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 …)