Monthly Archives: September 2016

Totally biased product review by me — Knorr Hot Curry Sauce Mix


Don’t feel you have to ladle on the sauce like in the photo, you can never do it that precisely anyway unless your ladle has the little pouring spout thing that usually comes in the more expensive ladles

The Brits in Toronto crew love to cook. OK, it’s easy to head to the nearest curry house for a Ruby Murray, but it’s also good to buy the ingredients ourselves, get a sauce and hope for the best.

So we jumped in the motor and headed to one of our favourite British shops A Bit of Home to see what they had. After picking up some Monster Munch and Heinz Chunky Classic Ploughman’s Pickle, we spied Knorr Hot Curry Sauce Mix.

After a bit of cheeky banter with the owner, we paid for the goods, gave a hearty “Cheerio mate!” and off we jolly well popped back to the office.

Emeril Lagasse once told us, “Bam! When you make packet curry sauce, I recommend using less water than stated on the packet thus making a slightly thicker sauce. Bam!”

We had to agree, so took Emeril’s advice and made the sauce a little thicker. Good move.

Threw in some peppers, onions, chicken, tomatoes, minced garlic and ginger … simmered for 20 minutes … and Bob’s your uncle, chicken curry for lunch.

(There were also “mild” and “medium” choices for this product, but we went all out for the “hot” option.)

Have to say it was pretty delish actually. The flavour was great, not burn-your-laughing-gear heat but a nice kick to it. On the tissue scale, we only had to use one to blow our runny nose, so not too bad.

All in all, pleasantly surprised and we give Knorr Hot Curry Sauce Mix a Brits in Toronto 4/5 stars.


Successful Brits in Toronto: Jaime Randle


Read on to discover how this profile was nearly called Successful Brits in Montreal. So close …

As well as the “best pubs, curry, jobs and dental care,” we’re always on the lookout for Successful Brits in Toronto to highlight. It only took a Twitter chat of 14 words (count ’em) to snag Jaime Randle. That’s probably our record so far.

[Brian, get Paul to insert a second paragraph here before publishing this morning to beef up the word count a bit. And the printer needs some paper. Thanks mate.]

So let’s hear Jaime’s thoughts on his adopted city …

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 moved to Toronto in 1999 after spending a few years in British Columbia. To be honest I was on my way to Montreal as I craved a European flavour/culture and had stopped-off in Toronto to stay with an English friend. I then decided to stay as the city made me feel most welcome.

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

My first Toronto job was to start an animation studio. I had experience in production and had a deep love for art and animation.

After meeting a talented Canadian animator — and believing in my own abilities — it felt like the right time to start a company. Canada is a country of opportunities which has a clear affinity with the UK; I think that helped.

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

Toronto is the smallest “big city” you’ll ever go to … or at least that’s what I tell my friends in the UK. It has a population of a big city, but is unique in the feel of a smaller city. I think it’s the famous “neighbourhoods” that make the city so special.

The worst aspect has to be the transportation. It looks like Andy Byford is doing a great job in turning it around, but I’m amazed that the city hasn’t addressed the needs as the population has increased.

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 am so busy with work and family that I regretfully admit I don’t make enough of an effort to meet other British people. It’s funny as every time I do meet other Brits, I always have a great time.

As far as places to meet up or get the British vibe, I’d say The Caledonian on College/Ossington is a great pub and Reliable Halibut & Chips in Leslieville is my go-to place for food.

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

I think the biggest thing that struck me when moving to Canada was that, though we speak the same language, we are very different. It sounds obvious in retrospect but I think I came here thinking it would be an easy transition.

Torontonians are very friendly people but there are differences that one takes for granted when growing up in England.

For British people thinking of moving to Toronto, they will find a friendly city with plenty to do — its multiculturalism is fantastic and is maybe Toronto’s best attribute.

The city has changed quite a bit since I moved to Toronto; I think there is a new generation of Torontonians that are sophisticated and are aligning the city as a global leader.

My biggest tip would to make sure you return back home at least once a year. You will miss England but, given time, you will fall for Toronto’s charm.

That’s great, Jaime, cheers. If anyone wants to connect, here’s his LinkedIn profile.

Let’s all help fellow Brit Iain find a job!


Brits are pretty good at engineering too you know! Got any leads for Iain?

Iain got in touch with us for some help and advice from fellow Brits in Toronto in finding work in engineering. Here’s his story:

“I would like to reach out to any fellow Brits who might have advice for me in my, so far unsuccessful, search for work.

“I am an experienced civil/structural engineer and I’m finding it extremely difficult to make any progress with employers in the GTA. It appears that the engineering job market is currently very competitive so companies are not even considering newcomers.

“My recent career experience is in heavy industrial sectors (oil, energy etc.) but I have a background in general infrastructure work with engineering consultancies. I also began my career as a designer/technologist so would be prepared to revert back to this if required. Essentially, I’ll do anything if given the chance.

“Please contact me for my resume … and hopefully some of your readers might have some advice.”

So, engineering community in Toronto, if you can help Iain in any way, shape or form, his e-mail is iain DOT greenshields AT gmail DOT COM or check out his LinkedIn profile.

Good luck, Iain!

British and Canadian citizenship? You get a break on new passport rules … until November 10

hand hold a isolated canadian passport

British and Canadian? You have a bit more time to get one of these now

Brits in Toronto recently mentioned that if you have dual British and Canadian citizenship, as of September 30, 2016, you will need a Canadian passport to be allowed to fly back into Canada. That seemed pretty tight and thankfully the higher-ups agreed.

Yesteday, Immigration Minister John McCallum announced the implementation date would be postponed until November 10, 2016.

As the Toronto Star reports:

“‘In consultation with airline partners, we’re taking further steps to minimize any travel disruption,’ said McCallum. ‘We’re extending the leniency period and doing another major information blitz in Canada and abroad to encourage affected travellers to plan ahead and get the necessary travel documents before they book a flight to Canada.'”

Full story here.

Totally biased product review by me — Loblaws Scotch egg


Just a serving suggestion. No one would put tomato ketchup or Worcestershire Sauce on a Scotch egg, right?

We actually knew this fun fact about the origins of the Scotch egg — it was a question on University Challenge once — but just had to double-check it: “The London department store Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented Scotch eggs in 1738.”

For those who don’t know, a Scotch egg consists of a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs and baked or deep-fried. Sounds delicious, right? We agree.

So we’ve been on a quest to find the best Scotch egg in Toronto. While wandering around Loblaws, we happened upon their Scotch egg in the prepared meals and deli section, nestled between the beet salad and kale and cashew mix. So we decided to give it a go.

First impressions — and a friend told us that size doesn’t matter — is the Loblaws Scotch egg is pretty small. We understand that the egg is the defining component, but feel there could have been a thicker layer of sausage meat wrapped around it.

Maybe we just remember the Scotch eggs when we were younger, enjoying them at sunny picnics with a glass of weak, warm Ribena … and they seemed much bigger back then.

The egg itself was OK but we would have liked more seasoning in the sausage meat. It was a tad bland. The bread crumbs didn’t do much for us either.

So, sorry Loblaws, but we are still on the hunt for the perfect Scotch egg and give yours a disappointing Brits in Toronto 2/5 stars.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is coming to Toronto


“Excuse me old chap, but did you spill my pint?”

Checked my CV the other day. Intermediate in Microsoft Excel, increased carpet fastener sales 25% year over year and able to multitask under pressure and to tight deadlines. Was pretty chuffed with myself.

But then I read Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ CV. Over US$23 million raised for charity. First to reach both Poles. First to cross the Antarctic Ocean and Arctic Ocean. First to circumnavigate the world along its polar axis. First hovercraft expedition up the longest river in the world. First unsupported crossing of the Antarctic continent. Climbed Mount Everest and The Eiger North Face. Completed Marathon des Sables aged 71. Awarded the OBE. Oh, and a former SAS soldier too.

I got my coat and called a taxi.

If that’s not a list of brilliant achievements then we don’t know what is. And guess what? He’s coming to Toronto on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 and you could be there to hear him talk.

“An Evening With Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE” is part of a series of inspirational speaker events linked to The Global Reach Challenge. Sponsored by TMF Group and KPMG, and with the aim of raising funds for Marie Curie UK, Sir Ranulph’s goal is to become the first person in the world to cross both polar ice caps and climb all of the highest mountains on each of the seven continents.

If that sounds like a great evening — and we think it does — you can find more details about the event or register to attend.

Absolutely smashing talent on show from the Brits at TIFF 2016


TIFF includes 39 British films this year*

The Toronto International Film Festival starts today and runs until September 18. As usual, there’s tons of great British talent on show and we’re proud to represent.

We checked out the British Council’s website and they have a brilliant section dedicated to this year’s festival and the 39 British films on show. The Huffington Post Canada has some information too.

So keep an eye out around Toronto for the next 11 days and let us know if you spot any celeb Brits in town.

(*Not to be confused with the Thailand International Furniture Fair.)

Free online employment program for immigrants to Canada

Irene Vaksman

JVS Toronto offers a free online employment program

It’s very competitive to find jobs in Toronto, let alone for those Brits thinking of coming over to try their luck. Any little helps, basically.

CanPrep, offered by JVS Toronto, is a free specialized employment program designed for internationally trained individuals immigrating to Canada to help them quickly connect to a career. The program is offered online so individuals can start preparing for employment before arriving in Canada.