In the summer and fall of 1944, approximately 70,000 Estonians fled from advancing Soviet troops across the Baltic Sea to Sweden and Germany. What began as a temporary flight became permanent exile, and the price of reaching the free world was the loss of a homeland and a life to which one was accustomed. For many, education and vocational training acquired in Estonia proved useless in the country of resettlement, though some were able to continue in their area of specialization.
At the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s, thousands of Estonians arrived in Canada, mostly from Germany and Sweden. A large number of them gathered in Toronto and its vicinity. They needed jobs to support themselves and their families. People with good business sense soon found opportunities to establish their own businesses; among the most popular were food shops and factories in the food industry. Due to the demand for Estonian-style food, many Estonian bakeries and meat factories, delicatessens and dining halls were founded in the 1950s. Do you know that Rooneem´s at Queen St W, Amjärv´s A&A at the Manulife Centre and Janes´Family Food were established and run by Estonians? You will learn about them as well as other Estonian food shops when you visit the exhibition.