On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Estonian Independence, The Estonian Central Council in Canada honoured volunteers, friends and supports who have made exceptional, positive, contributions to the Estonian community in Canada.
At an event attended by over 1000 Toronto Estonians and their friends at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square, outside of City Hall, four individuals received the Estonian-Canadian community’s medal of honour.
In attendance to receive her award was Senator Raynell Andreychuk, who has been a long time friend and supporter of the Estonia and the community in Canada. Minister Chrystia Freeland, who was on a state visit to India with Prime Minister in Ottawa, was also named as a recipient.
“The Estonian community in Canada is thankful for the open door that Senator Andreychuk has always offered for our communities, and specifically for organizing and hosting countless Baltic Nights on Parliament Hill”, said Council President, Marcus Kolga. “Most recently, the Senator took the legislative lead in introducing and unanimously passing Canada’s global human rights Magnitsky law this past October.”
President of the Latvian Federation in Canada, The Baltic Federation and the Central and Eastern European Council in Canada, Andris Kesteris and former Lithuanian Community in Canada President, Joana Kuras received the community’s thanks as well.
Kairi Hemingway, a life long community volunteer with the Estonian Guide movement, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and the Estonian Relief Committee was honoured for her volunteerism along with Jaan Kruus who has for decades participated in the gathering of hundreds of Estonian-Canadian oral histories.
Vancouver Estonian community members, Alar Suurkask and Leo Allas were honoured at the Vancouver 100 ceremonies on Saturday for their years of commitment and volunteerism.
Beloved Toronto maestro, Charles Kipper, who led multiple community choirs, including our Estonian School choirs who performed at Estonia’s song festival, was recognized for his decades of service. His award was presented at a memorial service earlier.