You asked for more Successful Brits in Toronto and we heard you. Why not do two at once to save precious bandwidth?
In fact, even better, why not feature a successful husband and wife team!
Ed Layton works at Twitter Canada and has been there for three years when there were only a few staff in the Canadian office. Sherille Layton has been in real estate for about 12 years and is currently at Sotheby’s International.
We caught up with the busy pair to ask them about their experiences of being Brits in Toronto.
(Ed, can you please RT this, cheers mate.)
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?
We came to Canada on vacation a couple of times. We have cousins in and around Toronto and we came to visit them. We always had such a great time.
There came a point where we realized that we were going to be together for a while and were in a life phase where we were making some pretty big choices. At the time we found London extremely expensive and incompatible with the way we saw our future going.
Within months of being in Canada we bought our first house. I guess you would say that our intentions when we came to Canada — and specifically Toronto — were to enjoy ourselves, be close to our extended family … and for sure we saw it as a permanent move.
What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?
We had an interesting start to our careers here. One of us came from a media background in London. It took about six months — although it was an amazing summer so we didn’t exactly rush — to find work.
The pathway to doing this was through networking and getting people to take coffees and generally hustling … and slowly those people introduced us to other people who needed people like us.
Sherille quickly however decided that she wanted to work for herself and so qualified as a real estate agent — and the rest from there is history.
What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?
There are so many great things about Toronto, but the big picture things, and not in this order are:
The seasons (there are few places in world where you can ski part of the year, bike most of the year round and almost guarantee a great summer and snowy winter).
The people are by and large friendly, open and kind, the culture is inherently liberal, fair and not completely self-interested. Canadians are genuinely concerned about the well-being of their communities and neighbours and support them in the way they vote and behave.
Other great things are chicken wings, Creemore beer, meat and corn.
There are a few sacrifices you make to be here and most of them are rooted in not being near family or being culturally isolated. But these things diminish over time and replaced by other things.
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?
We don’t really, although are always happy to find a fellow Brit when chance happens. We would like to know more.
We were lucky to find a great network of Canadian friends. One thing about Canadians is that if you make the effort to be part of what they are interested in, they always welcome and include you (although you will get some stick for your accent).
Occasionally we go to The Oxley to see some Aston Villa games with other Villa fans but don’t reach out as much as we probably should.
Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.
Overall the best advice we can offer anyone moving here, is within reason, do your best to enjoy Canada for the amazing things it offers. There are things to do and see that you can’t get in England.
Keep an open mind, involve yourself, enjoy the winter (learn how to ski or skate) and drink plenty of Ontario’s amazing variety of craft beers. It is always important to keep hydrated !