It’s been absolutely yonks since we featured a Successful Brit in Toronto, maybe because we’ve all been caught up in the excitement of the Pan Am Games or something.
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 decision to move here came at a time when I was searching for “more” — more from my career, more ways to see the world, and more opportunities for myself that I knew wouldn’t be possible from my relatively small Scottish hometown.
It’s been nearly two years now and I’m excited to see what’s next!
What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?
I’m extremely lucky in that I came to Toronto with a job already in place. I had been working with Uteach Recruitment for nearly two years in our Scottish office when it was decided that we were opening an office in Canada … and that I could be a part of that! I’m now the Resourcing Manager in our office.
We help teachers from overseas find full-time teaching positions in the UK, then we train them for free so that they can begin their international careers with the best chance of success.
There are so many opportunities for Canadian teachers in the UK, and being able to use my own experience of moving halfway across the world for work to help bright, enthusiastic teachers do the same thing is definitely one of the reasons why I enjoy my job so much.
What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?
One of the best things is how friendly people are; I moved to Toronto alone and I can’t imagine how different my experience would have been if I hadn’t been welcomed into my office, my apartment building, and even my local coffee shop by some of the loveliest people I have ever met.
A year ago, my best friend from home was visiting and we asked two girls in a bar if they wanted to play pool with us — those two girls are now my closest friends here and I couldn’t be happier about that.
Also, patio season. Obviously.
The worst thing? Thinking I could survive my first winter here in a parka that I brought from home. I have learned from my mistakes.
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?
We are all over the place in Toronto, so it’s not difficult to meet other Brits when you’re out and about. I go to The Caledonian for my haggis fix and I go to The Football Factory to shout at men kicking a ball on television.
I’m doing absolutely nothing to help break the stereotype … but eating unhealthy food and loudly denouncing football teams in public does make me feel a lot closer to home!
Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.
Do not trust a streetcar to get you anywhere on time. Walk around and get lost as often as you possibly can. You might as well, the streetcar’s going to make you late anyway.
Be unapologetic and unrelenting in your search for the perfect poutine.
Enjoy yourself and everything this city has to offer you.