“I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one.” Ahhh, you gotta love the late Brian Clough, one of the best football managers to grace the beautiful game.
So Brits in Toronto was pleasantly surprised to learn that there’s a small but burgeoning Nottingham Forest fan base in Toronto. They call themselves “Trickies” and Jordan Thelen is one of those. (Not to be confused with “Trekkies” who hang out at science fiction conventions and such.)
Luckily for us, Jordan is also a Brit, so thus, by deduction, is eligible to be featured as today’s Successful Brit in Toronto.
He also has a sporting request at the end, so scroll down for the action if you have no patience.*
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 was pretty lucky moving to Toronto really. My company has recently launched a new offering in Toronto similar to what I was working on in the UK, a program has been created to send people over on secondments to help build the practice so I managed to get selected to come over for that!
I initially visited at the end of February “for just three months” before going to the Euro 2016 Football Championships in June … but enjoyed my time so much here that I have now transferred as of July until the end of next year before I decide whether to permanently move here or go back to London.
What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?
Luckily, the “Canadian experience” didn’t hamper me as I simply transferred from the UK firm so I was pretty lucky having a mobility team support the whole visa process etc. and carry on where I left off (despite an interesting encounter at the immigration desk at Pearson).
I simply had a couple of calls with the management in Toronto, then some discussions during my three months, before singing my new Canadian contract.
What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?
– How friendly the people are in general around the city
– The diversity of cultures from Chinatown, Little Italy to the Financial District
– The city is as busy as London with less than a third of the population
– Rooftop bars and patios with #viewsfromthe6
– How far the British accent takes you and how my British accent has improved since moving
– Timbits (particularly Salted Caramel)
– Pubs and bars aren’t as crowded as those in the UK
– The support of the same sports team by all in the city whether it be Leafs, Jays, TFC or Raptors
– Watching football all morning in bed at the weekends and still having the afternoons for other activities
– Groceries are so expensive
– Phone bills, Internet etc. are really expensive
– Driving through the city on the wrong/opposite side of the road
– Streetcars and lack of coverage of the subway
– Adding tips and tax to basically any price you see
– I’m told that winter isn’t a highlight of the year
– Getting lost on the Path
– The lack of a Sunday Roast (any recommendations, please let me know!)
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?
My work team is around 50 per cent British so naturally had some British friends as a result. But as a Nottingham Forest fan, I reached out to a few fellow reds on Twitter which has resulted in having a group of us that meet up to watch games, grab a drink etc., which is awesome. If there are any more Trickies fans in Toronto, please reach out!
I hear that the British meetup group/forum is really good. They hold quarterly quizzes so definitely looking forward to going to the next one for the first time.
I would say that everyone is really friendly here so there really isn’t a need to seek shelter with fellow Brits; some of my best friends have turned out to be Canadian, including my new flatmate!
Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.
*If anyone is looking for an extra player on their 5/6-a-side football teams, please let me know!
For anyone who wants to contact Jordan, here are his Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts.