Estonian Arts Centre welcomes a renewed board that will shape the future of the community’s new home

Updated: Jan 28

Update #88


The new directors who have agreed to be appointed to the Estonian Arts Centre (EAC) board will help the existing team oversee the work to ensure that the local and global Estonian community’s new home in the heart of Toronto, the International Estonian Centre (IEC), is vibrant, engaging and welcoming.


Key areas of focus will be its charitable activities and fundraising, and oversight to ensure community uses and professional arts activities are top priorities in the IEC.


“Our new international centre will be a vibrant and inspirational hub for Estonian arts and culture by nurturing and showcasing our rich heritage,” said Ellen Valter, IEC Steering Committee Chair.


EAC has notable experience in cultivating and supporting a broad range of arts programming which appeal to both Estonians and non-Estonians in Canada.

Over its 45-year history, EAC has produced and organized performances, exhibitions, conferences, retreats and seminars, commissioned original literary and musical works, conducted arts competitions, curated an art collection, and promoted applied arts such as printmaking, metalsmithing and ceramics.


EAC is reimagining its heritage arts program to align with the possibilities presented by the new centre. EAC is actively soliciting significant donations and planning the launch of its public fundraising campaign.


“I am fully confident these talented and committed board members will work to ensure an extraordinary performance and community space for all Torontonians, that our local and global Estonian community is well engaged and accommodated and that the fund-raising to make our dreams a reality is an overwhelming success, too!” she added.


Details on all EAC board members can be found here:


Kaili Colford – As the director of Public Relations and Communications at Plan International Canada, an international children’s rights charity, she leads major campaigns linked to the organization such as International Day of the Girl. Kaili has experience in public relations, communications and marketing in both the corporate and non-profit sectors and her expertise spans strategic communications planning, major campaigns, media relations, crisis communications, social media and celebrity and influencer engagement. She also served as the communications director for EstDocs, the Estonian Documentary Film Festival in Toronto.


“My grandparents fled Estonia and were instrumental in building our thriving community in Toronto. I’m passionate about adding to their contributions and making our collective vision a reality for generations to come. This new home is for my children and friends to enjoy and a chance to truly spotlight our heritage and culture on an international level.”



Suzanne Harrison, CPA, CMA, MBA – A telecommunications expert and strategic executive with a strong customer, stakeholder and mentoring focus, she is Head/Director, Office Realty Implementation Branch, Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, she also served in Director level positions at Information Technology Services MGCS, MTS Allstream and AT&T Canada.


“I’m not Estonian, but I feel I’m as Estonian as you can get as I’ve had a lot of engagement with the community through my husband and my friends, although my Estonian remains rudimentary. Our kids have been very involved in Estonian culture through the school and Jõekääru summer camp and I can see how important the culture is. That’s why I’m involved - I want my children to feel that they have their place and that they can continue to be able to contribute to the community. I’m very excited to be part of this team.”




Liisa Käärid, LL.M – Corporate commercial lawyer, most recently as Vice-President, Legal Affairs, Senior Leadership Team, Weston Group Legal for Loblaw Companies Limited. She was leader of Digital/Technology, Intellectual Property and Marketing Legal Teams and led the protecting and monetizing many of Canada’s top brands including President’s Choice®, no name® and Life Brand®. Liisa, who is currently living in Estonia, also served on the President’s Choice Children’s charity. “As to why I’m involved…how could I not be? It’s a vision that is inspiring, that is necessary and that is gaining critical mass on the basis of the hours of thought and effort that have come before us. I want to lend my shoulder to the wheel and am honoured to do so.”



Lea Kõiv, BComm, CPA, CMA, CA, CFP, TEP – In her consulting business, Lea works with accountants, lawyers, actuaries and other professionals, as well as high-net worth clients, in tax, retirement and estate planning. Former National Director, Retail Tax & Estate Planning at Standard Life, she also had long tenures on the Boards of the Estonian Ecumenical Relief Organization and Ehatare’s Estonian Relief Committee and is currently on the Board of Northern Birch Credit Union, where she also serves as the Chair of the Audit Committee.


“I have extensive knowledge of tax issues and how this impacts organizations, and I am ready to help this initiative deal effectively with them.”



Mihkel Kütti, B.A. – An expert in new business development and experiential marketing, he is Business Development Manager, Enterprise (Americas), Ai-Media where he is responsible for selling services to new prospects, growing the existing client base; securing partnerships and creating, organizing and maintaining pipelines and workflows for North American new business. Mihkel is also a scout leader for the Toronto 250th Boy Scouts and serves on the executive leadership of the Estonian Academic Society.


“If there’s an Estonian organization, I’ve probably been involved in it. I’m excited to pitch in with this project, roll up my sleeves and get to work.”



Veiko Parming, B.A.Sc., M.S.T., Principal Consultant with CPCS Transcom Limited specializing in transportation sector policy, economics and strategy, and now serving his third term as president of the Estonian House.


“I’ve been very active in the Estonian community in many capacities and have been a director of the Estonian House since 2015 at a time when we were starting to look forward to a new future for the Estonian community. It’s taken many twists and turns since then and I’m extremely excited at the momentum we have now. What also draws me to this project is the opportunity we have to strengthen links between ‘Eesti’ and ‘välis-Eesti’.”


Eric Sehr, M.U.P. – Eric is a dedicated public servant and as Program Manager Business Operations, he leads and manages key portfolios for Toronto Building, the City of Toronto department that reviews and issues building permits and inspects construction for compliance. These portfolios include capital and operating budgeting, human resources planning, staff training, quality assurance, and risk management. He has served on the board of the Estonian House since 2015.


“I’m passionate about Toronto and the Estonian community and this project helps put our stamp on both - as well as continue the legacy our grandparents built for us.”



Urve Tamberg, M.B.A., D.H.A., B.Sc. (P.T.) – Urve has over 30 years’ experience in senior executive roles in both the public and private sectors including Fortune 500 companies and start-ups, with a focus on strategy, business development and stakeholder engagement. Urve was Executive Manager of the IEC Project’s Steering Committee, has served on the board of the Estonian House since 2017 and is a volunteer on EKN/Estonian Central Council in Canada.


“It’s really exciting to know that our global Estonian community has the vitality to keep our arts and culture vibrant. We have something extraordinary here and a once in a lifetime opportunity to continue the legacy that our parents and grandparents gave us.”


Peter Viitre, B. Comm., L.L.B, – A lawyer for over 25 years, Peter is Partner, Commercial Group, Sotos LLP, and head of the firm’s Home Services and Retail Practice areas. He works extensively with franchises in these areas as well as the automotive industry.


“I look forward to bringing my experience serving on various other boards to the table. I have many, many fond memories of Eesti Maja from confirmation dinners to my grandparents’ diamond anniversary party. This is an exciting opportunity for me to help and give back to the community. Onward and upward!”

The boards of International Estonian Centre Inc. and Estonian Arts Centre comprise volunteers who have the skills and expertise necessary to oversee project transition into construction and thereafter into a fully tenanted and operational cultural and events space in the culture and academia district of Toronto as well as our local and global community home to gather for activities, celebrate our heritage and showcase our culture. Fortunately, our community has many qualified candidates with exceptional credentials, involvement, and experience. The IEC Steering Committee, together with its subcommittees, and the Estonian House in Toronto Ltd. (EH) board who appoints directors to the two boards, considered the right mix of skills, age, gender, Estonians and parents of Estonians for the initial expansion of these boards off. New board member nominees are always welcomed by the Estonian House board throughout the year.



Get involved and help support our future


Are you interested in helping build this spectacular new home for the global Estonian community? Please join our growing list of capital campaign donors! The International Estonian Centre’s donor categories are Kalevipoja Laud for gifts over $100,000 (including naming rights for specific areas), Viru Vanemad for gifts over $10,000, and Kungla Rahvas for gifts up to $10,000. Stay tuned for the launch of the Kungla Rahvas campaign in 2021.


To make a donation, please contact donations@estoniancentre.ca.

Donations may be made as a family gift, or in honour of an individual or family. All Canadian and U.S. donations will be issued a tax receipt.


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