Monthly Archives: January 2015

Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards open to all brilliant Brits in Toronto! (And others too …)

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This is not the actual size of their website, by the way. There’s a lot more information than this

We’re big fans of Canadian Immigrant magazine and the Brits in Toronto crew love to idly thumb through its pages when we find a copy on the TTC subway, usually between St. George and St. Andrew, so we’re pleased to give it a free promo for its annual national award.

Open to immigrants across the nation. But would be GREAT if a Brit in Toronto made the cut!

Deets:

Nominations are now open for the seventh annual RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards. This coveted national award recognizes the achievements and accomplishments of Canadian Immigrants. It seeks to uncover and celebrate their stories and success. If you know of an immigrant who has made a positive impact or is an inspiration to others, click here to nominate them. Nominations close on Thursday, February 26 at 11:59 PM EST.

So there you have it. Nominate away … and good luck to one and all!

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Successful Brits in Toronto: Callum Bramley

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In Australia you wouldn’t have to hide your tinny of Stella in a pineapple, mate. Just saying …

Callum is a perfect example of a Successful Brit in Toronto. He chose his country of residence based on what time they show the football, likes long bike rides around the city and also thinks it’s ridiculous you can’t buy your groceries and pop along to the next aisle to get your booze too.

So, what else does he think about living in Toronto?

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?

A mate and I decided to spend a year working abroad after finishing University back in 2011. There are a few options open to Brits wishing to work abroad, including Australia, but Canada just seemed the best fit and we chose Toronto primarily so we wouldn’t be getting up too early in the morning to watch Leeds United games!

Almost four years on and I’m a permanent resident and living with a Canadian girl.

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

Maybe five or six weeks after moving over and applying for what seemed like hundreds of jobs I got a call out of the blue from someone who found my CV on Kijiji. They hired me for a management position and I’m still with the same employer now, albeit in a different role.

I got lucky in the sense that my job allowed me to apply for residency once the relevant “experience” time had elapsed.

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

I’ll try to answer this question without mentioning diversity or bad weather! [Oooh, we’ll see, you cheeky bugger! ~ Editor.]

Best — It’s never boring. There’s always something happening, whatever the weather. [Fail. ~ Editor.] Whatever you want to eat, whatever you want to drink, whatever you want to do on any day of the week … you can do it.

Moving from a small town in England (Doncaster) to a huge city like this is a surreal experience. I still feel like a tourist in my own city; every time I speak to my dad he asks, “How many bloody pictures of the bloody CN Tower can you take?”.

Worst — LCBO and The Beer Store. I don’t think any Brit can get along with this idea. Gone are the days when I can walk out of ASDA with a case of 24 bottles of Stella.

Another bad thing is having to “dumb down” my accent to speak to Canadians. They seem to think the “British accent” is people basically speaking like the Queen. You wouldn’t believe the amount of times I’ve been asked what part of Ireland/Scotland/Australia I’m from.

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 try to avoid other Brits but I don’t seek them out either. Maybe I’m worried I’ll get along with a bloke from back home only for him to tell me an hour later he’s a Man United fan? I’ve got a mate here from Yorkshire who I met watching football at Scallywags a few years ago, that’s about it.

As for pubs, the best for me undoubtedly is The Bristol. I spent the first few years here craving a British-style curry and a Sunday Roast. All my prayers were answered at once when they opened up. It’s very authentic — they don’t just stick a few Union Jacks up and put Fish & Chips on the menu and call themselves British-themed.

The Queen and Beaver is a bit fancy but does very good grub too.

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

In England we tend to put down roots and stick to what’s local. Local boozer, local curry house, local shops etc.

In Toronto it’s best to explore the city whenever possible. Try different neighborhoods for nightlife … there’s dozens of them, all offering a different vibe.

The best advice I can give to someone fresh off the boat is buy a bike. Even if it’s a cheap bike from Kijiji. The city is easy to navigate on two wheels and it beats paying so much to ride a sweaty streetcar.

Riding the Lakeshore path to the Islands or Ashbridges Bay is the best way to spend a day in the summer.

Great stuff, Callum! And we miss ASDA too, mate …

Successful Brits in Toronto: Samantha Russell

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Best piloting of a Selfie Drone we’ve ever seen

We have to say Samantha Russell was literally the fastest turnaround we’ve had so far on Successful Brits in Toronto.

From Twitter ask, to following her, DM’ing an e-mail address, sending off the questions, having a cup of tea while we waited, to receiving the answers, to adding them here … literally took 24 hours.

We like that enthusiasm for self-PR and so does the Googlebots that crawl our website daily!

So, Samantha, take it away …

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?

A move from England was never on my radar until 2011 when my boyfriend at the time received a promotion which would take him to Toronto. Long story short, he ended up moving to New York instead and the romance didn’t last.

In the meantime I’d fallen in love with the idea of Toronto and moving away from England, so I packed up and moved anyway in September 2012. At first it was a “try it and see” as I’d never been to Canada and didn’t know anyone here, but I’m happy to call Toronto my home now.

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

I applied for a lot of positions through agencies while I was still in the U.K. but didn’t have much luck. I got my first contract position a month after I arrived, then I had one more contract position before I found the permanent job I have now.

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

The worst has to be the winter weather — I’ll never get used to that.

The best has to be the people, the diversity of the city and the many many things you can do in and around the city, especially in the summer.

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 anymore unfortunately, however I was a member of a lot of Facebook groups for people coming to Toronto on working holiday permits so I met a lot of people through that. I also went along to a couple of meetup groups for Brits.

My recommendation for best Brit pub has to be the Dog and Bear on Queen West; I instantly feel like I’m back at home there. I’m glad it’s my local!

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

Grin and bear your first winter in Toronto. Yes, it’s brutal … but the summer makes it more than worth it.

Take advantage of all the things you can do in the city like ice skating, cross country skiing, all the amazing bars and restaurants, the green space like High Park, and all the different cultures, just to name a few — you’ll soon fall in love with the city.

Thanks Samantha, seems like you’ve successfully settled in Toronto.

If anyone wants to connect, here’s her Twitter account and LinkedIn profile. Cheers!

Where to get your neeps and tatties on for Robbie Burns Day in Toronto

Haggis enjoying a neeps and tatties menage a trois

Haggis, neeps and tatties have never looked so good

Robbie Burns was recently chosen as the Greatest Scot of all time. And his birthday is coming up on January 25. We highly recommend you head out and find the best events in Toronto celebrating that fact.

Many thanks to blogTO for putting together this excellent list.

“Jelly shouldn’t run … it should wobble!” RIP Anne Kirkbride (a.k.a. Deirdre Barlow)

Anne Kirkbride (June 21, 1954 - January 19, 2015)

Anne Kirkbride (June 21, 1954 – January 19, 2015)

Some very sad news today, the passing of long-time (since 1972!) Coronation Street star Anne Kirkbride who played the famous Deirdre Barlow. The Brits in Toronto crew send their thoughts across the pond.

Here’s an affectionate look back that someone put together of a few of Deirdre’s best moments:

Where can we find Francis Gordon?

Questions questions, give me no answers, but to cut a long story short where can we find Francis Gordon?

Questions questions, give me no answers, but to cut a long story short where can we find Francis Gordon?

We get a ton, literally two e-mails a fortnight, asking for help. This one is very interesting … trying to track down a Brit’s old friend.

It’s from Sue:

“Hi, as a surprise for my husband I am trying to to trace an old school friend of his. Having moved house we have lost touch. His name is Francis Gordon from Liverpool. His son Lee played ice hockey in Toronto.

“He was an engineer by trade, a musician by heart. Played for pleasure in Lycra, on his guitar. Now into his mid-sixties the timing to make contact is now. With strawberry blond hair and plenty of it in his late ’40s … a bit of a mullet. I am sure someone will know him.

“A resident in Toronto since his early ’20s. Tried a number of avenues over the years but any help would be appreciated.”

So, if Francis Gordon is reading this or you can get us in touch, give us a shout with the Brits in Toronto contact form or e-mail britsintoronto AT gmail DOT COM.

Cheers!

Let’s all say hello to the Toronto Scottish Rugby Football Club

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Nice logo. Red, white and blue. A crest. Mythical beast. Ticks all the boxes

We haven’t done a profile piece in a while, so here’s one on the Toronto Scottish Rugby Football Club, sent to us by Michael Loney, Communications Director …

Hello there! Founded in 1953, we are the Toronto Scottish Rugby Football Club (TSRFC). Operating three times a week during the April to October season in the downtown core, our current roster holds both male and female teams, and boasts over 100 current Canadian and British players alike.

When counting our alumni, friends, and business/sponsor numbers, our network literally connects thousands of people. Whether you’re looking for a social outlet or some seriously good rugby, we support five teams combined, four of which play in the best possible division in the province. While TSRFC certainly can’t guarantee work or quarters, we will certainly do our due diligence to help.

Once you’re part of the Club, you’re family, and that’s exactly how you’ll be treated. If you’re concerned about costs, a payment plan is very possible after a one-time, up-front percentage fee. We even have a guy who gets us discounted boots!

Excluding indoor training locations which vary from season to season in the late winter, practice times are consistently 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., conveniently situated at either Sunnybrook Park at Leslie and Eglinton, or North Toronto Collegiate Institute (NTCI) at Yonge and Eglinton.

Our sponsors include the Globe and Mail and the incredible Duke Pubs chain. We regularly attend the Duke of Kent at Yonge and Eglinton on Thursday evenings after training, so if you just want to get your feet wet to see what we’re all about, you’re more than welcome to join us in the upstairs area around 9:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

The Duke of York and Duke of Devon are also no strangers to us, but we usually reserve those for special events. Regardless of your intention (unless it’s to mock us!) visit our website at www.torontoscottish.ca for more information, including training and game fixtures and maps, as well as the social happenings and specific contacts for each part of the Club.

We look forward to seeing you soon!