Tag Archives: andy mclachlan

Brits making the move to Toronto — Part 3: Life so far

Andy McLachlan island

Andy’s dodgy selfie while working on Toronto Islands during the summer

Back in September 2017 we started a series of posts following the real-life adventures of Brits moving to Toronto. The Brit in question is Andy McLachlan and you can read parts 1 and 2 here.

Andy has sent us part three — a quick update on life so far. Read on and hear how this Brit is getting on with a new life in Toronto …

Part 3: Life so far

Since I last contacted you with my A-Z of Toronto, I have continued to exist. The family is doing fine — we finally secured a full-time daycare place for our youngest son in September, so that has ended my ~9 months of child wrangling.

I’ve also enjoyed doing some volunteering, playing with Raspberry Pi projects and drumming with a band called Tay Sera but alas, it’s now high time for me to find a serious job.

So far I’ve been doing some freelance writing and part-time work for Toronto Bicycle Tours as a tour guide on the Islands. People from all over the world go on these tours and it is mostly seasonal work; things have now slowed down a lot for the winter. Only a handful of people have braved the outdoors in November; mostly hardy folk from the Netherlands and elsewhere in Canada.

Overall, it has been a nice change for me to work outside, and to be paid to improve my fitness.

I’ve been applying for professional jobs and I have had a couple of interviews, but nothing right has come along yet.

Please could you do a shout-out to see if anyone out there could employ a nerdy scientist Brit who likes bikes? My LinkedIn profile can be found here.

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Brits making the move to Toronto — Part 2: Settling in

Andy McLachlan 2

Andy found this neighbourhood on Zoocasa. And wept

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.

Best wishes,
Andy

A
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.

B
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!]

C
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.

D
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.

E
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.]

F
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.

G
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.

H
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/).

I
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.

J
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.

K
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!

L
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.

M
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.]

N
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.

O
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).

P
Poutine. Pizza. Pastry. Paunch.

Q
Quebec — a mysterious place which excites me with cheeses.

R
R is for Refrigerators the size of one-bedroom flats in London.

S
Snow, Squirrels (pronounced Squirls), Sushi pizza, Streetcars and Static electricity, which means every day can be a bad hair day.

T
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.

U
The Corktown Ukulele Jam (http://torontoukes.wixsite.com/torontoukes). It’ll be nice to play some music here again after a few years away.

V
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.

W
Water pressure (good!) wind chill (bad!) and Wendy’s (https://www.wendys.com/en_CA/home/), where beef has corners.

X
X. Er, X-Men was filmed here (https://torontoist.com/2007/12/reel_toronto_th_1/). [Andy’s buckling a bit at this point.]

Y
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.

Z
Zoocasa (https://www.zoocasa.com/) for noseying what property in your neighbourhood is worth, and weeping.

Brits making the move to Toronto — Part 1: The questions

Andy McLachlan 1

Andy and family happily start planning a life of Poutine, Christmas stuff on sale in October and buffering Premiership feeds at 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday

This is a new — and exciting — one. Andy McLachlan sent an e-mail to Brits in Toronto a few months ago with an offer: would we like to document his British family’s move to Toronto?

We had two questions: (1) Will it cost us any money? (2) Can you write it for us?

Satisfied with the answers, we waited … and Andy got back to us this week: “Sorry for the delay! I’ve been busy making life decisions and planning. Having written some moany Brexit-bashing waffle, I’ve put together the following in the hopes of getting some advice ;-). I’m willing to contribute more to the blog as the story develops if you’d like.”

And so, Brits in Toronto is proud to present the first in a series of posts by guest contributor Andy as he documents Lancashire’s loss and Toronto’s gain. This is part 1 and we’re thinking it may last as many as 8 or 9 if we stretch it out a bit, but we’ll see how it goes …

Part 1: The questions

Hi British Bloke,

Faced with a relocation choice between moving to the South East of England or Toronto, guess which we’ve decided on? We fly from Manchester on December 22; me, my wife Laura and boys aged 6 and 2. Laura has a job lined up starting January 2 downtown close to Yonge and Queen, and I’ll be a homeworker/chief child wrangler.

Our house in Lancashire is for sale, and we’ll be shipping furniture over at some point, somehow.

We’re looking for somewhere to live that is easy for work, close to schools and with a possibility to buy in future. We know the city, having lived and worked there for a year in 2010. Since then, we’ve visited a couple of times, and we have some amazing friends who can help us out with various things.

Our plan is to stay in an Airbnb for a month in a reasonable neighbourhood, find a school for our 6-year-old, and rent somewhere nearby soon after that. We’re thinking the area around the Southern Annex/Palmerston/Little Italy/Christie Pits … which we know is relatively expensive but would suit us well, we think.

I hope that your readers can give me a bit of advice:

1. Shipping stuff — any good companies?
2. Accommodation and schools — is our plan completely barmy? We’re open to advice! We’ve also considered Leslieville/Riverdale.
3. Any tips for moving over with little ones? For example, on our last trip to Toronto in May, we learned that gently adjusting bedtimes by one hour per day seemed to work for jet lag.

Thanks and best wishes!

Andy

p.s. Anyone who responds with good advice gets a brew and a Curly Wurly.

So, there you have it. Loads of good questions. If you have some good advice feel free to post in the comments section below so any potential Brits in Toronto can benefit from Andy’s journey to this side of the pond.