Consul General Anne Le Guellec says goodbye to Toronto
After four years in Toronto, Consul General Anne Le Guellec is leaving the city for her next posting for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As of this summer, she will join the Dutch Embassy in Mexico-City. In this short interview, we asked Anne how she experienced her time in Canada.
When looking back, what were the highlights during your time as Consul General?
For me the best part of this job is to meet so many inspiring people with so many different backgrounds. The Dutch teams during the Invictus Games and the wheelchair basketball championships come to mind for example. It was extraordinary to see how these athletes excel in their sports and it was very touching and inspiring to hear their personal stories.
The raising of the Dutch flag in front of the Parliament in honour of Dutch Heritage Day was also one of the highlights as it showed the great contribution the Dutch made to this region. It made me so proud! All my personal conversations with the Canadian veterans were so touching and will remain in my memory.
A few times a year we host naturalization ceremonies for Canadians who receive the Dutch nationality. That’s always a special moment, especially for me, as I have experienced it myself years ago!
And of course the trade missions! The energy from working together with the team to promote the Netherlands and to support Dutch companies is something I really enjoyed. It is enrichening to learn about different economic sectors, from design to nanotechnology to circular economy. Collision, the biggest tech conference of the American continent, was a great example.
Walking in the Pride Parade was also very special, as it showed me again that things we might take for granted in the Netherlands are not so obvious to others. There’s still a lot of work to do!
Living in Toronto, what surprised you the most?
I was delighted with the long warm summers and Lake Ontario! It is beautiful, infinite and it even has waves. For a person who can’t live far from to the sea I have to admit that this was a very good alternative! My favorite spots are the Toronto Islands and the Evergreen Brick Works. You wouldn’t expect these quiet green places in such a busy city. It’s great to unwind by just walking there all by yourself, well, except for the squirrels and the coyotes that you might encounter!
The cosmopolitan way of life in Toronto really pleased me. In the Netherlands I was always one of the few ones with an accent, but here everybody speaks English with his or her own accent and cultural background and that’s just okay for everybody. That makes Toronto a great place to live and triggered me to approach problems from different perspectives.
What do you think of the economic collaboration between Canadian and Dutch companies?
The Canadian and Dutch way of work can be very complementary, as we are working on solutions for the same local and global challenges. We can learn a lot from each other. Sometimes Canadians should try to take more risks and the Dutch should show more patience. That might improve doing business from my perspective.
For Dutch companies eyeing on expanding their business to Canada, I would recommend to take your time, build trust and be well-prepared (pitch!). It’s very important to be open for the culture and traditions in Canada. Even though we are like-minded and ‘culturally close’ countries, always respect the differences and keep them into account when doing business.
I would like to conclude by saying that I couldn’t have realized all the good work the past years without the efforts and hard work of a fantastic, colourful and diverse team.
The team has a lot of knowledge and has built an impressive network over the years across all sectors. Thanks to them and the Dutch community that has been involved in so many positive developments the past decennia, this made it a lot easier to do the job!
Thank you all for an inspiring time!