Held on the weekend before the independence day, one hundred and fifty diplomats and other celebrants joined in regaling the Toronto Estonian community on the 91st anniversary of Estonian independence.
Moderated by Mr. Tõnu Tõsine, the first speaker, the Honourary Consul General, Mr. Laas Leivat, welcomed and spoke briefly of some of the trials of living beside the Russian bear. He stressed that, compared to other European countries, Estonia will probably survive better and recover faster the current economic crisis.
Next speaker was the President of the Estonian Central Council Mr. Avo Kittask who thanked and awarded medals of merit to those who had made a significant contribution to the community.
Then spoke the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of Public Safety, who drove in bad weather from a Conservative Party event in Niagara Falls to make the reception. Mr. Van Loan had been bestowed the highest honour from Estonia, awared by the President of Estonia, Mr. Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the Cross of Terra Marianna. Mr. Van Loan spoke about some of the greater dangers in the politics of the world. He touched on the problems of the cyber hi-jinx and the fears of countries living next to Russia as experienced by Georgia.
A Medal of Merit were presented to Chargé d'Affaires of Estonia in Ottawa, Mr. Rasmus Lumi, who is about to be re-assigned on his diplomatic posting. Mr. Enn Kiilaspea, who has spent a lifetime in Scouting service, is on the Editorial Board of Estonian Life and many other community activities received the Gold Medal of Merit for an exceptional contribution to the community.
The food was provided by Ülle Veltman and the entertainment was heavy blues played by Peeter Kopvillem,(senior editor at Maclean's magazine so he's not about to give up his day job) playing lead guitar, Raoul Langvee (manager of Estonian House) and Eric Soostar.
The 91st Estonian Independence Day Consular Reception