Monthly Archives: May 2014

Looking for more Successful Brits in Toronto

Are you British? In Toronto? Are you successful? Call us!

Are you British? In Toronto? Are you successful? Call us!

We love to highlight successful Brits coming to Toronto and doing well for themselves. Good for them … and good for the city.

It’s also one of our most popular features, so we’re looking for more Brits to feature. You’re in good company. Here’s who we have featured so far. Brits one and all.

Eric Gruber
Robin Brown
Jessica Napier
Sarah Doucette
David Miller
Paulo Antunes
Andy Byford
Michael Cooke
Karin and Kieran Ronde
Catherine Mayled
Dave Fleet
Fiona Knight
Ed Lee

Or just lazily click here to see all the links in a pre-search format.

So, pass the word on … we want MORE Successful Brits in Toronto!


“Now there’s a much easier path to ­citizenship: birth tourism”

Canadian citizenship, Jan Wong calculated, is worth about $840,000 in tangible benefits, excluding welfare payments should you end up on the dole

Canadian citizenship, Jan Wong calculated, is worth about $840,000 in tangible benefits, excluding welfare payments should you end up on the dole

Interesting article on the Toronto Life website today by Jan Wong about pregnant women travelling to Toronto to have their children on Canadian soil, thus granting them citizenship.

Here’s some quotes from the article:

“Now there’s a much easier path to ­citizenship: birth tourism. Foreign companies are helping pregnant women take advantage of our breathtakingly generous birthright policy, which grants automatic citizenship — and all the rights and ­benefits it entails — to any baby born on Canadian soil.”

“With today’s relatively cheap airfares, it’s easy for non-Canadians to fly in, have their babies and then whisk their newly minted Canadian citizens back to the motherland to raise them. Upon reaching the age of 18, the birth-citizen can return to Canada and apply to sponsor his or her parents, ­grandparents and siblings for ­immigration — all without having paid a single cent in Canadian taxes.”

“What is Canadian citizenship worth in cold hard cash? Like a birth tourist trying to decide whether to hand over $36,200, I crunched the numbers. Canadian citizenship, I calculated, is worth about $840,000 in tangible benefits, excluding welfare payments should you end up on the dole. Assuming a current average life expectancy of 81 years, free health care alone is worth at least $485,000 ($5,988 annually, but much more if you require major surgery or a long hospital stay), according to 2013 health data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.”

“Here’s an idea: how about we stop lavishing our home-and-native assets on newborns unless their mothers have spent a few years in the country, preferably as landed immigrants or citizens themselves; instead, let’s issue one-way, exit-only, good-for-travel-back-to-the-motherland documents for the infants. Canadian citizenship shouldn’t be a freebie to anyone whose mother waddles through the airport arrivals lounge. I suspect ­Grandfather Chong would approve.”

If Bill C-24 passes, Canadian citizenship will be harder to get and easier to lose

What a little bugger you are, Grumpy Cat

What a little bugger you are, Grumpy Cat

Our roving Brits across the fair City of Toronto send us leads all the time and we are very grateful.

Here’s two that crossed our desk this morning …

If Bill C-24 passes, Canadian citizenship will be harder to get and easier to lose

“On February 6, 2014 the federal government introduced Bill C-24, a law that changes the Citizenship Act of Canada. This new law changes core aspects of Canadian citizenship as we know it.

“If passed, Bill C-24 will make it more difficult for new immigrants to get Canadian citizenship and easier for many Canadians to lose it, especially if they have dual citizenship. Most Canadians do not understand the ways in which Bill C-24 will undermine their fundamental right to be a citizen of Canada.”

Full story.

Canadian government debating stringent new rules for citizenship

“The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, now in consideration, states that applicants for citizenship must spend at least 1.460 [might mean 1,460?] days in the country for six years before submitting their applications.

“It continues that, during at least four of those years, applicants must have spent 183 days physically present in Canada. Stays in the country under a temporary residency visa will not count towards the upgraded citizenship requirements.

“The bill is already controversial, with the Canadian Bar Association warning that its passing into immigration law will likely discourage immigrants and also have an effect on Canadians working abroad.

“Furthermore, the bill will allow revocation of citizenship held by dual nationals if it’s found that they’ve been convicted of and served more than five years’ imprisonment for offences outside Canada’s borders which would be construed as terrorism within the country.”

Full story.

The England team that will win the World Cup

"Hey you, the Three Lions crew, show what you do, make a break, make a move!"

“Hey you, the Three Lions crew, show what you do, make a break, make a move!”

The England football team manager, Roy Hodgson, today unveiled the names of 23 blokes that the hopes of a country will be resting on come the World Cup in June.

Brits in Toronto REALLY likes his choices, with a few slight exceptions.

We think that Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling, 19, and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson, 23, are excellent selections, having just come off a sterling English Premier League campaign, only narrowly missing out on the title to Manchester City. Hopefully, that momentum will keep spurring them to success.

Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 20, is also a good choice, having had a great season too. And Southampton’s Adam Lallana, 26, is a no-brainer for us as well — fantastic season.

Brits in Toronto are still on the fence about Everton’s Ross Barkley, 20, but hoping that he will be the breakout star of the tournament … there always seems to be one, so why not an England player?

Finally, we disagree with the selection of Frank Lampard (getting up there and doesn’t seem to play to his best in World Cup/Euro) and possibly Wayne Rooney for the same reasons. We hope they prove us wrong.

Just a footnote as to why people are disappointed not to see Gareth Bale in the England team. It’s because he’s Welsh.

There you have our humble opinion on the England team heading to the World Cup. It’s a young, hungry squad so let’s all get behind the Three Lions!

Welcome to the Immigration Portal

Toronto is certainly home to a diverse range of photo shoot models

Toronto is certainly home to a diverse range of smiling photo shoot models

“Welcome to the Immigration Portal.” That sounds pretty cool.

Now try it in a Dalek voice: “WELCOME TO THE IMMIGRATION PORTAL! WELCOME TO THE IMMIGRATION PORTAL!” That sounds pretty bloody cool.

The Immigration Portal is a very useful website resource created by the City of Toronto to help those thinking of starting a new life here.

This page is particularly handy as it helps you to prepare BEFORE arriving, with relevant checklists, the applications and forms you need, how much it costs to live in Toronto and — of course, every Brit’s favourite small talk subject matter — the weather.

The Working in Toronto section contains links to job boards and also Enterprise Toronto for business development purposes.

For those who speak other languages — such as Welsh or Brummie — you can also get assistance here.

All in all, this is a great resource for Brits who have just arrived in Toronto and those who are planning the move. Take some time to read it and you’ll learn a lot!

The Official England House is gearing up for World Cup 2014

Come on Engeeerrlllannddd!!

Come on Engeeerrlllannddd!! Shit. See you in 2018 then

If you haven’t heard yet — but if you read this site on a regular basis, we hope you have — there’s a little sporting event coming up in June 2014 called the World Cup.

To Brits in Toronto it is probably THE sporting event that we all look forward to the most. The predictions, putting the England flag on your car, joining the office World Cup pool for a fiver … and … above all … planning what pub(s) you will be watching in!

That’s where The Official England House may be able to help. Their aim is to bring passionate fans together to watch the game, with some added value.

From their site:

“Frustrated at the lack of planning and empathy from the local pub trade, [a group of England supporters] … put together a group of about 40 to 50 football fans who would gather together in their local under the badge of ‘England House.’ They had no plans to promote or push the group, only to welcome anyone that wanted to come and watch England games with them, with a typically British ‘more the merrier’ attitude.”

Here’s their promo video:

Just a quick note to clear the air. Brits in Toronto had a slight Twitter scuffle — or Twuffle — with The Official England House a few weeks ago. Bit like when a Gooner walks into Scallys. Full story here.

The Brits in Toronto position is that most people tend to have a local pub they like to frequent for football games, they know the staff etc. That’s why we list some good recommendations and let fans make their own minds up. So we don’t stand behind or represent any one pub. There’s just some we really like.

But, we recognize what The Official England House is trying to do = bringing England fans together to support what they love. Brits in Toronto STRONGLY SUPPORTS THEM and feel it’s very similar to what we are trying to do with this website = bringing Brits in Toronto together for that common ground.

Anyway, welling up here a little so check them out on Twitter and Facebook and give them a shout. Cheers!

The Feisty Jack food truck is opening a restaurant in Toronto called Spitfire Kitchen!

Spitfire Kitchen launches very soon ...

Spitfire Kitchen launches very soon …

The Feisty Jack is one of Brits in Toronto’s favourite food trucks. We reviewed it here and gave it a rare Brits in Toronto 5/5 stars. This is why.

We have ears all over the city, and the word on the street is that The Feisty Jack is opening a new RESTAURANT IN TORONTO this summer! (“Word on the street” sounds cooler and more edgy than “their webmaster uploaded that information.”)

So, start your engines … and stay tuned for another Totally Biased Product Review By Me when it opens.

Successful Brits in Toronto: Eric Gruber

A smiling Morrissey in a parallel unbiverse

Form a line, Canadian lasses

Just by coming to Toronto — leaving your friends, family and decent Baked Beans behind — and trying to make a new life already makes you successful in our eyes. It’s a bold step.

Good job too as Eric Gruber’s only been here about two months and the ratio of Successful Brits in Toronto to Totally Biased Product Review By Me blog posts was a bit lopsided, so we took what we could get for this one.

Only joking, Eric! In fact, it’s nice to hear the thoughts of someone newly-arrived in the city, 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 must admit, I have only been in Canada for little over two months, so I am a little “fresh off the boat,” as it were. I originally came over for a holiday to visit my family in Oakville* after I had finished my contract at my old job back in the U.K. and I just decided to take a quick look at what opportunities there were available here. One thing led to another and, well, here I am …

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

I had a very fortunate experience when I was applying to marketing agencies here in Toronto. Back in the U.K. when you applied to a marketing agency, you would have to fill out a 3,000-word application form, after which you may hear nothing back — or if you do get invited for an interview you have to do two days of jumping through hoops in a group interview setting and have very little chance of actually getting the role.

Where as here in Canada I have been incredibly lucky. I applied to the Mint Agency on the Monday, heard back on the Wednesday, and had an interview on the Friday during which I was offered the role on the spot! Mint have since taken me under their wing and is an incredible place to work.

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

I think the people are definitely the best aspect of Toronto. I know by Canadian standards Torontonians are considered a little unfriendly, but by London standards, everyone treats you like a good friend. The fact there is real weather is pretty good too!

Obviously I miss my family and friends back home in London, but I think the worst thing about Toronto is that you can’t watch the incredible sunrise over the River Thames in the morning on your way to work. That and the lack of “Sure” spray deodorant. I’m still not convinced by this roll on nonsense.

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 will admit I haven’t made any specific steps to seek out my fellow Brits, though I have met one or two through work events.

In terms of pubs/eateries, although it doesn’t feel very authentic I would recommend the Duke of Somerset on Bay. Their fish and chips are rather good and the staff there didn’t look at me like I had dropped from another planet when I asked if they serve Pimm’s!

However, for more of an authentic feel I would go for The Pour House on Dupont. They have a good selection of beers and ciders, and have genuinely old furniture as decor, helping it feel more like a real pub.

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

In terms of advice, I would say a smile goes a long way here. EVERYONE will comment on your accent (don’t speak too fast or they won’t understand you) and it may take a little time … but you will eventually get used to strangers talking to you in the elevator (that’s lift to you and me).

Oh! And there is no ground floor here, it’s the first floor. That has caused a couple of issues to date.

Thanks Eric, excellent stuff! Good luck in your time in Toronto and your future career.

*Posh version of Burlington

Let’s all help fellow Brit Phil find a job!

New York. Tokyo. Las Vegas. Swansea.

New York. Tokyo. Rio de Janeiro. Las Vegas. Swansea.

“Love the site … Can’t whack the great British humour… Banging!! Well done.”

We really enjoy getting e-mails like that, brightens our day. (We prefer to get ones asking about our rates for prominent and relevant banner ads, but fan mail is a VERY close second.)

So, Phil was already a good bloke in our estimation before we even read further down. Here’s some of what he had to say:

“I came across the site whilst researching what my wife, and myself’s next move was going to be in re-locating to Canada, or more specifically Toronto.

“We decided to make the move last year, as Canada being better suited for my wife’s line of work, which is a Geologist and Petroleum Engineer (she has glowing references ).

“Myself, recently sold my small construction business to my business partner in order to get a few quid together for our new adventure, previously with 20 years’ experience in B2B sales at management and Director level.

“All in all we planning on coming to Canada to provide a better life for ourselves and family, and would greatly appreciate all advice from those who have done it all before us in order to obtain employment within the Toronto area.

“Thanks for the opportunity to communicate our dream to your site.”

Some further information that Phil provided detailed the acquisition of the company that owned the Dolphin Hotel in Swansea, Wales with a view to investing approximately £3.5 million into creating a 3-star plus hotel “in the heart of the city.”

So if anyone in Toronto can help give Phil a start in our fair city, you can contact him via e-mail at philwhitewalls AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk.

Good luck, Phil!

Tax 101 for immigrants to Canada

Your hard-earned tax dollars at work on taking professional quality photos of grey buildings

Your hard-earned tax dollars at work on paying for professional quality photos of boring grey buildings

Now that mum and my aunt Sheila has started to tell all their friends at the Social Club about Brits in Toronto, our traffic has exploded and we can’t keep up with new content.

Coincidentally, we were musing the idea of inviting USEFUL and RELEVANT guest articles. No money has changed hands. We haven’t started on an advertising strategy yet.

That was a nice segue into the subject of money. Here we present an article on some basic tax tips — useful for the 26 readers in Great Britain asking about life in Toronto, or those who have just arrived.

Tax 101 for immigrants to Canada

Tax season has arrived and so it’s time to file your Canadian Tax return. A lot of people don’t want to think about tax when they are abroad — but it can be very worthwhile especially if you’re due a tax refund.

If you were working in Canada throughout 2013 you would’ve paid between 15% and 29% income tax on your wages. The good news is that you’re probably due to claim some of this back. You can apply for your tax refund by filing a Canadian tax return.

Useful Canadian Tax Tips

• The Canadian tax year runs from January 1 until December 31 … but you cannot apply for a tax refund until March 1 of the following year
• The deadline for filing your tax return is April 30, 2014 [yesterday!]
• Your employer will issue you with a T4 at the end of the tax year (usually in February). This form outlines your earnings for the previous year
• You should gather all of your expenses for 2013 including any monthly transit passes, medical expenses, motor vehicle expenses, child care expenses and moving expenses. Register here for more information on what expenses you can claim

During the year will be able to see how much tax you are paying on your wage slips, but keep in mind that when you apply for a tax refund, you will not get 100% of what you paid back. The amount of your tax refund will depend on a number of factors such as:

• Your residency status in Canada
• How long you were working in 2013
• How many employers you had
• Any income that you received from overseas and the existing tax treaties your country may have with Canada

On your payslip you will also notice that you pay something called CPP and EI in Canada. CPP is the Canadian Pension Plan and EI is Employer Insurance. If you have overpaid either, you can claim a refund. This claim is not separate and is made on a regular tax return.

Thinking about tax can either give people a headache — or send them to sleep — so we recommend getting an expert to look after it for you.

Register here and will set you up with a free personal Tax Tracker account and remind you to apply for your Canadian tax refund at the end of the tax year.