Monthly Archives: July 2015

Successful Brits in Toronto: Stewart and Emma Langham

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Stewart and Emma Langham master the art of the selfie stick using just their double-jointed toes

Emma Langham always wanted to do some travelling, so left Cambridge, UK in September 2014 and coaxed along Stewart too. Unfortunately they had to leave behind their two gerbils.

The good news, though, is that they have a travelling companion … a brown bear called Boris. That leads us nicely into the fact that these travelling threesome have set up a blog called Brown Bear Travels where their friends and family — and now you, complete British strangers — can follow their fun adventures around Canada!

We asked Emma to spill the beans on life in Toronto …

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?

We didn’t initially choose Toronto. It was just meant to be the place we spent a few days on our initial trip across Canada to Vancouver, where we planned to set up home.

In the end we didn’t love Vancouver as much as we thought we would and when Stewart was offered a second interview for a job in Toronto we didn’t hesitate to fly across the country for it.

We’ve not looked back!

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

Stewart and I have had very different experiences …

Stewart applied for a job just before we left, didn’t hear back for three months and then just days after we had activated our work permits he got a call offering him an interview. So whilst he got the first job he applied for, it took me nine months to get a job related to my career.

I think the main hindrance has been the sheer number of job hunters in Toronto at the moment — you really need something that makes you stand out.

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

The best thing is the diversity and the sheer size of the city means there is always something to do. I love that we can sample food from across the world, go paddling on the lake or relax on a beach without leaving the city.

The one thing that annoys me is how much everyone moans about the TTC. True, it might not be up to London standards in terms of subway coverage but good luck getting anywhere in London for the equivalent of $3!

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?

Not really, although we did run into a couple who were from the same home town as me which was pretty exciting — normally no one has a clue where it is. They told us about the Toronto Brit Meetup Group on meetup.com who host regular pub quizzes with British food as prizes so we plan to check that out at some point.

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

Volunteering is a great way to keep up your skills, network and get some Canadian experience, especially if you’re struggling to find work.

Otherwise, get out and enjoy it! Toronto is an amazing city!

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Before you arrive in Canada

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“Weeeeeee! I love my commute to work now! Weeeeeee!”

Here’s a handy video from Citizenship and Immigration Canada aimed at yet-to-arrive immigrants that gives valuable tips to ease the process of settling down in Canada.

Being equipped with English or French language skills, carrying education, marriage, adoption and other documents, inquiring to check whether one’s profession is regulated or not, getting international education and experience assessed to check if it meets Canadian standards and taking steps to build Canadian qualifications are included.

Enjoy!

Successful Brits in Toronto: Julian Richings

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You may have seen him in films and television shows, but not in pubs where the servers wear kilts

We love Death. Not the kind where you kick the bucket, pop your clogs, shuffle off this mortal coil, snuff it, croak or sleep with the fishes.

No, silly! Brits in Toronto loves Death, the character in Supernatural, as played by the versatile Julian Richings.

He’s also appeared in over 50 films and TV shows such as Orphan Black, Hannibal, Man of Steel, X-Men: The Last Stand, Cube and The Colony.

Julian was born in Oxford, England and moved to Toronto in 1984 … which is perfect for us and this blog post entitled Successful Brits in Toronto.

So, what’s life like around this fair city? We called the Winchester Brothers for back-up and asked 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 toured with a British theatre company in 1980. We slept on couches and floors and relied on the hospitality of other artists. It was a frugal existence but we gained a hands-on insight into the daily struggle of other performers. We had gigs in Toronto, Chicago and New York.

I fell in love with Toronto. Its vigour, its lack of pretension and its clear sense of an emerging voice.

It has remained an exciting and challenging place for me, and on a personal level, I fell in love with a gal from the city. We’ve been married for 30 years and raised two children here.

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

My first gig was at the (then) Burton auditorium at York University. Staff at Theatre Passe Muraille saw it and invited us to perform downtown in their space before returning to the UK.

From there we were invited back to a Toronto theatre festival the following year.

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

The worst? Not the winter. [First person that’s said that! ~ Editor.]

I like all the seasons except high summer. The humidity in August is pretty dire, coupled with the over-compensating air conditioning in shops and cinemas. You wilt then you freeze.

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 don’t make a special effort. Sometimes I get categorized together with other Brits in casting sessions, where we all have a natter and talk about football and other important topics.

We tell each other to “break a leg” then go on our merry way.

I steer clear of pubs with faux British names or where servers wear kilts. And I like cold beer!

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

Enjoy. Explore. It’s a truly magnificent city.

Who’s going to the 4th Annual Brilliant British BBQ Bash?

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Bowler hat not a necessity but would make for some great Facebook photos after the fact

The lovely chaps and chapesses over at The British Canadian Chamber of Trade and Commerce are organizing their 4th Annual Brilliant British BBQ Bash.

That’s quite a mouthful … of hot dogs and burgers! (Thank you.)

July 21, 2015 from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. at MuvBox Patio, Brookfield Place, Toronto. Tickets = $65 and include Brill BBQ Buffet, one British drink and raffle ticket.

Full details here.

Local British football supporters clubs needed to Rock the Pitch for charity!

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Come and kick some leather around for a good cause

Ross from Opera Bob’s Public House got in touch with us to help spread the word about Rock the Pitch, a charity football tournament taking place on August 30, 2015 at Crescent School.

Opera Bob’s is also the Toronto HQ of the Manchester City Supporters Club who are taking over the organization of this year’s tournament — now in its seventh year.

They are looking for as many local British football supporters clubs as possible to take part this year, to raise funds and awareness for such a great initiative and have a fun day out on the pitch.

More details on the official Rock the Pitch website, flyer and Sportsnet article.

So, pass it around (just like you do on the pitch) to anyone who thinks they have what it takes!

Magnet: Connecting immigrants to employment opportunities

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Mark Patterson talks about connecting newcomers to Canada with jobs

New Canadians features an interview with Mark Patterson, Executive Director, Magnet who talks about the new online tool that helps bring down barriers to employment for new immigrants to Canada.

“We have over 2,900 employers that are looking to use the system,” he says. “And a lot of our employers are very interested in connecting in a targeted way to newcomers to Canada and are committed to trying to help people transition more quickly.”

Worth a look!