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.