As a former journalist, I have been in the trenches and seen the hard work that goes into getting the story, and hopefully the scoop. You do it for the love of the job and not the pay — that’s for sure. Now I work in communications at the Brits in Toronto HQ.
So we’re honoured that Michael Cooke, Editor of the Toronto Star, agreed in a tweet to be our latest Successful Brit in Toronto. He manages Canada’s biggest paper by circulation, employs multiple award-winning journalists and thinks [spoiler alert] “there isn’t a real pub in the entire city.” (That must be a typo, Michael … check out our Booze section.)
In typical Ask Ellie fashion, we put some questions to him:
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?
Came on holiday, loved the place — open, big, fresh, different and you can see a bear 50 miles out of the city … so I stayed … and then quickly learned to love the great extremes in temperature … proper bloody hot in the summer, proper bloody cold in the winter …
What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?
At the time — 1975 — it was easy for Brits. I just walked in and cheerfully held out the papers to be stamped. No problems. Was made very welcome, especially in the Legion halls (my dad was in the Royal Navy).
What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?
Best: I love watching the skill and courage and brains it takes to play top-notch hockey. Worst: there isn’t a real pub in the entire city.
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?
No. Big part of the joy of living here is everyone else who came from everywhere else. Who needs to search out Brits ?
So, there you have it. Short, sweet and to the point. Thank you Mr. Cooke, and if any readers know of “real pubs” in the entire city, please post them in the comments section so I can check them out too!