Ahhh, Scotland. Rugged windswept scenery, beautiful castles, bagpipes, fish and chip suppers, haggis, Billy Connolly, deep-fried Mars Bars. What’s not to love?
Hannah Perrin-Haynes certainly agrees. As the Scottish Government’s Diplomatic representative in Toronto, she works as part of Team Scotland which includes Scottish Development International (which has a remit for trade and investment) and Visit Scotland (the tourism body).
“We are based at the British Consulate,” explains Hannah. “I work across the whole country, and have really loved all the different trips around Canada over the last year. Highlights: seeing bears and wolves in the Rockies, and driving around a foggy Cape Breton Island meeting different Gaelic-speaking communities.”
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 was transferred to Toronto for my post as the Second Secretary for Scottish Affairs in Canada. I have been here for a year so far, and I’m loving every minute. My job — promoting Scotland in Canada — is made so much easier given the extraordinary affinity Canadians feel with all things Scottish.
What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?
What’s the infamous Canadian experience?! It was smooth sailing for me, and I felt right at home from day one.
What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?
The best: the diversity of Torontonians … and the best thing about that is the fantastic array of authentic cuisine.
The worst: ice quakes.
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?
There are lots of really fun Brits at the Consulate, and it’s amazing how often I hear the familiar accent when out and about in the city. I’m a big fan of the menu at the Queen and Beaver, and The Caledonian is a great place to enjoy a Scottish beer.
Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.
If you’re a Scot in Toronto, or you have an interest in Scotland, then please do get in touch, we would love to meet you! You can find me on twitter @HPerrinHaynes or e-mail me at Hannah.Perrin-Haynes AT scotent.co.uk.