In the event you are a reader of Eesti Elu, you will know that the proposed projects (described below) connected with the Estonian Centre and Tartu College are not without controversy. I have not been following the story closely, but have been reading articles in Eesti Elu that are of interest. Among other things, among the topics under discussion, at the Eesti Elu newspaper, are the organizing capabilities of the Annex Residents’ Association and the fate of a former Tibetan Buddhist temple building next door to Tartu College. I don’t know where to start, with regard to following the opposing views associated with a story that I’m aware has been evolving for many years.
An April 27, 2017 ERR (the English-language online portal of Estonian Public Broadcasting) article is entitled: “Toronto Estonian House shareholders vote in favor of new Estonian center.”
An excerpt from the above-noted article reads:
“The resolution presented to TEM [Toronto Estonian House: Toronto Eesti Maja] shareholders involved a proposal by the boards of three major community organizations — the Estonian Credit Union (ECU), the Estonian Foundation of Canada (EFC) and Tartu College (TC) — to develop a new Estonian cultural center adjacent to the existing Tartu College on Madison Avenue, thus providing a new centralized home for the Estonian community in Toronto.
“The resolution stressed that the project would only be viable with the sale of the current Estonian House property on Broadview, but that a final decision would not be made on the sale of the current facility unless and until the Madison Avenue proposal was deemed to be economically viable, which is to be determined in the upcoming due diligence process.”
A public meeting will take place at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 regarding the possibility of building an Estonian Centre at Tartu College in Toronto.
The building would be constructed where a parking lot is currently located near Tartu College at Bloor St. West and Madison Ave.
The meeting, which will take place at the Estonian House on Broadview Ave. just north of Danforth Ave., will discuss the proposed next step for the Estonian community in Toronto and Ontario.
The text from the above-noted link reads:
March 6, 2017. The Boards of Directors of the Estonian House of Toronto, Estonian Credit Union, Estonian Foundation of Canada, and Tartu College, are pleased to share with you a positive development for a new Estonian community centre in the Greater Toronto Area.
Estonian Credit Union, Estonian Foundation of Canada, and Tartu College have together entered into a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Build Toronto, the City of Toronto corporation responsible for selling surplus municipal property, to buy the parking lot at 9 Madison Avenue.
This milestone is a huge accomplishment for our small community and presents for us a very real opportunity to contribute to the fabric of our city and the sustainability of our community.
We now have a window to build a signature community facility on Madison Avenue. This property is located between Tartu College to the south, and 11 Madison Avenue, owned by Estonian Credit Union, to the north.
Reaching this LOI agreement has required considerable negotiation, planning and work to ensure that our community had a viable option should development at 958 Broadview not be able to proceed.
This Madison opportunity is complex. It is only viable through the sale of the existing Estonian House property and using the proceeds to finance the new community and cultural centre.
As this new development proceeds, Estonian Credit Union, Estonian Foundation of Canada and Tartu College will support the Estonian House as it continues to serve the community until the new space is ready and firm transition plans are in place.
The Estonian House Board views the LOI as a step forward to a financially and logistically workable solution for a new community and cultural centre. We fully support the Madison opportunity and look forward to recommending this to our shareholders. We hope to make the transition to consolidate a smooth one.
During the coming months, the Estonian House Board, along with the other Boards of Directors, will inform and engage with the broader community and the Estonian House shareholders. We are grateful to all organizations and community groups who help keep the building looking fresh and useable as we will need our current space for a few years yet.
All four organizations are mindful that Toronto and the southern Ontario area is home to the largest number of Estonians living outside of Estonia. Our institutions allowed generations of Estonians to come together as a community, to celebrate our heritage and to share our culture with Canadians. We are committed to ensuring sustainable community space for our future generations.
Much work remains to be done. The Estonian House, Estonian Credit Union, Estonian Foundation of Canada, and Tartu College, are unanimous in their commitment to work together. Together, our community can secure a viable space to provide for our needs, to showcase our culture, and of which we can all be proud.
There will be a town hall meeting on March 29, 2017 at 7:00 pm in the Grand Hall at the Estonian House in Toronto, for the community to learn more about what this project needs to become a reality.
There are many questions to be resolved and we are committed to finding the solutions to make this work for the community. To see the vision: www.estoniancentre.ca
The Boards of Directors: Estonian House in Toronto Ltd; Estonian (Toronto) Credit Union Limited; Estonian Foundation of Canada; Tartu College
We have a window to build a signature Estonian Community Centre in Toronto. Join the discussion and help make the opportunity a reality.
Estonian Community Town Hall
March 29, 2017 Grand Hall at the Estonian House in Toronto