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 www.pcproshop.ca and www.thamestech.ca. [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!