Commentary by Jaak Järve, Estonian House shareholer
“If I agree to dispose of any part of our land to the white people I would feel guilty of taking food away from our children’s mouths, and I do not wish to be that mean.” Sitting Bull
The Estonian House in Toronto has recently been designated as a heritage property due to the original Chester Public School being built in 1890. This school house became the Estonian House in the early 1960’s for the displaced Estonians who were forced to leave their homes after the second world war. In 1962 a single story addition was added. In 1975, a four story addition was added and in 1995, a two story elevator was added.
The current Estonian House board of directors along with the board members from the Estonian Credit Union, the Estonian Foundation of Canada and Tartu College have taken it upon themselves to sell the Estonian House and move the entire Estonian Community to a high-traffic downtown yet-to-be built site adjacent to Tartu College at Bloor and Madison Avenues. This is very similar to what happened to the North American Indians when their promised reservation lands were stolen from them by the US government and sold to white settlers and prospectors.
The Toronto Estonian House has been the meeting place and home for the Estonian diaspora community for over 6 decades, It has been purchased, renovated and used by the grandparents and parents of today’s Estonian community to preserve the culture and heritage of another small tribe of nature-loving people known as Estonians. Estonians by nature are a stubborn, proud people. They are hard-working and historically are tied very closely to nature and working off the land. In fact Estonians worship nature. Saunas, smoked fish and cottage life make Estonians happy.
In recent articles by the pro-Madison project leaders, they have repeatedly mentioned that the Estonian community is behind this relocation. This is a lie. The individual shareholders are not in favour of this Madison project. They are in fact very opposed to it.
The Estonian House is not owned by the Estonian Credit Union (even though they have a block of 700 gifted shareholder votes). The Estonian House is not owned by the Estonian Foundation of Canada (even though they own three houses next door to the Estonian house.) The Estonian House is owned by Estonian community individuals, you and me for the preservation of our language, culture and heritage.
These board members from these 4 orgs (not Orcs) have decided to cash out of the large footprint on Broadview and relocate to a smaller glass and concrete footprint in downtown Toronto. This is in direct conflict to all nature loving Estonians. We are blessed to live in the red man’s land known as Canada. We are blessed to have the freedom to carry on our own tribal language, music and traditions. Do not sell out our own precious Estonian heritage home in favour of a cosmopolitan Estonian monument.
“When the last tree is cut, the last river poisoned and the last fish dead, we will discover that we can’t eat money.”
Jaak Järve, Estonian House shareholder