club here in the Greater Toronto area. Let’s join together to watch all Scotland football and rugby games while enjoying a social time with others and all round good banter. Who knows? Maybe arrange a trip to see a game!!”

Or contact Joe at dvon30@hotmail.com for more details.

Successful Brits in Toronto: Andrew Mcloughlin

Andrew Mcloughlin

Locked himself out yet again

They say an Englishman’s home is his castle but unless you own Casa Loma that’s not entirely true. So today’s Successful Brit in Toronto — Andrew Mcloughlin — is here to set the record straight as a real estate professional.

“Our house, it has a crowd,” explains Andrew. “There’s always something happening and it’s usually quite loud. Our house, in the middle of our street.”

That doesn’t really narrow it down much in a city the size of 630 square kilometres, so we need to find out more about Andrew’s passion for real estate, what brought him here to Toronto, what he’s up to and so on.

What made you decide to choose Toronto as a city of choice? Did you plan a permanent move, or wanted to “try it for a while and see how it goes” and it turned out to be longer than planned?

Growing up in the North-West of England had a lasting impact on me. It taught me that I needed to strive and plan for my goals if I ever want to achieve them. St. Helens is a great town with some amazingly talented people, but there was a point in my life, when I was around 18 years old that that travel bug bit me … and it bit hard.

A friend and I decided to travel throughout Europe for three months. This experience was transformative. It opened our minds and expanded our world view in the most impactful of ways.

Following that trip, we were hooked and knew we needed to travel more — so, on a whim, we decided that we wanted to work in Canada. We applied for work permits, packed our bags, and off we went!

At that age, everything is an adventure and this was no different. I eventually got a permanent work permit and then, over time pursued Canadian citizenship.

What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?

It wasn’t the smoothest transition for me. I had some experience in software development and web design but initially I was prepared to work anywhere, doing almost anything; from working at a clothing store in the Eaton Centre to an industrial metal bending factory in Vaughan.

At the time, I thought nothing of waking up at 4:00 a.m. to take the subway and two buses north of the city, because it was all part of the experience! Through these opportunities, I was afforded the chance to meet new people and really getting to know my new city.

I eventually landed permanent roles in web development for marketing agencies and then earned the opportunity to work for a multi-national financial firm in their marketing and analytics department for the last nine years.

I always knew that my passion was in real estate and during my time working in the financial industry, I pursued my real estate goals and became a licensed realtor. As a realtor, I am inspired by the families and investors I am fortunate to partner with.

I am inspired everyday as I introduce clients to their dream homes and support them in turning those dreams into a reality!

What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?

Culture, diversity, great food — Toronto has it all. I really love this city! I met my wife here — over 10 years ago — and I am not afraid to say that I was punching above my weight when I first asked her out … but this is Toronto … and anything can happen!

The sights also get me every time. Coming from a small town in the UK, I wasn’t used to big cities and I still get a feeling of excitement in my stomach when I drive south on the DVP, on to the Gardiner into the downtown core. It’s great!

I don’t love the traffic, but for a world class city, Toronto feels smaller and more intimate than other big cities.

I feel as though there are so many opportunities here if you are willing to work for them.

Do you make an effort to connect with other Brits in the city, or just meet them when chance allows it? Any recommended pubs/eateries/other places for homesick Brits to meet each other and network?

It’s by no mistake that my wife, son and I chose a neighbourhood that has one of the largest British demographics in the city!

One of my favourite local spots that has THE BEST fish and chips in Toronto is only a few blocks from our house. If you take anything from this article you must go to the Olde Yorke Fish and Chips in Leaside. Do it now … you won’t regret it!

Andrew very kindly sent along a ton of links at that point, but we countered back and knocked him down a few, thus we shook hands on the deal at that point and here is the piece of Brits in Toronto website real estate he now lauds over forever. Pay him a visit!

https://realestatewithandrew.ca

https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-mcloughlin-969637176/https://twitter.com/myagentandrew

https://twitter.com/myagentandrew

https://www.instagram.com/mytorontorealtor

https://www.facebook.com/realestatewithandrew

Join the Brits in Toronto community and Toronto FC for a huge football event on June 7

TFC British

Come out on June 7 to watch some football and have some fun with your fellow Brits in Toronto

Brits in Toronto, the Toronto Brit Meetup Group and Typically British Toronto have teamed up with Toronto FC for a night of fun, football, music, pints, food, networking and interactive games with prizes to be won on Friday, June 7.

A lot of work is going into the planning of this for the British community in Toronto and we’re expecting 150+ to come out and meet fellow Brits and catch a TFC game as they take on Sporting Kansas at BMO Field.

So, plan to come out, bring your friends and family and let’s show Toronto that there’s a very active British community that supports its team and city!

Here’s what you get for the measly price of $54 per ticket:

  • Early access to the stadium
  • $10 food and drink voucher!

The schedule, as it stands now …

5:00 p.m.
Meet at Brazen Head pub if you want a pre-game pint.

6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Early entrance to BMO field at gate 1B.
Welcome remarks by reps from your hosts TFC, Brits in Toronto, Toronto Brit Meetup Group and Typically British Toronto.
Music!
Networking!!
Three raffle prizes!!!
The PRIVATE bar opens!!!!

7:00 p.m.
Kick-off — Go TFC!!!!!

9:00 p.m.
Optional for people to stick around and watch the Raptors game inside the stadium on the big screen!!!!!!

Here’s some shots of the private area and bar that has been exclusively reserved for ticket-holders before kick-off:

June71

June72

June73

June74

OK, then — at this point you’re probably gagging for a ticket so here’s how to purchase one (or more we hope) …

Simply visit this link and use the password: British

Or, if you prefer to speak to the TFC rep organizing all this for us — and fellow Brit in Toronto — contact Jake Wyatt at 416-815-5400, ext. 3072 or e-mail jake.wyatt@mlse.com and he’ll gladly help.

Hope to see all you fellow Brits in Toronto on June 7 for what promises to be a stellar night of football and networking. Cheers!

We have 10 FREE double passes to see an advance screening of Tolkien on May 6

Tolkien

Tons of British actors in this one

“Hello, my precious. Do you want the ring? No. OK then, how about 20 free tickets to a film about the bloke who invented that character? Sorted, Bilbo.”

We made some of that quote up, but if you love The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings then you have to see this film — Tolkien — that explores the formative years of the renowned author’s life as he finds friendship, courage and inspiration among a fellow group of writers and artists at school.

Their brotherhood strengthens as they grow up and weather love and loss together, including Tolkien’s tumultuous courtship of his beloved Edith Bratt, until the outbreak of the First World War which threatens to tear their fellowship apart.

All of these experiences would later inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-earth novels.

Here’s the trailer:

Fox Searchlight Pictures and Brits in Toronto want to send you and a friend to the Toronto advance screening of Tolkien on Monday, May 6 at 7:00 p.m. at Cineplex Varsity.

For your chance to attend, simply go to the link below to claim your pass. Passes available while supplies last — there are 10 double passes as of this posting so … GO!

http://www.foxsearchlightscreenings.com/scLVG72137

Tolkien is in theatres Friday, May 10.

(Please note this is not to be confused with Lord of the Dance or Lord of the Flies.)