A special evening with President Karis

Update #159


A special evening for leadership donors to KESKUS


Flags in front of building
KESKUS leadership donors and supporters gathered with H.E. Mr. Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia

Leadership donors to KESKUS, whether they donated as families or as individuals, gathered at a special reception to meet with His Excellency Mr. Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia on November 22.

H. E. Mr. Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia

Walled in glass, the Terrace Room at the Gardiner Museum was light filled (rather what KESKUS will feel like) and the room buzzed with over 120 donors and guests.


“Thank you for your support of KESKUS” said President Karis in his remarks, noting the significance of the new Centre and expressing hope that donor support for the new centre would continue to be strong even after its opening ceremonies. President Karis mentioned that he has been tracking project progress since Ellen Valter, project lead, presented KESKUS plans to him in Tartu, Estonia, four years ago.


Veiko Parming, President of Estonian House in Toronto, presented President Karis with a memento from the Toronto Eesti Maja era: a (functioning) fire alarm bell that had been on the wall between the Crystal Hall and Gallery Hall in the Estonian House. It was mounted with a dedication plaque. President Karis gave the chain a tug and the bell rang out with a startlingly loud clang!



In turn, President Karis presented the KESKUS project with a special edition of the Estonian National Anthem.


Letter from Deputy Prime Minister



Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Minister of Finance, Hon. Chrystia Freeland sent her greetings noting the values that bind Canada and Estonia and how pleased she is that KESKUS will be in her riding, as “a showcase for the remarkable contributions that Estonians have made to Canada, and help share Estonian culture with the world.”







Man speaking at lectern
Hon. Todd Smith, Ontario's Minister of Energy



The Hon. Todd Smith, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, had recently returned from a visit to Estonia and drew attention to the small modular nuclear reactors project with which he is involved and with which he hopes Canada can support Estonia in gaining energy independence.











Woman standing at lectern
Toronto Ward 11 Councillor Dr. Dianne Saxe


Councillor Dr. Dianne Saxe, freshly in office representing Ward 11 at Toronto City Council highlighted that seldom do developments get the unconditional support of the surrounding community, and at how pleased she is that KESKUS is this very kind of exceptional project.






Lead donor Andy Prozes, in many ways the ‘godfather’ of the KESKUS project, affirmed his commitment to the project and noted how pleased his mother Salme had been, to learn of his contribution.


Though President Karis had a schedule change and had to leave early to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the buzz in the room did not ebb. Friendships were made and reinforced, delicious hors d’oeuvres continued to flow, and a koroona table (Estonian billiards) set up for the event attracted both veterans and novices.




The event was co-hosted by Estonian Arts Centre, the charity associated with KESKUS, and the Estonian Embassy in Ottawa. All photos by Kristina Laukkanen.



Watch a summary of the event here:





Help continue the journey, a home for our friendships, in KESKUS!


Please join the growing list of capital campaign donors to take KESKUS construction through to opening! The KESKUS International Estonian Centre’s donor categories are Kalevipoja laud for gifts over $100,000 (including naming rights for specific areas), Koidula gild, which is from $50,000-99,999, Viru vanemad for gifts of $10,000-$49,999, and Kungla rahvas for gifts up to $10,000.


To make a donation, please call +1.647.250.7136 or email donations@estoniancentre.ca. Donations may be made as a family gift, or in honour of an individual or family. All Canadian, Estonian and U.S. donations will be issued a tax receipt.KESKUS leadership donors are recognized here.


To follow the construction journey and for KESKUS updates: