Estonian Foundation’s Gala glitters, sparkles and delights!
With all available seats at Toronto’s elegant Palais Royale Ballroom filled on Saturday May 15, the Estonian Foundation of Canada’s 2010 Fund-Raising Gala was a great success. With almost 175 guests in attendance, familiar faces included many community leaders, active community participants and stalwart supporters of the Estonian cause. Notable attendees included Minister of International Trade Mr. Peter Van Loan and Charge d'Affaires of the Estonian Embassy in Ottawa Mr. Riho Kruuv.
The evening kicked off with an intimate welcome reception and cocktail hour, which enabled guests to mingle, enjoy the gorgeous venue and get their pictures taken by the evening’s photographer. Each guest received a framed photo to take home, as a memento of this very special evening, courtesy of the Estonian Foundation of Canada. Gala guests, ranging from young to old came together to celebrate this important fundraising occasion for the Estonian community in Canada. Special thanks were afforded AKEN, for their kind sponsorship of the welcome reception.
EFC Board member Dr. Peeter Põldre, the MC for the evening, thanked the Toronto Estonian House for their sponsorship of the evening’s programme booklet and guest parking, and drew attention to cherry-blossom centerpieces on each table, crafted and sponsored by Kristina Sermat of The Colour Field.
Charge d'Affaires Mr. Riho Kruuv shared greetings from the President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and from the Estonian Embassy in Ottawa, in support of the EFC fundraising evening. Next, EFC President Lia Hess welcomed the guests, gave an overview of the Foundation’s recent accomplishments and her vision for the future of our community.
Recently re-born KUNGLA Folk Dance Group energetically perfortmed four dances that lifted the mood of the room and attested to how funds raised at the Gala are put to effective use.
Following dinner, Kyllike Sillaste-Elling, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Estonia in Washington and keynote speaker, stated that the EFC shares many of her beliefs and principles. She also spoke about growing up in Canada and what “Estonianism” means to her and the community. The full text of Ms. Sillaste-Elling’s remarks was presented in the previous issue of Eesti Elu.
At the conclusion of the remarks, Dr. Põldre presented Kyllike Sillaste-Elling with a small token of thanks for her insightful remarks and he also thanked the Toronto Estonian Credit Union for their very generous sponsorship of the keynote speaker.
Finally Gala guests took to the dance floor as the band “Saturday Night Jive” filled the hall with their danceable sound. The Foundation acknowledged Heinsoo Insurance Brokers for their sponsorship of the dance band. The band played from their diverse repertoire and their sense of fun was contagious amongst all.
While enjoying the smooth band sounds, guests meandered through the Silent Auction area, carefully bidding on their favorite items – including a Tallink cruise, Golf foursomes, a Suvihari enjoyment package, a JK Jazz gift basket, wines, hand-crafted jewelry, Timmas & Saarniit artworks, theatre tickets, ballroom dance lessons, concert tickets, and many other items, all donated by local businesses, community members and other kind supporters of Estonian-Canadian cultural and heritage activities.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors thanked all Sponsors, Silent Auction donors, EFC Staff and Volunteers, without whom the Gala would not have succeeded. Well done EFC! When and where will the next Gala take place?
A Night to Remember