This blog is by an Estonian discovering her childhood dream country Canada. Based in Toronto, but sometimes traveling. Looking for an Estonian connection in the far away country and giving away tips about what to see, what to do, what to experience. Hence the name of the blog: Toronto. Canada. Estonia.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
I believe that this is Rufous Hummingbird. This was my first time seeing such bird and this is the only photo I have ever managed to snap of hummingbird flying. Quick and almost like a dream-like bird. It is hard to believe, but this little birdie can flap their wings possibly as high as 200 times per second, which is a bit out of this world, don't you think. Oh and if any of you is wondering what this hummingbird is trying to eat, the answer is sugar water, which they absolutely adore and with what it is easy to allure them to your porch.
That is not a fun fact about Estonia, but there are no hummingbirds in my country.
At that farm I saw lots of wildlife happening, as forest and fields were near. I was able to notice some barn swallows there, which appear a bit different than the ones with the same name in Estonia.
Barn swallow is Estonian national bird. Read more about the Estonian National Symbols HERE.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Never I dreamed of seeing animals called Alpacas and more than this who would have imagined I get to see how they are getting sheared. Here is a mammoth post about how it is done.
Firstly the animal is put on a custom-made table. It takes at least five people to do that.
When the body has been sheared, a person who is responsible for the head, tries to keep the animal as still as possible to avoid any cuts to the skin.
When one side of the body has been done, the neck will be taken care of. It takes some skills to hold alpaca still and fleece at the same time.
In no time animal is free from the torture and all the wool has collected.
A batch of fresh wool from alpaca.
Waiting for its turn.
A little bit more about Alpaca's from wikipedia.org:
Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3,500 m to 5,000 m above sea level, throughout the year Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burden, but were bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool. These items include blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, a wide variety of textiles and ponchos in South America, and sweaters, socks, coats and bedding in other parts of the world. The fiber comes in more than 52 natural colors as classified in Peru, 12 as classified in Australia and 16 as classified in the United States.
In the textile industry, "alpaca" primarily refers to the hair of Peruvian alpacas, but more broadly it refers to a style of fabric originally made from alpaca hair, but now often made from similar fibers, such as mohair, Icelandic sheep wool, or even high-quality English wool. In trade, distinctions are made between alpacas and the several styles of mohair and luster.
An adult alpaca generally is between 81 and 99 cm in height at the withers. They usually weigh between 48 and 84 kg.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The area, where I stayed produces the most wonderful photography opportunities in spring, when the lilacs are in bloom. I tried to test my creativity and visited different places in the area to get these wonderful shots.
Lilacs are very characteristic to Estonian spring, you get them in big bushes everywhere.
Remember the tea room I mentioned not so long ago, what I helped my Eric to renovate. While working there in a windowless room, I saw a raccoon mother with few babies wandering around. One got left behind from the group, so I got my long lens on and ran out. The best shots I have ever gotten of a raccoon so far.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
In few days the situation has progressed, as two huge cranes were set up on the bridge to pull the car out from the river. It was very tense, as the car got damaged, a lot, as the river flow was strong, as were the wires pulling the car against the current. But it was rescued.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Today all my hard work paid off, as the exhibition at the gallery that I prepared and helped putting stuff up, was opened. So many people showed up, as this happened in just a small village. Congrats my hosts!
Friday, May 20, 2011
The new hosts of mine have a little gallery and this time when I was there they were hosting my former host's 20 years retrospective art exhibition. I got knowledges about preparing the blank gallery for the exhibition and helped to set up the things and clean afterwards. Wow, what an experience.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
I have heard many surprising stories about raccoon's who were supposed to be common in Canada. So far I haven't seen any, until my visit to Ottawa. There is a famous cat park in Parliament Hill. The food that is put out to cats often gets eaten by racoon's. Here you can see one munching the canned cat food. They look pretty, but are very vicious and dirty animals...and quite big!
This in my opinion is a bit interesting story. If you are ever in Ottawa, you will most likely visit Byward Market, which is the main tourist attraction. In February 2009 Obama was in his official visit to Canada and he was visiting the popular sights as well. He went in to Le Moulin de Provence, a local French bakery where he president picked up maple leaf shaped cookies for his daughters, free of charge. They have a nice photo from that day.
Read the full story here.
Here are two of my favourite pieces I found in the Canadian Museum of Civilization. They both come from the Aboriginal art section. First is picturing soul leaving body after the death and the second shows the birth of a baby.
If you are not familiar at all with Aboriginal art, then I can teach you at least one thing. The style you see pictured on first photo is very specific to Aboriginal painting, also the choice of colours. If you google "aboriginal art" you will find many of such examples. Enjoy1
My kind friends took me to the Canadian Museum of Civilization. What a huge museum, so much to see, so much to read. I learned a lot. You might think that this is still Ottawa, as I went to Ottawa after all, but the museum is located in Gatineau, Quebec.
The museum's primary purpose is to collect, study, preserve, and present material objects that illuminate the human history of Canada and the cultural diversity of its people. Interesting enough I found a corner at the children department where there were toys from USSR. I recognized few pieces I used to play when I was little. Maybe some day I can share a photo of those.
I liked the architecture of the building a lot and always trying to see who is behind amazing buildings. The museum was designed by Douglas Cardinal, a famous Aboriginal architect educated at the University of British Columbia, and the University of Texas at Austin. There you go, that explains the real authentic look of the museum, almost looks like somebody is watching you when standing in front of it.
You can reach to museum's website here.
As a surprise came to me to find this lovely statue of world-famous pianist Oscar Peterson in Ottawa. He was born in Montreal and passed away just five years ago in Mississauga close to Toronto.
Read more about it from The Star.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
My friends took me to Ottawa for the weekend. They said lots is happening there at this time, so I was very pleased that they invited me with them. They were so kind to took me the the Canadian Museum of Nature. What a treat. Wow. Here are some shots of the architecture of this building.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
New thing to me is the black fly, which bites so hard that it will leave a blood mark on your skin. If you are allergic to them, as I happen to be, the bite area will swollen up nicely for few days...YUCK! Hurts a lot and is very annoying. Use repellent and wear a face net.
That is my hardest volunteer work project in Canada so far. I am helping out Eric (you will meet him in the next post), so that this area can become a nice room, as we had already put on dry-wall, cut the fitting pieces out of it. I covered it with primer and then the hardest part - staining the wood. So much hard work and until this day I actually do not know how to room looks like....