What happened in Toronto. (And why I'm going to London?)

Toronto, I like you. But I don’t love you…

Back in August I announced that I’d be moving to Toronto, which I did, on August 8, 2018. I had/have a work permit to stay for at least a year which was initially the plan, but that didn’t happen. Here is why.

I only have one goal {well, that you know of at least ;)}. And that is to move to New York City and build something (a company) for myself there. This dream started over four years ago now, and is still a work in progress. But in the last two years, I’ve really been pushing myself to my limits to make this dream happen. I’ve now spend over 12 months in New York City and almost a-year-and-a-half out of the last 2.5 years in North-America spread over 9 different ‘trips’. From California to NYC to Chicago to Toronto… I love the United States and its potential, and I’ll keep going there until I reach my goal.

I lived in Canada for 3 months and had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people! I quickly got involved in startups in the proptech, Tiny House, real-estate and marketing industries and was offered a full-time position starting in January. I had/have met some amazing friends, who I’ll stay in touch with for as long as I can. Shoutout to Mark, Thomas, Aisha, Soha, Sa’ad, Niko, Jitin, Akshat and others, for helping and supporting me on this part of my journey.

Why I went to Toronto in the first place

Like I said in the article I wrote a couple days after arriving in Toronto:

“Short answer, to escape Belgium. Long answer, to escape Belgium and be able to start building my career on this side of the ocean, build up contacts in Toronto who have ties with New York… Even just being in the same time zone has already had a major impact. I’m also researching and visiting similar companies to what I want to do in New York (I’m not gonna tell you what that is just yet ;)) and I’m very happy to be in a similar culture and language than New York.”

Related Article: Why I moved to Canada

While this was all true, Toronto and New York City are night and day. A city with 3M vs 9M people is just not the same. The 24/7 lifestyle that’s very real in NYC, just doesn’t exist in Toronto, and Canadians’ mindset is just to similar to the European one that I was trying so hard to run away from.

On October 14th, I went back to NYC. Initially just for a two-week visit. Which soon turned into a one-month stay which brings me to today. Once again, NYC convinced me of its power and potential. I want to make it happen. I have to make it happen.

Toronto teached me one thing: NYC isn’t just a place you walk into. You need to put in the work somewhere else, ‘proof yourself’ first (which I think is the soul reason for Toronto to exist, for companies to prove themselves before they move to NYC), which is exactly why I moved to Toronto in the first place, and is why I’ll move to London next week.

Toronto vs. London

One thing that I didn’t really pay attention to last year, is that no one in New York is talking about Toronto (or even Canada in general) but everyone in Toronto is talking about New York City, or wanting to move there. Planes to NYC are filled to the brim, but the once going back not so much ;). Toronto is an amazing place, but as a European Citizen, I think there are better options. Which brings me to London.

London is about the same size as NYC, if not bigger. It’s very well connected with New York, as multiple companies have offices in both cities. And most of all, I can stay there as long as I want. I can build something there. Which is really something I’m craving for. I’ve been moving air-bnb to air-bnb for the last 2 years and I think it’s time for me to have ‘my own place’.

I’m applying to jobs in London as we speak. All with companies Head quartered in NYC or at least with an office there. Next Tuesday, about three days from now, I’m going to London for a week to talk to companies and see if I can land a job somewhere. Shoutout to Pedram for offering me a place to stay! Really appreciate it brother!

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Louis is a 20 year old, in the process of moving from Belgium to his dream city, New York. He was the founder and CEO of Tiny House Belgium, a Tiny House Design and Construction company that focused on promoting the idea of 'smaller living' and 'living life without a mortgage'. He sold his business in January 2017 to pursue his dream of moving to North-America. Right now, Louis lives in Toronto Canada.