Monthly Archives: October 2015

Domestic Goddess Nigella Lawson heading to Toronto


The Domestic Goddess is heading to Toronto for a book signing

You know it’s lunchtime in the Brits in Toronto office when Kev the intern gets out some bread, slaps on a few wedges of cheddar, dash of Worcestershire sauce, sticks it under the grill for a minute and — boom! — delish cheese on toast.

We’ve never been invited to lunch with Domestic Goddess Nigella Lawson but we’re sure hers is MUCH better than Kev’s. So much so, in fact, that she’s coming to Toronto next week to promote her new book full of satisfying meals, Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food.

Nigella will be at Indigo Bay & Bloor on Tuesday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. signing copies of her book.

All the details are here so pop along and give a proper British welcome to yet another successful Brit in Toronto!


English painter J.M.W. Turner to be featured at the Art Gallery of Ontario


J.M.W. Turner is also credited with the very first selfie

The Art Gallery of Ontario’s latest exhibition is a tribute to one of the most celebrated English painters, J.M.W. Turner.


“Featuring more than 50 paintings and works on paper on loan from Tate Britain, J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free is the first major exhibition to focus on the final and most experimental phase of the artist’s career. Beginning in 1835 and closing with his last exhibitions at the Royal Academy in 1850, the exhibition explores how Turner’s later years were a time of exceptional energy and vigour.”

The exhibition runs from October 31, 2015 to January 31, 2016 so lots of time to check it out.

Brits — are you getting married in Canada in early 2016? Ant and Dec may be able to help …


No, it’s not a kebab. It’s more, much more …

We think Ant & Dec first appeared on the scene around the same time as Mr. Blobby, but went on to fame, fortune and a really good agent that doesn’t make them say, “Blobby! Blobby! Blobby!” every five minutes for contractual reasons.

And guess what? They can possibly help you surprise a family member in the UK. Read on …

Brits in Canada! Are you getting married in Canada in early 2016? Do you have a family member in the UK that can’t attend the wedding?

ITV are looking for fun, outgoing, exciting people — that covers Brits in Toronto readers then — who want to be involved in one of the UK’s biggest entertainment shows!

To apply, simply nominate your family member in the UK and they could be in for a surprise of their life!

For more details, click here or contact andy DOT fitzpatrick AT itv DOT com or get our your long-distance calling card and give him a shout at +1-44-2071574947.

The lawyers make us say terms and conditions apply.

Stick t’kettle on chook, the British Isles Show is back from October 31 – November 1, 2015


Stick t’kettle on chook, Corrie Street’s Sair Khan will be in town this weekend, ey up

Yes, it’s back — the British Isles Show runs from October 31 – November 1, 2015 at the Enercare Centre featuring over 300 vendors. Massive. Absolutely massive.

Don’t worry — it’s not all tea and crumpets. As well as a guest appearance from Corrie Street’s Sair Khan there will also be performances from The British Invasion, Rod Stewart, U2 and Abba (the latter three being tribute artists).

There’s tons more Brit stuff going on that we can’t fit into an optimal blog post space, so head here and check it all out.

See you there!

12 Days of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Toronto


More British than fish and chips, talking about the weather and thanking your barber for a “great haircut” even though you know it looks crap

In two days — just two! — a series of events in Canada’s biggest city will showcase the best Britain has to offer.


“From technology to tourism, the British Consulate-General in Toronto, UK Trade & Investment Canada, Visit Britain, and British Council, are set to celebrate the many strong links between Canada’s largest city and the UK.

“Over the course of 12 days, from 29 October to 9 November, a broad series of events will shine a light on the historical, innovative and creative partnership between Canada and the UK.

“Anchored from a special UK House on Toronto’s famed Yonge Street in the heart of downtown, 12 Days of GREAT Britain will be an excellent opportunity for the public to discover why the UK is a perfect place to study, visit and do business.”

Full story here.

The Whisky Advent Calendar


Remember you’re meant to open each one day by day

We know, we know … it’s a bit early to be chatting about Crimbo presents but this one hits the spot. Plus you have to order it before the start of December anyway to get the full use of it.

Presenting the Whisky Advent Calendar. At 124 British Pounds ($250) it’s definitely not cheap. But by, say, December 15 you probably won’t care too much as you happily open each little window, sample the dram inside, and look forward to the arrival of Father Christmas.

Highlights among this year’s 24 drams include a rare 50-year-old Scotch, an award-winning Japanese whisky and the World’s Best Blended Whisky (World Whiskies Awards 2014).

Don’t forget to leave out the Jaffa Cakes and milk!

Let’s all say hello to new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau


“He’s just not ready!” Yeah, right

It was an exciting night in Toronto last night: the Blue Jays rocked.

And there was also the little thing of a federal election. It was basically a landslide for the Liberals and its leader, Justin Trudeau — now the new Canadian Prime Minister. Some were calling it a “Red Tide” as the results swept across the country.

Trudeau seems to want to unite people from all backgrounds, so we’re interested to see how that shapes up as regards to immigrants.

It should be noted that Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander lost his seat so we’re curious to see who gets that portfolio and what they do with it.

Well done, Justin. Interesting times indeed!

Toronto FC could make the playoffs tonight, which would be bloody brilliant


Be there or be square

History could be made tonight when TFC plays host at BMO Field to the New York Red Bulls at 7:00 p.m. With just a victory or a draw, TFC can seal a place in the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in club history.

This is huge news for football fans in Toronto. The club has had its ups and downs, for sure. Who can recall when former Toronto Mayor David Miller famously gave up his season tickets in utter disappointment?

But you can’t change history. Unless you’re Doctor Who. Or Superman flying really fast around the planet so it spins backwards.

So, let’s all get behind the lads tonight — and their coaches and backroom staff — and cheer them on to the next chapter in their history!

Let’s all say hello to The British Invasion


Time to roll back the years to when British music ruled

“What’s your name? Who’s your daddy?”

Very troubling words if you’re banged up in jail, but very enjoyable if you hear them sung by a great band to a tuneful melody.

We recently heard about The British Invasion after they were scheduled to perform at Taste of the Kingsway last month.

“This extremely well polished four-piece band from Toronto, Ontario, is well-versed in British Invasion songs (The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Zombies, etc.) and of course, Beatles’ songs ranging from 1962 to 1969.”

It’s always good to be able to listen to some music from the time when you could take your gal to the local hop, grab a pie and beer, a film and late-night kebab and still have change from a fiver. Good times.

We caught up with Joe Culmone, one of the band’s vocalists who also plays rhythm and bass guitar …

We read on your website the band was formed in 2011 with a former classmate — how did you guys decide Josh and Alex were the right fit?

Not a former classmate, but with a friend who went to a different school at which a mutual friend introduced us. Thus started the musical relationship.

My last tribute band to the UK ’60s disbanded in 2010 (no name). Soon after, my father was diagnosed with brain cancer and I dropped out of the music scene altogether to help take care of him. I then decided that staying away from music was actually counter-productive.

So in March of 2011, I put an ad in Kijiji asking for a “Harrison” and “Ringo” type of players to join this project (now The British Invasion). I had several other people contact me and Jerry and I auditioned all of them.

The e-mail I received from Alex was an interesting one. Here’s what he wrote: “I’m English, I eat Indian food, and I play guitar.” I later called him and we spoke about a drummer friend of his whom Alex said we would be impressed with.

So in April of 2011 we set up an audition with Alex and Josh. Little did we know, they were auditioning us as much as we were them. We originally asked them to learn 12 tunes.

The day before, Alex e-mailed me and asked if we could do six because they had another appointment (not so). We found out later after an hour audition/rehearsal that both had been to many other auditions in which they were teaching the band members the songs they had learned for those auditions.

That first meeting proved to be the recipe to the creation of The British Invasion.

Your website lists some of the bands you cover — how do you decide which ones (or songs) to add?

We are constantly changing songs and attempt to balance them out in order to appeal to the crowd’s tastes. Also, if they sound good and we like them, we believe the crowd will like them as well.

How do you do promotions/publicity and get your gigs?

Lots of telephone, e-mails, and letters!!! At this point, a lot of our gigs come through word of mouth and also people approaching us to book us while we’re at our gigs. No shortage of work for The British Invasion!

Do you still find time to practise or have it down pat now?

We are constantly practising, mostly on our own first for new songs and then adding group practices. However, any of the songs we have worked on these past four years, we pretty much have them down.

Any funny gig stories to share about life on the road?

Well, from time to time people do act silly when they have had too much to drink. A couple of us have had bras thrown at us — a result of drinking too much — not us, them!

Best pub in Toronto?

Any and all that invite us to perform!

And here they are in full British music action: