Like everyone, I have fond memories of the Toronto Estonian House.
It is important to remember the hard work and efforts of our ancestors and fellow Estonians who dedicated themselves to building, developing, and maintaining the Broadview Estonian House. The strength and continued success of our community is their direct legacy. We must preserve as much from the Broadview house as we can — both the physical objects from within, and its spirit.
This is natural and understandable. But it is time to move on. Stubbornness and nostalgia are the enemy of progress. This is about the future; about channeling our knowledge and dear traditions into a unique, new, future-facing opportunity. The Estonian state itself is racing ahead, investing in and embracing the future. We must do so too.
And this can be done without giving up what is most important to us, such as our traditions, culture and language. We lose the building, but keep the institution. In fact, we get a major upgrade on the building, directly helping us to revamp and revitalise the institution and thereby our community.
I want to be able to bring my children to an Estonian Centre that is sustainable, adaptable, and keeping pace with our times—even years after it first opens. (I do not plan on having children for a long time!)
I’m particularly excited about the prospect of the “accelerator” technology hub and incubator that is planned for the new Estonian Centre. This follows the spirit of Estonian innovation, boosts sustainability, and provides a meaningful opportunity to bring together Estonian and non-Estonian businesspeople and innovators.
While I personally always saw the Estonian Centre project as a sensible and important initiative, there is certainly no logic to fighting it anymore. It is going to happen no matter what, for better or for worse. But we can all play a role in how successful it is, and in how strong and united our community will remain.
Grumpiness, division, grudges and bickering will only hurt future generations.
PS: I concede that losing the rifle range is truly unfortunate. But that’s just another reason to make the trip to Kotkajärve!