I'm Robbie Preston, of the Kawartha Field Naturalists, based in Fenelon Falls, Ontario. I sit as the Director - Infrastructure- Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Reserve (AWSNR).
Our club acts as land stewards for two large nature reserves owned by Ontario Nature (ON), formerly known as Federation of Ontario Naturalists (FON), both of which were donated by Rudolf Altberg in his will, after his death on June 7, 1982. Both reserves bear his name, as he requested in his will, dated December 11, 1978. Title transfer of the reserve properties to FON took place May 7,1984.
We are attempting to put together a biography of Rudolf Altberg to put on our website www.kawarthafieldnaturalists.o... , but no one or organization that we are associated with seems to know anything about him, or his life in Canada.
We do know, from information received from relatives in Estonia, that he was born in Läänemaa County in Estonia, June 21, 1906. He passed away while in Florida, on Jan 6, 1982. At this time, it appears that he immigrated to Canada in 1944 or later, after a short stay in Sweden, to avoid the effect of life in his homeland at the end of the Second World War. He had a brother Karl who we know immigrated to the USA in 1924.
We know that he owned at least two companies in Estonia prior to departing for Sweden. He founded his own bus company, with a bus line from Lihula to Haapsalu, later to Pärnu, too. Also he built a mill in Karuse together with a man whose name was Schröder. While in Sweden he had owned workshop of metal works. In Canada his company made winches for ships.
He was the owner of Altberg Machine Company at 164 Merton St. Toronto.
His first wife, who immigrated with him, we now know was called Martha (née Kaasik). She passed away in 1967. At the time of his death, he left part of his estate to his second wife Bernice, who lived at 135 Highland Crescent in North York (Toronto). At this time, we do not know her maiden name or any information on her. We know that he had no children by either marriage.
In his will he listed a friend, A. Ray Oliver, Professional Engineer, who resided at 84 Gerald Street Willowdale (Toronto) as one of the executors and trustees of his estate.
At the time of his bequest, FON owned seven nature reserve properties, so when it accepted ownership of the AWSNR a 250 acre parcel, and the Altberg Wetland at 100 acres, those properties represented the eighth and ninth reserves and almost doubled their total acreage holdings to 752 acres. The AWSNR has since grown to a total of 1163 acres, through additional property gifts and acquisitions.
His other bequests were to the Ontario Humane Society, Toronto Humane Society and the International Fund Animal Welfare Inc. Box 1000 Fredericton, New Brunswick
We wish we might learn more about our benefactor.
I'm hoping that perhaps you are a relative of some connection, a past friend, had a connection of some sort or maybe you had a business connection, or you somehow can help us know more of the man and his time in Canada. The why is for his great love for nature and his wish to protect it for nature first and for nature lovers to enjoy, to study, but leave for nature only to change it with time.
Maybe you knew of his company or may have other organizational ties that could help locate other information.
If you are able to help me in any way, or lead me to someone who can help me to put together a bio of Rudolf Altberg’s life and times in Canada, I would be most grateful for your assistance in my quest.
Kawartha Field Naturalists
Director -Infrastructure- Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Reserve
611 Rogers St. Unit 28
Are you a relative or a friend with knowledge of the late Rudolf Altberg of Toronto, Ont.?