On February 26, 2012, the Montreal Estonian community came together to celebrate the 94th anniversary of Estonian independence. A church service conducted by Pastor Kyllikki Pitts was followed by a luncheon and entertaining program in the church hall. The joint collaboration between the Montreal Estonian Society and St. John’s Estonian Ev. Lutheran Church drew approximately 60 people, making this event one of the best-attended in recent memory.
Church Council president Anne Altosaar began the festivities with a warm welcome to all in attendance. She congratulated Innar & Hilja Teose who recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and flowers were presented to the couple who have long been an integral part of our community. After a short prayer, a tasty lunch was served, prepared by the Ladies Church Auxiliary. The thanks of all those present go to these women who have been feeding us so well for so many years!
The program began with a poetry reading by Hille Viires. With drama and flair, she brought to life the Bernard Kangro poem, “Minu Nägu” (My Face). Karl J. Raudsepp, president of the MES, presented greetings from the honorary consuls of Latvia and Lithuania as well as the Estonian Honorary Consul in Montreal, Maurice Forget.
He then introduced the guest speaker, Vaado Sarapuu, editor of the of the recently established internet news site, Estonian World Review. A videographer, film maker and producer, Mr. Sarapuu was born in Estonia and came to Canada in 1993 where he currently resides in Toronto. He discussed the Estonian World Review from its inception in 2001 as part of EestiElu to the new format that it has become today. He emphasized the power of the internet to reach a vast audience – as is evidenced by the 25,000 distinct computers from nearly 125 countries which regularly visit the EWR. Notably, the original website was one of the first Estonian news websites to publish video material and to date has an archive of over 750 hours of video files. Mr. Sarapuu pointed out, with well-justified pride, that the Estonian World Review has been able to bring Estonia to the world without compromising the integrity of its journalism. Tiiu Pōldma conveyed everyone’s heartfelt thanks to Mr. Sarapuu for a most informative and interesting talk.
The gathering ended on a high note with a piano performance by the new church organist and professional musician Kara-Lis Coverdale. A lively medley of Estonian folk tunes was followed by three pieces composed by Kara-Lis herself. Closing remarks by Innar Teose concluded a very successful and convivial gathering.
Estonian Independence Day Celebrations in Montreal