A very simple slide rule for exposure I like : http://expomat.tripod.com/
In Canada I also get sunny f/11 most of the year. Shadow is f5.6. Except for the hour or two before sunset, it's pretty reliable. But yeah, the DSLR should give you an idea. Match it with received wisdom like the sunny rule, and it should tell you whether you're in the right ballpark.
Daylight photography is very easy without a meter; studio photography isn't.