Toronto Library….More than just books!

Did you know that you can get more than just books at Toronto Library, well if you did then proceed with your day, if not read on!

Whilst discussing a recent library trip with Barbara she informed me that with your trusty library card you can access Lynda.com

Through Lynda.com, you can access over 3,500 video tutorial courses by experts on web design, software development, photography, business skills, home and small office, project management, 3D + Animation, graphic design audio, music, video editing and more. This simply requires the creation of a personal account which will allow you to track your progress through your tutorials.

Access to Lynda is great for anyone who wants to make their resume stand out, or if you just want to get a new hobby!

You can also get FREE passes to some amazing places in the city by requesting a Museum + Arts Pass. Places like the Toronto Zoo, AGO, ROM are on list of places you can visit. Different places are available depending on the library branch you visit and quantities are limited, but its def worth checking out.

If you have any other advice for us or for newbies to the city, let us know. Sharing is Caring. Sinéad x

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An Post….what a bunch of legends!

Can we take a moment to appreciate An Post, pin particular to appreciate Celcius who managed to deliver this card to Nicole Lally! Her friend Amanda sent her a Christmas card with the following written on the front:

Ya know yer wan, her mother’s Hogan from Castleblakeney, but the daughter’s an ex townie. Grew up in Athlone and moved to Ballymacward (between Ballinasloe and Galway) when she got married. Lives next door to her in-laws now, she has a rake of children and 7 dogs and 4 cats and about 30 hens + ducks and some rabbits and fish & I think she has a hamster as well. She has a shrine to the virgin mary in the left corner of her garden.

Can you give this to her please? Xx

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The inside of the card reads “…sure aren’t An Post great”… indeed they are . Legends

Tempted to try this myself, S xx

 

What happens when you bring a dinosaur to the ROM?!

If you haven’t been yet, GO!

A gang of us headed down on a freezing Friday  night 2014, and I’m not going to lie I was a little skeptical…..A night out in a museum, hardly sounds thrilling, I thought it would be all roped off and stuffy suited types, with people telling us off for having too much craic! Sticking with the theme of the night, we had our very own gold T-Rex in tow and he was a hit.

This is the city’s most unique social destination featuring eclectic eats, drinks, DJs, dancing, live music and unexpected experiences.

Having missed out last year, we’ll be back this year.

The themes for FNL 2016;

Nov 11: Tribute
Nov 18: Wild
Nov 25: Afterglow

You can sign up for early bird tickets here, and if you don’t manage to get them you should turn up super early, and be prepared to queue.

FNL returns again in the summer, so if you miss out you will get another chance.

You’ll queue again for the cloak room and again for ROM bucks. Is it worth all the queueing…..Yes! The bar moves quick, thanks to the ROM bucks. The place is so huge it won’t feel jam packed, and its a unique way to see the ROM.

PicMonkey Collage

Let us know what you think if you make it down

S xx

Belfast Love: a proper pub on King West

 After hearing so much about Belfast Love, I decided to head down and see what all the fuss was about. Now before I continue, Belfast love is NOT an Irish bar, nor does it claim to be! It does however have subtle nods to Ireland with the Four leaf clover sign, the awesome walls of Waterford crystal and an extensive Irish whiskey selection.

The first thing that I noted was the atmosphere, the place was buzzing and the patio was packed (despite the lack of sunshine). Inside the decor is really cool, think neon “loo” signs, dark lighting, naked lady wall paper and crystal so much crystal! Belfast Love is a proper high end pub. I especially love that there’s lots of different seating sections and a pool table, this place really uses the space well. The only draw back for me was the acoustics, I found it really difficult to hear the people at my table, but the place was packed so am I just nit picking?!
Now down to the reason I was there…food and drinks. The drinks list is varied, with a big focus on whiskey, with an option to buy a barrel to be enjoyed any time you stop in, nice touch Belfast Love!

The food is not your average pub fare but is still unpretentious. We got a wide variety of the dishes, pizza, poutine, burgers and the chicken and waffles! All of which had a little something unique to this pub, for example, the chicken and waffles were fab but then paired with a sauce of bourbon and maple syrup……amazing! My poutine was not the regular old fries and cheese curds much to the disappointment of the Montrealer among us, but to me it was like a cheesy gravy chip from home, with the added bonus of super fresh rotisserie chicken chunks on top. The pizza looked amazing, freshly made with a super thin crust, I will be back for sure the try it!

There are lots of staff floating around the bar. All of whom are very beautiful and actually really sound, Well the two that I interacted with were! Now the smart thing to do would be remember names, which I don’t, but I know both our servers had links to Ireland (Limerick and Ballybunion) and they chatted away, not in a tip hungry way but in a genuine dead on way! Plus we got some of the Belfast Love badges so yay happy campers!
My advice go check out Belfast Love, I’ll be aiming for a spot on the patio for my next visit, I just need the sunshine to come back!

Thanks Barbara for the pics. If any of you head down to Belfast Love, let us know your thoughts. S xx

Reflections…. Three years in Canada! 

Having moved to Canada three years ago I never thought I would would have lasted the year, it seemed impossible to think that I wouldn’t see my nieces and nephews daily or drink cups of tea with my ma at 3 o’clock after stumbling in from a night out. I put all these thoughts in a little corner of mind and repeated daily…..”I’ll give it a year”.
Three years on, I have my Permanent residencey  and I look back and realize that although I miss home and all it encompasses on a daily basis, I have made a home in Canada.

 

I am one of thousands of Irish who travelled here on a Canadian Experience visa and at the time it felt like I had won a golden ticket to the chocolate factory. One week later I was booked and ready to start a new life. I was in the very fortunate position to travel with my boyfriend and to be greeted at the other side by my super supportive uncle and his family who welcomed us in and made our first three months a breeze, housing us and ensuring we sorted out all the essentials. This made all the difference and still manages to cure the homesick pangs when I drop in for Sunday dinners. If you are a new arrival or are thinking of coming, contact people you know in the city, they have all been in your position and are only too willing to help out. You may also be exactly what they need, your a bit of home for them bringing back memories, stories shared upbringings and common friends and of course it helps if you’ve a box of Barry’s.

Making friends here was the biggest challenge, you are forced to bond with new friends at lightning speed only to be told in a few months that they’re heading home (ahem you know who you are!!). My best piece of advice came in the form of Jeff at a party, after listening to me whine about another expat returning home, he advised “you just get over it” and actually you do and you come to realise that although they move home, the real friendships will last. The friends you have are also friends you’ve chosen, we all have a friend we’ve had from the first day of primary school, the only common bond we have being position in the alphabet, forcing us to sit together for the next seven years. 
I have also been fortunate in that I found a job in my field of Speech Therapy, don’t get me wrong I’m still not exactly where I want to be, but I’m closer than I ever got at home. It wasn’t easy though and I slogged it out for the first year in a tiny bar with no air conditioning. My best advice, network! I talked to everyone in that bar and eventually met a Speech therapist who put me in contact with the company with whom I now work. The established community here are also a great source of employment information and they area apply to share contacts.   

Get involved; I know it’s difficult in your first year when you want to explore/party/get settled, but it’s the best thing I ever done. I tried a few organizations and they didn’t fit, eventually I got involved with Darkness into Light and it has afforded me so many opportunities to meet and get involved with the community of established Irish here in the city. 

As an Irish person in Toronto, I will always feel the tug of home but for now, Toronto is home and I’m looking forward to the next few years of adventure. 
Sinéad

Life after, death by suicide.

I met Aine in my second year of university, and I knew her for a few short years before her death in 2012. I remember her now and explain how our brief friendship and her passing has had a huge impact on me.

  
 
Upon meeting Aine I was struck by her quirky style, her infectious laugh and her cracking sense of humour! I have our first meeting, planted firmly in my mind. Typical of exam season in Manchester, it was sunny out and we spent the day having chatting and enjoying the sun. Over time I got to know her and She was the life and soul of many a night out , singing Karoke, dressing up and dragging us to see random bands in Manchester.

What strikes me most of my memories of Aine is her  beautiful smile! I knew Aine was experiencing a harrowing depression, which we didn’t really talk about, but she didn’t seem sick she was always in the moment with a smile. I spent time with her through some dark moments, never aware of the pain that her smile was masking.

When Aine passed, I just felt really sad. Not for me but sad for her family whom she talked about always and had photos of everywhere. I felt sad for all those who knew her and loved her. I removed myself from the grief, thinking it wasn’t fair to mourne someone you only knew for a short time.

As time as passed I realized the profound effect her passing had on me. As corny as it sounds I think of her most days, every time I see a green banana, or a really comfy reading chair or hear a song from uni. The moment catches me and I’ll find myself smiling at the memory of her.

Her death also taught me, how well hidden depression is, it affects so many of us directly or indirectly. I had a small idea of what Aine was feeling, but my understanding of her illness was limited. I now know how important it is to have the difficult conversations, conversations I should of had with Aine.

The work of Pieta house is so vitally important in taking the stigma out of talking about mental illness. Darkness into light, is an opportunity to show support to those battling depression,it shows that’s it’s ok to open up and talk and most importantly it shows that it’s ok not to be ok. I am so proud to be involved with The Darkness into Light walk Toronto, I’ll be walking May 7th for Aine and all those suffering in silence.

If you would like to get involved you can register here .

John Lewis Christmas ad….Gets me every year. 

Is it too early to mention the C word?! Nope because The John Lewis Christmas advert has been unveiled so it’s officially the season! 

Their festive creation, which reportedly cost £1 million and was filmed at Warner Brothers studio in Hertfordshire. 

The concept is ‘The Man on the Moon’ and it is set to a gorgeous cover of Oasis’ Half The World Away by Aurora, a 19-year-old Norwegian singer.  The advert highlights the loneliness that might be experience by older members of the community during the holidays. 
Be warned; this might cause a tear!