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.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I have to tell that I have heard so much people talking about toads, that they are ugly and venomous, but I hardly ever came across any of them in Estonia. In Canada they seem to be in abundance and very common. this was the tiniest one I have ever saw. Had to take a close-up, which turned out the way it did.

This is the last photo of my volunteering in Quebec. I will be on vacation and then heading to camp.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

St. John's Day the Canadian way

This is me taking a jump over Solidarity Day bonfire, as we, Estonians are used to do during Jaanipäev, on 23rd of June every year. It took at least 13 shots to get this frame, as I had no remote and anybody assisting me. Just me and the nature, the best combination.

Fading villages

This is happening everywhere - small places are fading out. I was volunteering not far away from this particular village in Quebec and I came across many abandoned and falling apart houses and businesses. Sad to see fine architecture turning to dust. It makes me think of Detroit.

Situation is the same in Estonia. Southern and eastern countryside areas are getting empty and there are more houses which are falling apart. But I guess this is the circle of life.


It is very common in Canada that men from the small villages are also part of the fire rescue team. So was my host at his hometown, a tiny Quebec village.

This has becoming a trend also in Estonia lately. Brave men.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fish and chips

I have heard about fish and chips before, but never tasted. Mostly that this food is common in the UK. I guess I had to come to Canada to fell in love with the food, so here it is, my first fish and chips I have had. Served in a little village diner run by two women. It sure looks as good as it tastes. I am hooked!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I am sure for the rest of the world such chairs are nothing special. I can tell you that for me they are, as we fo not have such in Estonia! What a cool way, to bring that light chair with you to any event you are going and then enjoy sitting and the show! How patriotic as well!

Parliament Hill

That is one of the most famous towers in Canada, next to CN Tower of course. It is located in Parliament Hill and this is where Canadian government is located. Main sights to visit when in Ottawa. Be sure to check before your visit to be able to see wonderful light plays which are offered every now and then.

I think in Estonia it could be Toompea tower, which is as known and important for locals. 

Ontario and Quebec

While taking this photo I was still on the Ontario side of the Ottawa, across the River Ottawa is the Quebec side of the city. I know, it is a bit complicated, but again interesting. On the background, on the left you can see the Canadian Museum of Civilization which is now called History Museum.

Dessert 5

Canada was the country where I came across the world-famous Pecan Pie. I enjoyed one mini one in a park near Parliament Hill, what you can see in the far background. Mmm-mmmm. You could say that this pie is a tradition to many Canadians and memory from childhood.

If you do not know what the heck is Pecan Pie, then check out this quick and easy recipe for it and then you can't blame me if you are hooked ;)

In Estonia Pecan nuts are a rarity and there is not even a correct name for those, as they are just called pekaani pähklid

Outing in Ottawa

Today I was visiting Ottawa, capital of Canada. Some call it a boring dull city, but for a new-comer as myself this city definitely offered a lot of sights and experiences.

Pictured on left is the world famous Hotel Chateau-Laurier, which you already saw in my earlier post. In the middle of the shot you can see nice outside exhibition, which was following the Rideau Canal on one side of it. Great quality large format photos of Canadian nature and life, what may be more interesting, eh?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

View from my trailer

So imagine it.


I saw this lovely hare looking for something to eat next to my trailer. It is thrilling to take photos of a wild animal while enjoying your morning hot chocolate. Estonia this is not an average sight, unless you really live out in a wild.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My "home" for a month

This is so far the most rustic living arrangement I have had. Trailer with a hallway, kitchen, washroom and bedroom, electricity included. Nothing can beat the view to the lawn, which I mowed and cleaned from dead and wilted trees, while making lots of bonfires - exciting evening pastime :) (check the post after the next!)

Electricity came from the solar panel pictured on the left, as the log pile, where the groundhogs used to live.I really liked such experience.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sound asleep

Never I had seen a child sleeping like that. What a creativity!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chelydra serpentina

The common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) is a large freshwater turtle of the family Chelydridae. Its natural range extends from southeastern Canada, southwest to the edge of the Rocky Mountains, as far east as Nova Scotia and Florida and as far southwest as northeastern Mexico.

Common snappers are noted for their belligerent disposition when out of the water, their powerful beak-like jaws, and their highly mobile head and neck (hence the specific name "serpentina", meaning "snake-like"). In some areas they are hunted very heavily for their meat, a popular ingredient in turtle soup. These turtles have lived for up to 47 years in captivity, while the lifespan of wild individuals is estimated to be around 30 years. (Source: wikipedia.org)

We do not have any turtles in Estonia, so for me seeing a beast huge like that was definitely a thrilling experience. I was warned that their neck can get long quite fast, so you have to be aware while near this creature. Anyway I caught her when she was trying to find a best ground to lay the eggs. I saw her trying out at least 6 places, then I lost her from my sight as she disappeared to the forest. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gomphus exilis

I think this is the dragonfly I think it is, please correct me if I am wrong.

I never knew that I can get so close to one, as this one had no idea of taking off when I was 5 cm close to it, with my lens. Lucky me!

Kerly beach

Somewhere in Quebec you can find a clean and sandy beach called Kerly beach, which was named by me by my hosts to celebrate the beach I worked so hard at. I should give it a visit myself after some time to let you know if that is as enjoyable as the name sounds.

How I became a "builder"

Building is something I do not know much about, but I became a builder overnight. Volunteering can open you doors which you even couldn't imagine.

Pictured is not your average house, but a very environmental friendly and organic house. This is not very hard to build, as it is mostly stitching with a half meter long needle, which we all could manage with. But that's is not all, do not let be fooled. The cheeks which are around the house, are very crucial, as they have to prevent water falling into the base. That work needs lots of time and precision.

Straw-bale houses are not common in Estonia, we have some tradition of building mud huts, like they do in Africa, but this is not a very popular way. My dream is to build a mud-straw-bale house for myself.

Cedar Waxwing

I see that the nature photography in Quebec keeps getting better and better. I feel like sharing more about this beauty, so here is something from Wikipedia: These birds' most prominent feature is a small cluster of bright red feathers on the wings, a feature they share with the Bohemian Waxwing. The tail is typically yellow or orange depending on diet. Birds that have fed on berries of introduced Eurasian honeysuckles while growing tail feathers will have darker orange-tipped tail-feathers. Adults have a pale yellow belly. Immature birds are streaked on the throat and flanks, and often do not have the black mask of the adults.

During courtship the male and female will sit together and pass small objects back and forth, such as flower petals or an insect. Mating pairs will sometimes rub their beaks together affectionately.

The flight of waxwings is strong and direct, and the movement of the flock in flight resembles that of a flock of small pale European Starlings. (Source wikipedia.org)

Read more about Cear Waxwing from wikipedia.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

This beauty is Eastern Tent Caterpillar. Just look a its wonderful skin and all the soft fur poking out. What a beautiful creature!

Please read about Easter Tent Caterpillar more here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dessert 4

Here is another wonderful Canadian dessert - chocolate cake, but I must say, though it looked amazing, it wasn't sweet enough for me :P

Groundhog family

During my one month in the woods of Quebec, I got to know a family of groundhogs, who were living under the log pile by my trailer. First day I thought that there is one just by accident, but every time, especially in the mornings, when I stepped outside and was quiet, I could see several fur balls doing their things around it. They were very cute and very tiny and quite bold I must say. During the course of time I got to take lots of photos of them. 

Usually they are our on their own, or there was just one bolder one who stayed out longer and allowed me to sneak closer with my telephoto lens. On the last photo you can see four babies, there were five of them and the mother. Their teeth are sharp and can crack wood like a piece of cake. Sometimes I spent just ten minutes looking face to face with one of these cute balls, so that my feet died....

Very exciting to be in the nature.


Though Chipmunks are not rare, I still like to take photos of those cute furry animals. This time is pictured a curious one trying to peek into the cargo container. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Eastern Painted Turtle

Canada sure is exotic country, as there are turtles around and you can actually see them!
This is my first photos of a pretty turtle called Eastern Painted Turtle. Such beauty!

Read more about Painted Turtles here.



They are bad, really bad. Cover yourself as much as you can when in nature. Didn't have any repellent on and was wearing tight cotton pants and this is the result.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Highest straw-bale house

This amazing three storeys high house, which was made out of straw-bale, clay and wood. Not a piece of varnish or plastic were used while building it is the highest straw-bale house in the world. It didn't get to the Guinness Book of Records, because there is a taller one, somewhere in Sweden, but that one has built using metal construction, while this is purely made out of wood in that section.

Check out this neat page about clay-houses in Estonia. 

American red squirrel

Welcome to Quebec!

This is the first shot I took while being there on my first real day at wonderful Solisterra!

I was cozily in my room, unpacking when I heard this loud weird sound. My first thought was, that it must be some amazing bird. As I approached the tree with my long lens I realized that the sound was from a red squirrel. I could approach as close as possible to it, without it even making any effort of escaping. Lovely!

If you will see any squirrels in Estonia, then that is the kind you would see - a red one. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bye volunteering, hi volunteering

My time at wonderful Ontario countryside paradise has come to an end and it is time to move to another spot, but this time at Quebec. 

My host was so kind to drive me to Ottawa, where I will be picked up by my new host who will take me to their countryside home in rural Quebec. Exciting!

Weather was just hot on 1st of July and Ottawa was looking good from the rooftop. 
The Ottawa Convention Centre was shining like a diamond.
Three women had fun exploring the streets of Ottawa.
What a nice day :)

Thank you BE from the bottom of my heart!