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KESKUS donors rally to help meet rising construction costs

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

Update #126

Outi & Glen Leis presenting their original donation in December 2018, to KESKUS capital campaign leads Allan Hess, Mihkel Liik & Riina Hess

Leadership donors to the KESKUS capital campaign doubled and tripled prior donations over the last month, to ensure that construction on KESKUS International Estonian Centre in downtown Toronto can confidently commence.

KESKUS, an architectural jewel that will elevate the celebration of Estonia's and Estonians' culture and achievements, is resoundingly supported by Estonians around the world and by Toronto's local Annex residents. Permits are in hand for construction on the centre to start.

Over the last year of the pandemic, supply chain issues have generated an unexpected spike in costs. To ensure that this challenge can be met, the KESKUS capital campaign committee reached out to leadership donors at the Kalevipoja Laud level, to seek additional support to help defray this unexpected impact on the construction budget.

The overwhelming majority of leadership donors doubled their original donations, and in some cases more than tripled them, securing for KESKUS the additional funds needed to proceed with construction.

"Architect Alar Kongats' design, with the map of Estonia as the courtyard's outline is masterful, and the signature glass facade and view from the Jänes-Koppel Grand Hall speaks to the openness of Estonia itself. These are just two of the elements that make KESKUS a world-class facility and contribute to the pride the KESKUS project generates in Estonians around the world," notes Liisa Käärid, board chair of Estonian Arts Centre (EAC), the charity associated with KESKUS.

"It is heartening to know that leadership donors are setting the example for us all, to ensure that this shared vision is reinforced by an increase in financial support to see it through," Liisa continued.

Heili Toome, board chair of International Estonian Centre Inc. (IECI), notes that "construction costs have increased by 40% on average and industry analysis points to costs staying at elevated levels for some time yet. KESKUS has locked in certain pre-spike pricing, and buttressed by the new donations, the IECI board has approved commencement of construction after consultation with the 3 founding organisations, and EAC and IECI parent company, Estonian House in Toronto Limited."

The project budget is CDN$41m of which CDN$26m plus contingency is slated for construction costs. "We are preparing for mobilising on site with final foundation and shoring tenders being awarded. We are preparing for the next stage of construction," says Bill Waters, Harbridge+Cross, KESKUS Construction Manager, and continues enthusiastically, "all aboard, the train is leaving the station!"

A virtual community engagement session to discuss project progress is tentatively scheduled for March 24, please mark your calendars - sign up for the KESKUS monthly newsletter here and follow KESKUS on social, for updates.


KESKUS valued donors make a critical difference!

Please join the growing list of capital campaign donors! KESKUS International Estonian Centre’s donor categories are Kalevipoja Laud for gifts of $100,000 and above (including naming rights for specific areas), Viru Vanemad for gifts of $10,000 and above, and Kungla Rahvas for gifts under $10,000. KESKUS leadership donors are recognized here.

To make a donation, please call +1.647.250.7136 or email Donations may be made as a family gift, or in honour of an individual or family and leadership gifts can be paid over time. All donations are issued a tax receipt.

Let’s keep in touch!

  • Visit the KESKUS website for all the latest news

  • Sign up for the KESKUS monthly email newsletter

  • Follow KESKUS on Facebook @EestiKeskus, Twitter @keskus, Instagram @keskus.iec


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