There is a tiny guinea pig oasis in the middle of Toronto
A little guinea pig village has captured the hearts of people in a west end Toronto neighbourhood.
Bloordale resident Christine Samuel says she didn't always like guinea pigs, but her husband loved the little creatures.
"He once had a guinea pig as a child, so he wanted to have a guinea pig for his kids," Samuel says.
She eventually she came to like the guinea pigs — and so did her neighbourhood.
"I came to like them because they're cute," she admits.
Her husband built little homes from scratch (there are now four) slowly creating a tiny village for the cute rodents. He put them in the front yard about three years ago but only in the spring, summer and fall. Guinea pigs, originally from South America, aren't adapted for the snow.
It wasn't long before people walking by took notice.
"What happened is it's become a neighborhood attraction," says Samuel. "People will come with the kids or with their pets, with their dog, and just stand at the front of the yard and take pictures."
After a while, Samuel decided to start an Instagram account called guineapigoasis, all about "life in the Guinea Pig Village."
"The Instagram is more like a cute thing you see for a few seconds to make you happy," she says. "It's just for fun."
In addition to being cute and fun to watch, the guinea pigs eat the grass — once the front lawn is cut down, they move the village to the backyard, so they don't need a lawn mower.
Samuel also does a lot of cooking and often gives the guinea pigs the vegetable scraps rather than composing them.
"It's a treat, and it's also a recycling," she says. The poop is fertilizer, she adds.
The number of guinea pigs has changed, as some have died of old age, but right now they have three.
They also have a cat named Ninja, adopted when she was pregnant, who likes to hang out with the guinea pigs and occasionally makes an appearance on Instagram, along with her kittens (now adopted).
Samuel just hopes the little furry creatures and the village make people happy.
"It really always makes me smile when people pass by and see it," she says.
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