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Born in Baku, Azerbaijan |

In 2008, after waiting seven years to join her Dad, Leila and the rest of her family arrived in Canada. She explains how her “broken family reunited again”. At the age of 14 she says the process of adaptation was very difficult and stressful. Speaking English was a challenge, and she was homesick. Still today she misses her childhood in Azerbaijan. Leila often dreams that she is back in the city she grew up in, walking its narrow streets. She says every street and house there was so familiar to her, and in her dream she visits the Caspian Sea where she first swam. This year, however her life in Canada has taken a turn for the better, as she is now a student at York University studying Human Resource Management. She has made great friends, and is happy in her current job at their family flower shop. Leila emphasizes how in Canada she has more opportunities to achieve her dreams than in Azerbaijan, and she is finally beginning to feel comfortable calling Toronto home.

Toronto as Home

For Leila, knowing the that the bouquets/ toys she makes out of flowers at her job with Toy Florist will bring a smile to someone’s face, excites her. The flowers she is constantly surrounded by make her comfortable and calm, feeling like she is where she is supposed to be. Flowers she says “induce real positive emotions”.

Connection with the Past

Leila is holding a teddy bear made of flowers. A year ago she went back to Baku with her brother, and by chance, they saw a flower shop selling unique floral arrangements. That is where they got the idea for their business here in Toronto. To make a teddy bear like this it takes approximately two hours. They also make penguins, swans, cats, hippos, owls, cars and cakes made of flowers… “basically everything” she explains.

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