“Good morning Sir — how was your weekend?”
Wow, the last time we heard that it was our barber taking a little off the top. Lyndon is a very polite chap indeed. We’re very good, thank you Lyndon.
“I’m not sure I come close to any of the alumni … I’m still building my success in Canada!! I’m two years in to building a new kind of PR company for start-ups and small businesses.”
Modest too. Let’s see how he tackles our five questions …
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?
Logistics. It was halfway between my wife’s family in Windsor and Ottawa. We considered Montreal, but picked lots and we picked Toronto. We didn’t plan to move from the U.K. — my wife is Canadian and we’d talked about moving to Canada as a long-term plan. We made a snap decision on a Friday night over dinner to move permanently to Toronto for a number of personal reasons.
What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?
I worked as an independent contractor for a number of companies in Europe and a PR agency run by a friend of mine out of the U.S. initially. The idea for THINK DIFFERENT[LY] had been something I’d thought about for a number of years; nobody is providing services that help businesses that can’t afford the expensive PR retainers most agencies charge. In the end I realized that if I didn’t try it I’d never know whether it would work or not.
What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?
The best part is the diversity: I love listening to the different languages I hear on public transportation (and wish I could speak a few more of them) and love exploring the different neighbourhoods and communities.
The worst part is the traffic congestion. I love driving but that is being tested driving in Toronto!
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 a conscious effort. I know a few expats but that has been more due to chance meetings than anything else. The Duke of Kent is one place that I’ve found fellow football (soccer) fans.
Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.
I read recently that there are two million ex-pat Brits in Canada, and while it is always great meeting one I’d encourage new British immigrants to immerse themselves in the Canadian cultural experience.
Get outside of the major population centres too — there’s so much to explore and you barely scratch the surface in Toronto.
Great advice, Lyndon … and good luck with your PR company, mate.