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Born in Rantsila, Finland |

Anja was young, full of energy and, although staying in Finland was an option, she was ready for a change of scenery. Her sister Irja was already living in Toronto and so she decided to move there. Now, having spent more than half of her life in Toronto, Anja feels connected to the city. She appreciates the diverse scenery and climate, particularly the warm summers.

“The people here are friendly and helpful.”

Anja has been a member of the Toronto Laestadian Lutheran Church since she arrived in the city and explains how their congregation maintains close ties to Finland and Finnish heritage – which, in addition to their faith, draws them together. Being part of this community and the fact that she has family here is what makes Toronto feel like home. Anja, who is now retired, used to be a cake decorator at a grocery store.

Toronto as Home

Anja is standing in front of her first home, located in Willowdale, that she purchased with her sister in 1972. Until 1986 she lived there and her workplace at Dominion Grocery Store was only a ten minute walk away. Remembering the neighbourhood fondly, Anja says it was “a very quiet peaceful area with mostly retired people”. She got to know her neighbours well and had many close Finnish friends who lived within walking distance.

Connection with the Past

This is the cake decorating textbook that Anja used while studying in Finland. She explains how it has been very valuable for her, as she was able to get her degree by applying the skills she learned from this book. Without her degree, she says she would never have been able to get a job in Canada. This book is a connection between the last few years she spent in Finland before migrating here, and her working life in Canada.

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