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.