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Successful Brits in Toronto: Ryan Wheeler

Ryan Wheeler

“Express yourself, create the space, you know you can win, don’t give up the chase. Beat the man, take him on, you never give up, it’s one on one!”

We put the call out for more Successful Brits in Toronto, and what do you know? Ryan Wheeler stepped up.

It took a few days to hear from him … but then the reason became clear with his reply: “Sorry guys, been off sick with some dreaded cold!”

So, after sending our thoughts and prayers to Ryan, we hassled him a bit more and got his answers to our deep questions below and the striking photo you see above. Looks like he’s pretty handy at football.

Let’s find out more …

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?

It was a spur of the moment decision. My girlfriend and I had just gotten home from work, we were tired, grouchy and generally fed up of leaving work at 5:00 p.m. Not to mention the perpetual rain and overcast skies to really drive home the misery of a day.

One of our friends had moved here a year prior and we spent a while speaking with them on Messenger about their experiences. After this, we decided Toronto was the only option. Fortunately a week later the IEC visa was opening and we went about applying for that.

We had initially planned to stay for as long as the visa would run with an idea we would stay if we enjoyed our time, but we told family we were wanting to move here for good.

After our first year we decided being here permanently was what we wanted and we applied for permanent residency as soon as we were able to. Next stop, citizenship.

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

Initially we waited for a month after landing before applying for any jobs. We wanted to take in the sights of the city and surrounding areas without the stress of work lingering over.

Once I had started sending my resume out, it was a slightly tedious process. I applied for several jobs daily. Editing cover letters and countless edits of my CV to match the job role without much reward.

Eventually I talked to a recruitment agency to see if they had anything open to matching my skill set and experience and they secured me an interview for a temporary position with a large insurance company with the chance to make it a permanent role at the end of the temporary period.

After I went on this interview I got two more interviews with recruitment agencies themselves as a consultant. Must have been the British accent that enticed them to take a chance, haha.

I decided to take a position with a recruitment agency, as it was full time and a skilled position. Both of which were needed in applying for the coveted permanent residency.

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

It’s just a lovely city. The areas I’ve lived in and visited are all clean and friendly. There are little pockets of settled nationalities all over the place so you can go and experience something new often and as frequently as you want with a usually very accessible transit service.

The worst aspect of being in Toronto I’ve found so far is the period of time between late February to mid March. It’s a time where the weather goes from 12 degrees one day to -5 degrees over the next few days. So it really plays with my willingness to adapt to the cold. In the depth of winter at -30 degrees I can handle it, I know it’s going to be cold.

In the summer when it’s close to 35 degrees, I can deal with it, because I know it’s going to be warm. It’s just that little void between those dates that mean I can no longer handle it being 1 degree because two days ago it was 10 degrees and I was in shorts.

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 don’t go out of my way to meet up with new Brits in Toronto. However when I first came to the city I was made aware of a football team looking for new players and I went there in my first week to train with the lads.

For anyone new and interested in football, I’d recommend trying out for a team if you wanted to play to a good standard.

There are also companies like Toronto Sport and Social Club, who advertise a light and friendly atmosphere for all types of sporting activities throughout each change of season, where you can drop in when a team needs a player and meet like-minded groups of people, all welcoming with open arms to enjoy some sports at a recreational to advanced levels and then go for a beer or two afterwards.

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

Buy good winter gear and make the most of the summers!

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