Successful Brits in Toronto are like the buses in the city: every-bloody-where! And you thought we were going to riff on this tweet, right?
OK, enough with the throwaway banter. Tonight we feature Patrick O’Donoghue who originally hails from Bristol. The Bristol tourism website proudly states, “Want to know what makes Bristol so special? It’s more than just boats, bridges and balloons, you know …”
So now we do know why Patrick decided to leave Bristol, let’s find out a bit more about him …
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?
I met my Canadian fiancée in London near the end of her working holiday. When her visa ran out I decided to come back with her, in 2011, and now we’re getting married in May so that worked out pretty well! [Didn’t work out so well for Bristol: one less taxpayer to fund its boats, bridges and balloons. ~ Editor]
What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?
Monster, Workopolis, Charity Village, agencies — you name it! Endless sending of CVs with no reply. It took around four months to get a proper job, and when I did, the manager loved England so it helped me on the experience side I think.
A few years on and I’m at Ryerson and it’s a great place to work.
What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?
Best: So many restaurants from all cuisines and poutine! The summers are great, and I don’t really mind the winters as you can ski and skate. Also, travelling to Muskoka in the autumn.
Worst: Tipping and the cost of going out. The TTC network should be better for a major city — who wants to take a subway, a streetcar and a bus in one journey?!
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 wouldn’t say I’ve made the effort; I’ve found that initially Brits are suspicious of other Brits over here, but once you get chatting you can bond over the weird bits of Canadian life.
Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.
Buy a proper winter coat. I only bought mine to stop people asking me, “OMG, is that your winter coat?” … but it was a good decision.
Get involved in Canadian pasttimes: hockey, skating, pumpkin picking — if you’re going to live here, you may as well embrace it!
Thanks Patrick. (He didn’t include any contact details in case scammers start to try and get a slice of his $800 lottery windfall.)