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IEC gains enthusiastic support from Ottawa and Montreal

Update #53

Members of the Ottawa and Montreal Estonian Societies came out to the June 2 Flag Day and International Estonian Centre event at the Estonian Embassy in Ottawa, before it goes into renovations.

Members of the Ottawa and Montreal Estonian Societies met at the future Estonian Embassy building in Ottawa on June 2 to celebrate Estonia’s 135th Flag Day and to learn of the latest developments with the International Estonian Centre (IEC) project.

“Both the International Estonian Centre development in Toronto and the Estonian Embassy building renovations here in Ottawa are symbols of renewal and of commitment to an Estonian presence in Canada,” enthused Ambassador Lukk as he welcomed everyone to Estonia’s future home in Ottawa.

Ottawa’s future Estonian Embassy building, under heritage protection, was built in 1875 and will undergo a complete gutting, aiming to open its doors in 2020.

Celebrating Estonia's 135th Flag Day on June 2, Chair of International Estonian Centre, Ellen Valter (left), presents Estonian Ambassador to Canada, Toomas Lukk, with historic speeches published for the 75th and 100th Flag Day anniversaries for the Ottawa Embassy library once it has undergone its renovation.

Ambassador Lukk further echoed the IEC vision statement that the IEC 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.

The author of the IEC capital campaign feasibility study (which results were presented last April, see the news archive at for further details) surveyed a meaningful sample population of Estonians outside of Toronto. Those respondents thought that it made sense for Toronto to take on the role of being the hub for the Estonian diaspora. 80% of those respondents were willing to contribute to IEC’s capital campaign.

Bearing out that finding was the large turnout to the Ottawa event, generously catered by Ülle Veltmann. Tõnu Onu and Karl Raudsepp, presidents of the Ottawa and Montreal Estonian societies, respectively, were pleased with the level of interest.

“Our members may not use the new Centre every week, but it will be the natural place to meet up and attend events when in Toronto,” said Tõnu. Karl agreed, saying “Montreal Estonians currently hold events in the Estonian church but maintaining this facility is becoming increasingly more difficult. We are looking for ways to sustain our own Estonian footprint in Montreal. A new and modern Centre buoys all Estonians and will be a source of great pride. We will have more and more reason to come to Toronto.”

Three-time Governor-General award winning architect Alar Kongats presented the IEC project to the attentive audience.

“I’m grateful to hear all about the Centre from those who are leading the project,” noted Merike Olo, an Ottawa resident. “The design is warm and inviting and now I’ll have one more reason - a big reason! - to return to Toronto more often.”

Paul Laanemets, also an Ottawa resident, was pleased to have the project described in detail and summed up the event by saying, “Thanks very much to the project team for including Ottawa and the surrounding area in their consultations!”


Keep in touch and find out what’s happening!

  • Join us on Friday, June 7 from 5.30 – 7.30 p.m. at Tartu College for a special Community Engagement Session that will shine the spotlight on the IEC’s outdoor space. North Design Office will present their landscape design, which includes the rooftop garden. After the presentation, come over to 11 Madison to take a peek inside this heritage building that will form part of the Centre.

  • Check out our website – it is updated with all the latest news and information:

  • We’re always looking for new subscribers! Please sign up for our email newsletter on our website.

  • Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook: @EestiKeskus


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