Back in September we started a series of posts following the real-life adventures of Brits moving to Toronto. You can find that here if you wanted to catch up first: Brits making the move to Toronto — Part 1: The questions.
Andy has sent us part two — the settling in phase. And in a really cool “cut and paste way but just insert the links,” he has done it in the form of an alphabet. So, here you go …
Part 2: Settling in
An update for you. I’ve written an A-Z covering our immigration to Toronto, and our first couple of weeks settling in.
Airports. Travelling with two children under seven, eight large checked bags, two Trunkis (https://www.trunki.co.uk/) and musical instruments was a life challenge. Manchester airport was chaotic, with conveyer belts not working at check in and delays. Fortunately, the flight was fine; a porter helped us with a big trolley at YYZ and a huge SUV got us to our new dwellings in Leslieville.
Bread that is good (rye) and awful (regular squishy white stuff) in equal measure. Also lovely Beer and (vaguely) British pubs which, for a more authentic experience should be generally unfriendly and have non existent service. Britannia movers (https://www.britannia-movers.co.uk/) are shipping our other belongings over — special things like Books, commemorative Biscuit tins and Bongos. I will punish you with this alphabet thing. [Bring it on, Bro!]
Cheese! Back in Blighty the range and prices of cheese in regular supermarkets is generally good. This is vital. Cheese access here is understandably different, but fortunately I’ve discovered the Leslieville Cheese Market (http://leslievillecheese.com/) and I am happy. Also, C is for Cottaging, which is a thing that means, er, a different thing.
The Dry cold. We’ve experienced real winter here so far, with temperatures changing from around -20 C and up to +2 C, which demands wrapping up warm, especially for the little ones. It’s a change from the Damp back home, and asthma seems to have improved.
Ebox (http://www.ebox.ca) for inexpensive home Internet. Sign up and mention my name and I get a generous one Canadian dollar off my next bill. Eh! [Tenuous “E” usage at the End there, Andy, but we’ll allow it.]
Fran’s (http://www.fransrestaurant.com/) for glorious breakfasts, and Freshco (http://freshco.com/) for reasonable grocery shopping, including reasonable Foods such as Tofurky (http://www.tofurky.com/) which exists.
Go trains (http://www.gotransit.com/). Double decker trains! They’re generally on time! They have seats! You can sit in them! Glory be! Top tip — act like a foreign idiot at the ticket counter in Union Station and you may get a free cardboard train for you or your children to play with.
Homelessness. Alas, any city has its social problems and there seem to be a fair number of people out in the cold, so to speak. There is a winter respite service at Moss Park Armoury (https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/housing-shelter/homeless-help/).
Immigration. We were issued with our working visas (https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/global-talent/requirements.html) on arrival at the airport. While our stuff was being sorted, I spoke with a young chap who was applying for asylum — I gave him my phone charger, and hope he too can make a life in Canada.
Jam/jelly/jello. If I’m correct, Jam = jam with bits in, and is considered somewhat fancy. Jelly = jam without bits. Jello = jelly. This has been a considerable source of anxiety.
Kraft dinner (http://www.kraftcanada.com/brands/kraft-dinner). Feed this to kids and watch as they become huge! Friends stocked our cupboard with about 30 packets, and it is good. Admire my mass!
There are no big (ceiling) Lights in our home. Light switches activate a socket, which should have a Lamp plugged in, to alleviate darkness. This is entirely alien.
Milk comes in bags and folk seem to have generally good Manners. From passing a store on Queen East, I’ve also learned that a Manzilian is a thing, although not one I will Google. [Don’t worry, Andy — we did it for you! NSFW obvs.]
NoFrills (https://www.nofrills.ca/) for inexpensive food, and Niagara Falls (https://www.niagarafallstourism.com/), where I will probably visit many times with our visitors who fancy a taste of Blackpool (http://www.visitblackpool.com/), the obvious difference being massive waterfalls instead of a shitpipe.
Oh Henry! (https://www.facebook.com/OhHenryCanada/). These must only be spoken of in the manner of Kenneth Williams, and are acceptable large chocolate bars like the ones not available any more in the UK. There are no Brexit Toblerones here (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/08/toblerone-gap-brexit-falling-pound-2016?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other).
Poutine. Pizza. Pastry. Paunch.
Quebec — a mysterious place which excites me with cheeses.
R is for Refrigerators the size of one-bedroom flats in London.
Snow, Squirrels (pronounced Squirls), Sushi pizza, Streetcars and Static electricity, which means every day can be a bad hair day.
Tim Hortons (http://timhortons.com/) for a reasonable brew (ask for steeped tea) and TVOkids (https://tvokids.com/) for great children’s TV. Also, the TTC for when legs won’t do, and Transfers to get from streetcar to subway without criminality.
The Corktown Ukulele Jam (http://torontoukes.wixsite.com/torontoukes). It’ll be nice to play some music here again after a few years away.
Value Village (https://www.valuevillage.com/), a vast charity shop network with an excellent range of my favourite finds, namely the senseless commemorative plates and unattractive LPs of the dead.
Water pressure (good!) wind chill (bad!) and Wendy’s (https://www.wendys.com/en_CA/home/), where beef has corners.
X. Er, X-Men was filmed here (https://torontoist.com/2007/12/reel_toronto_th_1/). [Andy’s buckling a bit at this point.]
Yoghurt and Yogourt, which are correct/meaningful, unlike in Morrisons back home (https://groceries.morrisons.com/webshop/getCategories.do?tags=%7C105651%7C104268%7C162681&Asidebar=1) where it is inexplicably spelled Yogurt, for no Americans ever.
Zoocasa (https://www.zoocasa.com/) for noseying what property in your neighbourhood is worth, and weeping.