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Looking back on KESKUS' busy 2023

Update # 202

The KESKUS project progressed notably in 2023! Soon we'll count down to opening the doors of Estonians' "Project of the Century", KESKUS International Estonian Centre, in the heart of Toronto, North America's 4th largest city.

KESKUS is a testament to the continued engagement of us all in keeping our community evolving and thriving. It is a dream coming true for the diaspora, whether we be of refugee lineage, or outside of Estonia more recently - after all, #igaviieseestlaneelabvälismaal ie, "one-in-five-Estonians-lives-abroad"!

KESKUS hosted two community engagement sessions in 2023, read up on the top takeaways from these here (February 1) and here (November 5). Some of the highlights from 2023 construction:

From the first foundation pour on February 1 2023... basement and shallow foundation work nearing completion:

Now, at the end of 2023, the over 5,000 sq.ft. basement area walls are up and the final basement floor will be poured after the ground floor slab is poured. Stay tuned for the next construction update on more about why this building sequence is necessary (spoiler alert: it has to do with the vibration attenuation).

Looking ahead will see this architectural jewel rise above grade around the end of Q1 2024. The structural steel is in production. The 6.5m (over 21' tall) sheets of triple glazed glass surrounding the courtyard, forming the shape of the country of Estonia, has been produced and is en route from Europe, arriving in the GTA in the new year.

Subscribe to the KESKUS newsletter to keep abreast of project progress and to the KESKUS YouTube channel as 1-2 minute monthly progress videos are completed. The 2023 year-end construction summary is here, and below is a 2-min Timelapse of the construction site from groundbreaking, to December 2023:

Estonian Arts Centre had a full 2023 year including the launch of the misKESKUS video game, suitable for all aged 6+ that takes players through KESKUS solving challenges and learning Estonian vocabulary, hosting the producers and directors of Estonian documentary films for a panel discussion, kicking off its heritage textile arts program with workshops at Seedrioru and a mitten-knitting series, and running the second 'Nou Pois Äläud' women's weekend folk dance retreat.

Ahead in 2024 are more opportunities to engage with the arts and with Estonian heritage, for example:

  1. Dates of September 20-22, 2024 are set for 'Nou Pois Äläud-III', payment is open (say, you need a gift certificate for a special someone?) at and full registration will open mid Q2 2024.

  2. A March Break (March 11-15) filmmaking camp for youths aged 12-17 is in final planning stages and specifics will be announced soon.

EAC invests in the trust that is building KESKUS and the capital campaign has made astounding progress - who could have possibly imagined that Estonians around the world would rally to raise more than CDN$18.5 million so far!?

THANK YOU to every donor for every donation, large and small. Every donation helps get this project closer to completion. As you look to plan 2024, please consider making a donation or topping up your gift to date. The capital campaign has a ways to go. Read more about levels of giving and how to donate, here.

Kõike head uueks aastaks /// All the best for 2024!

The team leading the KESKUS project extends its deepest gratitude to you for your support, and wishes you a happy and healthy 2024!

Estonia's Ambassador to Canada, Margus Rava, EAC Vice-Chair Kaili Colford, Project lead Ellen Valter, Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna, IECI Vice-Chair Veiko Parming, Development manager David Kalm

Dignitaries and Estonian government representatives consider the KESKUS construction site a must-see stop on their visit to North America, with Toronto often called the "capital of 'välis-Eesti'". Please reach out to to visit and see construction progress with your own eyes!

KESKUS International Estonian Centre in downtown Toronto will open in the spring of 2025 and will be a dynamic hub showcasing our rich heritage and promoting Estonian innovation. It will be a vibrant gathering place for Estonians of all generations and backgrounds to connect, celebrate, and share our culture and achievements with each other and the world.

Read more about the project by signing up for the newsletter here. /// Pane end kirja uudiskirja saajaks siin.


Get involved and help support our future

Please join our growing list of capital campaign donors to help bring this extraordinary project to completion. KESKUS leadership donors are recognized here.

To donate, please call +1.647.250.7136 or email Last day for donations of securities is December 27Donations may be made as a family gift, or in honour of an individual or family. All donations are issued a tax receipt, in Canada via Estonian Arts Centre, US tax receipts via KBFUS and Estonian tax receipts via Eesti Rahvuskultuuri Fond. Donations by credit card may be made here.

Let’s keep in touch

  • Visit the KESKUS website for all the latest news

  • Sign up for the KESKUS monthly email newsletter

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

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