Monthly Archives: February 2015

Let’s all help fellow Brit Grant find a job!

Grant wants to be “bigged up”

Scottish lad Grant sent an e-mail to Brits in Toronto, mentioned that he’s applying for International Experience Canada and therefore needs some help in being “bigged up” — his words. Always happy to oblige, so here’s some intel …

Grant tells us that he’s looking for a job in IT, probably entry level since his experience is limited.

He’s worked at a bank, got some programming skills and, “independently designed and developed two database systems for my university honours project to compare the performance of SQL and NoSQL. The databases I built digitized the companies’ catalogue items, orders, current stock holdings, and customers, reducing company costs by removing the need for 3rd party data management and paper records.”

Sounds good to us. Can’t get enough SQL these days, to be fair.

He’s also a nice chap. As the volunteer website assistant for the Huntington’s Disease Scotland charity since November 2014, Grant audits, updates, maintains, develops and designs the Huntington’s Disease Scotland charity website. In a group of other volunteers he completes all these jobs to ensure the website remains current with content from HD Scotland, and current with ever-evolving web technologies.

So, there you have it. If anyone in Toronto can give him a head start, contact grant.woolard1 AT gmail DOT Com or check his LinkedIn profile.

Good luck, mate!


Connector: New program helps skilled immigrants make vital connections


The Arsenal Spurs derby was a bit lame in the year 2154

Another great article today from the brilliant Prepare For Canada website. This one explains the new Connector program in the Greater Toronto Area.


Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) announced the pilot of Connector in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

“This innovative program puts professionals (Participants) who have immigrated to Canada in touch with well-connected leaders (Connectors) who want to expand their networks with new talent. The pilot is funded by the Metcalf Foundation.

“Originally founded in Halifax in 2009, Connector is an award-winning networking initiative taking place in communities across Canada, offering skilled immigrants the chance to expand their professional network. Once that first connection has been made, the Connector goes on to introduce the Participant to three of their contacts. The Participant meets these contacts, who each then introduce him or her to three more.

“‘Many skilled immigrants in the GTA are still not getting work commensurate with their education and experience,’ said Margaret Eaton, Executive Director, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.

“‘Through Connector, we want to support more internationally educated professionals to make those contacts that are essential to progressing in their careers. Expanding their networks should better situate them in the job market. We’re very excited to be piloting this program in the GTA.'”

Full story here.

Exclusive to Brits in Toronto: Enjoy 15% off at Easy Catch Fish and Chips!


Yep, that’s our logo. Our readers get 15% off!

We got a jolly nice surprise today when we checked our Twitter feed! Easy Catch Fish and Chips are offering 15% off their fine fare ALL MARCH LONG for Brits in Toronto readers.

Here’s the tweet. You need to show them the beautifully designed image above on a mobile device, and before you can say, “Batter my cod please” off comes the 15%.

Pass it around. Take your mates. Take your mum. Take anyone!

Here’s a review on BlogTO, so the Brits in Toronto crew plan to check it out soon.

Successful Brits in Toronto: Mark Newell


Has to be the most laid-back, chilled out, pipe-smoking Brit we’ve featured on the site so far*

Let’s all murmur, “Good day old chap!” to Mark Newell, the stylish gent pictured above.*

Mark is the co-owner and operator of Toronto’s first bohemian tea house, board game room and hookah lounge called Bampot.

Our eagle-eyed Google search engine alerted us to Bampot when we heard two words: Poutine Soup. “We have transformed this classic French-Canadian dish to make it just as hearty but not as heavy — and it’s even better than it sounds! Our delicately spiced broth, reminiscent of a really good gravy, is poured over oven-roasted potatoes and locally produced cheese curds to create a dish you’ll keep coming back for.”

The website also mentions that all of the food at Bampot is vegetarian, much of it is vegan, and there are plenty of gluten-free options on offer as well.

So, how could we resist finding out more about this enterprising Brit? We contacted him, sent a few questions and in two puffs on your dad’s pipe, had these answers …

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?

My partner and I had aspirations of starting a tea shop. The economy back in Scotland is awful and felt it would have been too difficult; always wanted to go to Canada! Decided I would travel across this fine country in a 1984 Westfalia, starting in Halifax — but the damn thing broke down so often I only made it as far as Toronto.

So it chose me in a way. Decided to set up shop here. You are the place. The place is not you.

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

I did not want to work for anyone else, so started my own business, build it and now operate the job that I love.

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

Winter in this city is awful. Total buzzkill.

Summer in this city however … It brings out the best in the place and the people.

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 go to The Caledonian at least once a month to get my haggis and banter fix and hear the Scots brogue. Also a lot of Scottish, Irish and English come to my place (it’s a bit of a joke around here).

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

If you’re looking for banter, come find me! I’ve been missing it!

*Disclaimer: Brits in Toronto has no idea if the photos people send us accurately portray them or are simply swiped from the Internet as a dare. We are not legally liable for your utter disappointment if you bump into a pipe-smoking, foppish-haired male model in a Toronto street and they have no idea what you are talking about when you start inquiring about how much they charge for hookahs.

Let’s all help fellow Brit Wayne find a job!

This is one Wayne that doesn't need a job. He's a multi-billionaire, fights crime and has chiselled cheekbones to die for

This is one Wayne that doesn’t need a job. He’s a multi-billionaire, fights crime by night and has chiselled cheekbones to die for. But he is a Brit, so that’s good

We pulled a random postcard out of the Brits in Toronto mailbag and it was from Wayne. He writes, “I’m looking for a job in Canada. I’m currently based in the U.K. but keen to relocate ASAP.”

Can’t blame him. Good life in Toronto.

So, here’s some more details. Wayne is looking for: Business Development, Talent Acquisition, Recruitment Manager or, “anything that is in line with my skills and experience.”

And those are …

Fifteen years’ industry experience, with sectors covering digital (UX, front end development, project management), retail, integrated marketing, design and branding. Wayne’s worked with a broad range of clients from high profile creative agencies, SMEs, corporate PLCs and public sector to retail and digital studios. He has built up a range of skills, which have provided him with a platform to succeed in his next role. He is also a team player and a mentor!

Wayne also runs his own kickboxing academy with a range of students from junior to senior level, and is a qualified Chinese Kickboxing instructor (Blackbelt 2nd Dan), Lau Gar Kung Fu (Blackbelt 1st Dan), and Personal Trainer.

So, if any of that whets your appetite — or someone you know who can help Wayne out — here is his LinkedIn profile and the e-mail is fuquan40 AT gmail DOT COM.

Good luck, Wayne!

Temporary foreign worker? You may qualify for $50 by taking a survey


We strongly agree that’s a horrible shade of green

Well, this is exciting … and new for us! Brits in Toronto were contacted and asked to feature a survey of temporary foreign workers in Canada. It takes 20 minutes online and for doing it, qualified participants get $50.

The topic is about financial services usage. No special knowledge is required.

A few caveats: to qualify you need to be a temporary foreign worker (not a citizen or permanent resident) and make $50,000+ a year in a semi-skilled or white collar job.

Environics Research Group specializes in research among newcomers and immigrants to Canada — they conduct online surveys to help their clients understand these populations.

They are not selling anything, and this is a research project in order to understand temporary foreign workers better. The survey link will be closed around the end of February.

So, if you qualify, check it out or let a mate know.

(And just so we’re on the same page, the link we are using is an affiliate link so Brits in Toronto benefits too for a few bucks. Pays the hosting fees and such.)


Totally biased product review by me — The Pie Commission


This is just a snippet of their box for takeaway pies. The other half shows handy heating instructions …

We haven’t done a totally biased product review for a while, so it’s time. Why did we wait so long, you ask?

Well, unlike the bloody big deal, the Brits in Toronto crew wanted to make sure that the bloody good pies were going to be around longer than a year.

Yes, we finally get to ask, “Who ate all the pies? Who ate all the pies? You f…”

Our hidden secret, the place we hoped no one would find out about, is getting noticed. The Pie Commission was recently featured in Toronto Life as one of their seven favourite pies. Can’t say we disagree.

It’s a small place. Tucked away down an alley off The Queensway, east of Islington, you may drive past it the first time. But if you slow down to the statutory Ontario speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour, you’ll be able to check your rearview mirror, indicate and pull in safely.

They have a patio! We like to refer to is as the Pie Patio (and piepatio dot com is still available, chaps, just saying …) for those who prefer to sit outside and break their crust.

But we like it inside:


There they are. Like stray pies in a pie shelter, just waiting to be adopted and given a good home

The smell of freshly-baked pies is heaven. It’s warm and cosy, there’s a couple of stools to perch on and a nice selection of hot sauces.

But, let’s just get to the meat and potatoes of the review, shall we? Or, the chicken, cheddar, bacon and mash of the review. Because that is a filling. And it’s really good.

We’ve tried about five of their pies so far …


There are regular specials. Pulled Pork? Lobster and Shrimp? Duck Cassoulet? Come on … really? Outstanding!

… and they have all been delicious. But the best thing about their pies is the crust. It is so flaky, buttery, melt in your mouth, that The Pie Commission should sell snack bags just of crust chunks — and give Brits in Toronto 10% commission for the idea. Or free pies. We’re easy.

They also sell a delicious sausage roll that is a decent size and a nice selection of smaller sweet pies too, such as coconut cream and chocolate Nutella banana custard pie.

It’s always worth just dropping in as the selection seems to change often.

No surprise from us. A solid Brits in Toronto 5/5 stars.

(Please don’t tell anyone, though, or RT this a million times as we hate lining up in a busy shop for pies …)

Newcomers Toronto Fair — March 7, 2015


Amazing how the visitors in the food hall look like ants from up here!

We thought it would be nice to give a free plug for the Newcomers Toronto Fair, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on March 7, 2015.

The organizers say, “It’s a great opportunity for newcomers to find out about jobs, visas, settlement and education.”

From the website: “Take the first step towards connecting with employers, educational and settlement services, helping newcomers in Canada by visiting our Newcomers Canada Fair in Toronto.”

All the event details can be found at

“What’s in it for me?” the event’s publicity copywriters hear you cry. Well, there’s lots of valuable information on immigration, employment, education and settlement in Canada.

And even better … pre-register online for FREE ENTRY before midnight, March 6, 2015. Thereafter, online tickets or general admission at the door to the Fair will be $10.00 per person, inclusive of all taxes.

So, no point hanging around, eh? Go and check it out!

Forget the free plane ticket to Toronto — cheer up your mum with a nice tin of soup!


Forget paying for that flight to Toronto for your mum — send her a tin of soup instead!

As you can see in our tagline at the top of the page, Brits in Toronto was Voted “Best New Website 2013” by my mum.

We’re all very proud of that honour, and even though our mums — and other loved ones that we left behind to move to Toronto — may still be living on the other side of the pond, you can now treat them to what they’ve always wanted: a nice tin of Heinz Soup.

Now in its 5th year, the campaign designed by We Are Social lets you order soup for a loved one who may need a little pick-me-up.

Form their site: “Get Well Soup offers the nation a simple way to cheer up a poorly loved one, by delivering a personalized can of Heinz Soup straight to their door. Working from the simple but significant insight that soup is the perfect pick-me-up when feeling under the weather, users can personalize their own can of Tomato or Chicken Soup for just £3.99 — a great price for such a unique gift.”

Here’s the Facebook page. You can even personalize the cans, and as a bonus, £1 from each sale will also be donated to children’s charity Starlight, to bring magical storytellers to seriously ill children across the U.K.

It’s a great idea all around. So, what are you waiting for? Send yer ma that tin of Chicken Soup she’s been wishing for all week and show her that you care …

Successful Brits in Toronto: Steve Adams


This legendary salesman you see before you is the founder of the Ex-Pat Xmas pub crawl

We know that Steve is a born and raised Londoner who met and married a Canadian. Been here for 11 years and in Toronto for eight.

By what wizardry do we deduce this factoid? Here.

We went back and forth a little in some top notch cyberbanter, and then Steve sent us his insight on being a Successful Brit in Toronto.

After working in IT sales in the U.K. and staying in the industry since, Steve formed two companies that work on areas he’s long been involved in. The two sites are and [The free advertising siren just started blaring! ~ Editor.]

The first is in partnership with a good friend from London, Ontario, while the second is his own project. PC Pro Shop focuses on IT hardware and supplies, while Thames Technology is driven by the demand for managed print services. [$250 right there in potential pay per click. ~ Editor.]

So, on to the good stuff …

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?

After a holiday romance and a distance relationship with a wonderful Canadian lady, it came down to either living in London or Toronto. It was possibly the biggest, yet easiest decision to make. Toronto has the vibrancy of a major city, yet is small enough to be intimate and welcoming.

There was some initial “what the hell have I done” moments … but they quickly faded and I now know that the decision to make Toronto home was the best I could I have made. It’s home.

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

For my first Canadian job, I took a role selling advertising for a start-up firm in downtown Toronto. The money was less that I had originally earned at my first-ever job in London, but it was a case of gaining the infamous “Canadian experience.”

I do understand some of the ways you need Canadian experience, but at the same time it is frustrating as hell.

But the sales style and way of doing business in Toronto, I found completely different to the U.K. Selling — especially in London — is more of a social skill, whereas in Toronto, it’s definitely more professional.

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

The best aspect of living in Toronto is definitely the multicultural side. I love the fact that one of my daughters, at aged nine, asked me what racism meant after hearing it on the TV.

To a much lesser extent, I do enjoy that the soccer/football starts at 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday and finishes around noon. Get my football fix without interfering too much with the weekend.

The worst part is the price of a night out. Why is beer/wine so expensive here? Great beers, but very expensive! (Especially my beloved Guinness!)

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 do keep in touch with quite a few ex-pats and manage to get out every now and again for a few social events.

One of the main yearly events is the Ex-Pat Xmas pub crawl which seems to get bigger year after year. Usually on the first Saturday in December, we start off at a bar somewhere south of the city on Yonge Street and work our merry way north up to Bloor.

Otherwise, the Dog and Bear, The Rhino, The Football Factory or the recently opened Bristol tend to be the places I’ll head to. Recommend them all!

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

One piece of advice I would give any newcomer to Toronto would be to join a sports/football/soccer team. It was the best thing I done once I moved here as it opened me up to good people from back home as well as Canadians and other nationalities.

Whatever your passion is, there is definitely others in Toronto that love it too.

Thanks Steve, successful in life and very adept at getting some free advertising!

First round of Express Entry candidates invited to apply


Vroooommm! Vrooom! Vrrroooommmmmmmmmmm!

The first skilled workers have been invited to apply for permanent residency via the new Express Entry scheme, reports Prepare For Canada.


“Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced that the first round of top-ranked candidates from Canada’s Express Entry system is already helping to fill demonstrated and verifiable gaps in Canada’s labour market.

“On Saturday, January 31, 779 skilled workers, including professionals in natural and applied sciences, and industrial, electrical and construction trades, were invited to apply for permanent residency in Canada. Each of these candidates declared that they already have a valid job offer or provincial nomination.”

Full story here.