Continuing the expat advice series, FT Residential focuses on Toronto this time. We invite readers to participate in a short survey and share their expat tales from around the world and the lessons they learned.
I moved from Shad Thames in London to Cabbagetown in Toronto. Cabbagetown’s name derives from Irish immigrants who moved to the area in the 1840s. They were so poor they grew cabbage in their front yards. I like my neighbourhood to have character and it is the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in North America. It has also retained a slightly boho feel.
Getting a credit card, insuring the house — it was like going back in time. Transacting online was the exception, not the norm. Getting around was also a challenge. Living downtown, I wanted to see if we could manage without a car, but the public transport is limited and creaky so after nine months, we gave up. Having bought a car, the traffic is horrible, worse than Los Angeles.
We did not learn to accept these challenges. Life is too short. I am well advanced with my next move!
I have a philosophy of no regrets; living in New York and Hong Kong also brought their challenges. In Hong Kong I worked like crazy and only saw my husband Robert, also a partner at KPMG, three times in a year. I have tried to spend more time on the ground before my next move. There is a world of difference between visiting and living somewhere. Even when working for the same employer, the local culture is very different. But these are first-world challenges. I have learnt to either put up or shut up.
Mary Trussell is a partner and the global lead for insurance change at KPMG, the professional services firm.
Photographs: Nikreates/Alamy; Derek Trask/Alamy; John Zada/Alamy
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