Monthly Archives: January 2015

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

Caption here

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!

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!

Successful Brits in Toronto: Barry Hill

Caption goes here when we can find a decent copywriter good enough to write one. Any leads welcome, thanks

Caption goes here when we can find a decent copywriter good enough to write one. Any leads welcome, thanks

Wow, Brits in Toronto finally made it. Hit the big time. We have a celeb for you! Say hi to Harry Hill, he of the badgers! He is —

What?

Our apologies. Say hi to Barry Hill.

What made you decide to choose Toronto as a city of choice?

I returned to Canada a few years ago to be near my parents (who are originally from The Wirral, Cheshire, a wonderful place). Toronto was the nearest ad agency hub to their Canadian home, now in the charming hamlet of Sarnia — the Roman name for Guernsey, by the way. So not much choice for me.

I had just spent 12 years in the former colony of Hong Kong as a copywriter, last at Ogilvy where I wrote ads for The Economist, Dove “Campaign for Real Beauty” and HSBC Bank. (Ads viewable on my website www.hillcopy.com, profile on http://ca.linkedin.com/in/barryhillcopywriter.)

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?

Mainly permanent.

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

Before moving back, I brainstormed a direct mail piece that would (theoretically) impress T.O. creative directors, as I had no Canadian ad experience; then the lovely Mrs. and I hand-crafted and mailed 20 packages from Hong Kong. Miraculously, I landed a great job within six weeks.

Incidentally, I do miss Hong Kong’s amazing U.K.-built subway system, something I’m sure brother Byford has assessed. 😉

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

I met and married a girl from the Empire of India while in Hong Kong, so I’m reminded annually that winters here are the worst aspect — but she truly loves everything British, especially history and sporty cars, so what can I say.

We tease each other a lot about the rich combined “backstory” of our two nations, usually referencing the Kho-i-noor diamond “theft” and Ghandi, so I inevitably lose. But then I remind her she can’t make curry like her mother (sadly for me).

Best of T.O.? I’d say the relative safety and cleanliness for its size. And the fact it grew and prospered on the stability of British rule-of-law, discipline and engineering of course.

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?

Mostly chance, but I’m always up for a chat about the Motherland. Although I’m not averse to a pub, “and now for something completely different,” I suggest good old C of E as a fine place to meet a diverse range of Brits wherever you are in the world, whether Toronto, Hong Kong … or Sarnia?

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

The first stop for my parents was Toronto — in winter. Mum still jokes that someone should’ve warned her to bring more than smooth-soled shoes, as she had a few slips at first. (Again, C of E really helped them fit in initially.)

She’s still fascinated by what the original pioneer women went through … “they’d put most modern men to shame,” she says. Mum is one of those typical charming old feisty-but-loving English gals that melts your heart.

By the way, my parents said coming to Canada was the best decision they ever made!

Not really advice per se, but perhaps of interest, and to pay a bit of homage: my dad was a very young D-Day RAF mechanic — yes, I came very late in his life — and a patriotic U.K. history nut, so as a child I got the tour of seemingly every cathedral, castle, Roman fort and torture chamber in the Kingdom.

Interestingly, he crashed his motorbike after the war and met my wonderful mum as his nurse … good can truly come out of bad! It also means I can trace my ancestry back through a 350cc Ariel.

Although dad was a very reluctant choirboy, through him I eventually came to love King’s College Choir, Christmas carols, and the whole rich British choral tradition (now incl. Libera).

I confess to being a bit of a Royalist since he made me memorize them all back to 1066; I’m also hooked on many Brit TV shows on TVO and PBS.

Last and most importantly, my team(s): as an adopted Wirral-ite,I cheer for Liverpool, Everton or Tranmere Rovers — depending on who’s winning.

Guest article: Some tips on Canadian immigration

The Twitter account of Dignitas Immigration

The Twitter account of Dignitas Immigration

Disclaimer: This is a guest article written by an immigration consulting firm. No payment changed hands and it’s the responsibility of the reader to do their due diligence and get the necessary legal advice before pursuing any business relationship, contract or payment of fees for any service related to this content or organization.

Dear Brits,

I understand that you truly love your adopted country of Canada! Nevertheless, as a Regulated Immigration Consultant, I have personally heard your calls to stay:

“I’m thinking of immigrating to Canada and have been in Canada for a year or two on a working holiday visa” … “I’ve fallen in love with a Canadian and want to stay here with my partner” … “I’ve studied here and now that chapter in my life is over, and I’d like to continue my stay in Canada.”

Don’t fret because you have many options.

You and your dependant children may be sponsored by a spouse or common law partner or conjugal partner by a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident. Your partner (husband or wife) can be either of the opposite sex or same sex. Note: You are a spouse if you are married to your sponsor and your marriage is legally valid. You are a common law partner – either of the opposite sex or same sex – if you have been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. This category is for partners — either of the opposite sex or same sex — in exceptional circumstances beyond their control that prevent them from qualifying as common law partners or spouses by living together.

Perhaps, you qualify for the Express Entry immigration points system which recently launched on January 1 whereby “in demand” immigrants will be in Canada within six months. With this program, skilled immigrants will be matched with vacant jobs where there are no available Canadian workers. After applying online and registering with the government’s job bank, applicants will be entered into a pool. Only the candidates with the most points will be offered permanent residency.

Another viable option for you to obtain permanent residence if you already have experience working in Canada is through the Canadian Experience Class.

With all of these options and room for error in your application, some of you might acquire the help of an Immigration Consultant. Please choose your immigration representative carefully and make sure that s/he is in good standing with the immigration consultants regulating body, ICCRC.

At Dignitas Immigration (which is where I work as an Immigration Consultant), we care for our clients and their financial situations. For our clients who provide details of their financial hardships, we are ready to reduce our fees up to 60 per cent.

So if you have any questions regarding Immigration to Canada, you can visit us at www.DignitasImmigration.ca or call us at 416-551-7008 or 647-783-0013.

Sincerely,

Mila Vrdoljak
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant with Dignitas Immigration (consultant identification #R511335)

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A bad year for Canadian citizenship

As Graham Taylor once said, "Do I not like that"

As Graham Taylor once said, “Do I not like that”

There was some interesting commentary on the Toronto Star website yesterday by Humera Jabir, a law student at McGill University.

She examines how “Citizenship in Canada is no longer a right but a privilege conditional on conduct.”

Snip:

“‘Citizenship is not a right, it’s a privilege.’ This was Minister Chris Alexander’s justification for the sweeping changes to Canadian citizenship introduced last June. The reforms change many things, the most serious of which is the power given to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to revoke the citizenship of some Canadian citizens convicted of serious crimes.

“Previously, citizenship could only be revoked if it had been acquired fraudulently. But after this past year’s reform, citizenship is conditional on good conduct. A citizen who is a dual national or who can claim another nationality can be stripped of Canadian citizenship if convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage, anywhere in the world. Citizenship is no longer a right, but a privilege conditional on conduct.

“It is worth reflecting on how this reform has changed the meaning of Canadian citizenship. Citizen stripping has yet to be used. But the year ahead may reveal which Canadians will be targeted for removal.”

Full story here.

It costs more to become a Canadian citizen / Express Entry launched

We remember the days you could see a flick, grab a meal, enjoy a pint, become a Canadian citizen and still have change from $300

We fondly remember the days you could see a flick, grab a meal, enjoy a pint, become a Canadian citizen and still have change from $320

Two stories for the price of one today. First off … the bad news:

It’s now more expensive to become a Canadian citizen — up from $300 to a whopping $530. That’s a big hike, considering the last time it changed was only last February.

As Advisor.ca reports: “In an analysis of the new fees, the Citizenship and Immigration Department says the higher price will allow it to recoup almost all of the $555 in costs.

“Put another way, the government says that’s an estimated $41 million it won’t have to spend.”

In its analysis, the department said the fee jump may impose additional financial pressures on some people or families.”

Full story here.

The good news? Express Entry started yesterday. This video explains all …