New to Toronto: How to Meet People Without Even Trying

What you can learn from an “own goal” scoring, wise, chipper, career hungry man

Seamus taking a Ping Pong break!

Seamus moved to Toronto from Co. Kerry, Ireland six months ago to benefit his career in software development. He’s traveled a lot previously before moving to Canada. However, he plans to stay a few years to establish a professional base.

Upon arriving, Seamus discovered Canadians (especially the Toronto kind) are friendly, besides the way we — Toronto folk — treat TTC drivers. But, as a collective, we’re not the “lets be friends forever” type. His thoughts, from our recent interview with him:

“Toronto is a pretty cool city and to be honest one of the cooler cities I’ve been to. I find work to be a massive part of people’s lives here and it’s no different for me. Apart from that, I love to get out and about in the city. Big fan of my Kindle and a coffee shop on a Saturday. I’m a pretty sociable person as people will tell you however I do find meeting people here (other than Irish) more difficult than other countries I’ve been to.”

Seamus, you are definitely not the first person who has alluded to this whole people are friendly here, but don’t want to be friends observation.

So… How do you seek out fun in the city?

Admittedly, Seamus was not seeking social events when he first arrived in Toronto, as his focus was on work. But Seamus did join the St. Pats Gaelic Football Club as soon as he landed in the 6ix, a sport he’s played since childhood. He quickly found himself a squad full of our fun loving Commonwealth bros.

Gaelic football, according to the YouTube video title below, is “The Original Beautiful Game” (soccer/footy fans are gonna flip out), and “combines the suspense of soccer, the skills and scoring of basketball, and the speed of the fastest sports in the world in a free-flowing action-packed sport”. Seriously, you have to check out this sport and then go to an open practice in Toronto. Absolutely blows your mind!!!

Jaw droppingly intense!

This may be a total coincidence, but the St. Pats Gaelic Football Club that Seamus plays for is currently recruiting both male and female players. Over the next few Sunday’s, you can join an open Gaelic Football practice through OpenSports. Real matches start in the spring.

The club gets a glowing endorsement from Seamus, who can also help teach you how to play:

In terms of seeking fun out I joined St. Pats and the whole club as a whole is very fun. The ladies team is a fun bunch so night out on the town with them has been known to be wild. The men’s team consists of some genuine characters so training and club events are always enjoyable. We’re rebuilding this year so if you know any lads you know who to call!

Apps you’ll need in Toronto and things that are “Meh”

Here are a couple more tidbits and wise insights about traveling and living in Toronto from our interview with Seamus that made us laugh and decide we desperately needed to meet him in person!

What were the first 3 apps you downloaded when you got to Toronto? Be honest!!

Uber, RocketMan, and I’ve been known to venture onto POF occasionally! :D

Editor’s comment: We hope this POF bit doesn’t get you into any trouble:)

Which would you prefer? To spend an hour each with a hundred people or spending a day with one?

Spending a day with one. I meet a lot of people and most I don’t remember their names 10 mins later. Spending a day with someone is always memorable and more enjoyable.

What were three things you were told to do [in Toronto], that you were like… “Meh”

Any kind of tourist thing is a meh (CN tower no offence etc), fancy restaurants are usually a meh. Oh and nightclubs in general are a meh.

… and 3 things you discovered on your own, or via meeting people, that were much better than traditional recommendations?

Traveling on your own is always good along with just heading off the beaten track when abroad (Nothing beats the random secluded waterfall swims at midday in the height of the sun dotted around the Philippines). A lightning storm from the sky if you are lucky enough and can brave the turbulence is also pretty cool. Oh and seeing as I’m from Ireland and we have a distinct lack of snow bombing down the slopes on a snowboard(not skiing - whoever invented the term “just pizza it” deserves a right kick up the ***”) is a definite worthy investment.

Editor’s comment: You probably forgot about french fries!

What does instant gratification mean to you? When was the last time something did not bring you instant gratification, and was it worth the wait?

Winning or succeeding. There’s nothing more satisfying in life than that moment you feel like you’ve succeeded. It might take years of study or hard training but that moment when you realize you’re where you want to be is the sweetest moment in life.

What (other) sports did you play at home? Have you continued to play those or…?

I played only Gaelic football till secondary school (High School) after which I played rugby. Picked up hurling when I lived in Asia. Still the only man I know to score an own goal in Hurling! If you don’t know it, it is really worth a YouTube search. Currently the only sport I play is Gaelic football but hoping to pick something else up this year.

Editors comment: We hope your reputation still precedes you in Asia!!


What purpose do sports serve you? (social, exercise, mental health, etc, etc)?

I find mentally they are essential. Although I am in general a happy person I find myself nowhere near as chirpy and find myself sluggish if I don’t have some sort of exercise during the week. I’d be big into staying fit so I find sports an essential part of my day to day life.

What does fun mean to you? How have you sought fun while being here?

Fun to me really just means having good times. Some of my fondest memories have been from random unplanned events. It doesn’t matter who or where you are the right people will make even the simplest of things fun.

Editor’s comment: Okay, that last part definitely hit a chord!

Seamus is a well traveled young man, and through our interview with him, it became clear that no matter where he goes, sports become a core part of his experience. Without even trying to make friends, that is how his connections are made in new places. Sports are for everyone, everywhere.

Seamus, we want to thank you so much for taking the time to interview with OpenSports, and coming out to our Ping Pong event! It was wonderful to meet you in person, and we wish you all the best during the rest of your stay in Toronto (which will hopefully be…forever!!)

Do you want to share your experiences being new in Toronto? E-mail and I’d love to chat!

Kaylin, Alicia, and The OpenSports Family