The Brits in Toronto crew are very honoured to have a former Mayor of Toronto agree to be our latest Successful Brit in Toronto: David Miller.
So here we go …
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?
I chose Toronto but my mum chose Canada. We emigrated in 1967 originally, and came to Ottawa for her job as a teacher. I chose to come to Toronto for law school, because I loved the fact it had a subway and streetcars. And I knew that if I worked hard, I could get a good job.
What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?
My first real job was paving roads in Calgary, to pay for university. They were happy, as long as you had an Alberta address and were fit. My mum, though, had a different experience. She was recruited as a teacher by immigration, then, once we emigrated, told by the Ottawa School Board that she wasn’t qualified in Canada. She was livid. And sorted them out …
What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?
The best aspect of living in Toronto is the green space — the waterfront, the parks, and the river valleys. The worst is the winter weather. It never stays fully winter and the city turns brown. In Ottawa, it’s cold enough that the snow stays as snow.
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?
I don’t make too much effort to join British events in Toronto, although I have gone to some formal ones, like with the Canada/UK and with the Consul General. I see other Brits when I go to a suitable pub to watch the football — I proudly wear my England shirt, and watch them break our hearts. Again.
Best pub to just enjoy: Allen’s on the Danforth. John Maxwell pours a great pint, food is excellent, and a terrific patio.
Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.
I seem to connect with others from the British Isles through sports — rugby, which I played for over 20 years, football, and cricket primarily. But there are some great formal organizations, like the Chamber of Commerce, and the accounting organization CIMA, that can help meet people from a business perspective and often host events with interesting UK speakers. Cheers!
Thank you, sir!