Friday, 02 October 2020 19:00
Estonian Life No. 39 2020
As of September 1st, 2020, the shooting range which the Toronto Estonian Rifle and Pistol Club (TEPP) established and operated in the Eesti Maja attic level for more than 50 years has closed. Despite the public promises for a leaseback period of nearly 2 years after the sale of the Estonian House TEPP received a ‘Notice of Termination’ from the Estonian House Board on July 29th. The termination notice demanded TEPP to vacate the premises as of Sept 1st.
A few days later, Estonian House published an announcement in Eesti Elu to inform the public that ‘One change will happen faster than we could have expected. Namely, after the finalization of the sale, the new owner of the House has found, that the shooting range needs to be closed - a change that affects not only the gun club (TEPP), but others as well (e.g. scouts and guides), who have been users of the range.’
TEPP took the issue of the right of Eesti Maja to make this demand to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. After negotiations, the matter was settled out of court and TEPP agreed to vacate the premises, so as not to impede the closing of the sale of Eesti Maja.
The Eesti Maja range was only one of the two shooting ranges remaining in Toronto, operating under a ‘legal noncompliance’ clause, better known as ‘grandfathering’, after the city amended its bylaws to prohibit public shooting ranges within Toronto.
The Estonian House range was built by Estonian refugees, one of whom represented Canada in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome as reported in VABA EESTLANE, Saturday, December 7th, 1968 page 5, translated from Estonian. Rifle and Pistol Club FoundedShooting Range at the Toronto Estonian House will be ready for Christmas- Material cost $3000
On November 27th, the Estonian Shooting Friends Association held its last meeting at the Estonian House. Based on the Letters Patent issued by the provincial government of Ontario, the Toronto Estonian Rifle and Pistol Club will replace the previous organization and the Shooting Friends Association, having fulfilled its purpose, will disband according to the rules of the provincial government. The club is incorporated without share capital in the name of ten founding members.
The shooting range, which has been diligently under construction in the attic of the Estonian House for the past two years, is finished for now and should be fully ready for Christmas. According to Treasurer V. Kana, $3000.- has been spent on material. The labour has been free of charge - based on volunteers. If one were to add all the hours spent by the tradesmen, then these would be worth at least as much.
Founding members are: A. Tinits, V. Kana, V. Jaanpark, R. Marley, K. Trei, J. Roand, E. Gering, L. Lilleberg, M. Randla and F. Vaher.
In the late 90’s, substantial ventilation and shielding improvements to the range were completed to comply with new regulations set by the Chief Firearms Officer. With ongoing maintenance and upgrades, conversion to efficient all LED lighting was completed just a few years ago.
TEPP has taught countless Estonian guides and scouts in firearms safely and the demanding sport of target shooting, which remains an Olympic sport. In addition, TEPP has hosted many fraternities, sororities and other Toronto Estonian organizations at its range. The TEPP club and its members have won numerous awards in the shooting sports, competing in the Metro Toronto Pistol League and individual members have competed successfully at the provincial, national, international and Olympic level. Even though the Estonian House range has been closed, it does not mean that the Toronto Eesti Püssi ja Püstoliklubi is no longer active. Far from it. TEPP continues its activities, leasing range time at the Toronto Revolver Club every Sunday evening (subject to current COVID-19 rules). The Toronto Revolver Club is located at Gower Ave, which is a mere 15 min away from the Estonian House. It is near the intersection of Victoria Park and St Clair Avenue.
In addition, TEPP also manages an outdoor shooting range at Seedrioru. Many of you will remember this lasketiir from your childhood. That range was closed down in the 1990’s but TEPP renovated and reopened it with regulatory approval in 2019, and now organizes range activities there from the spring until late fall.
New members are always welcome and people interested in the shooting sports are invited to participate in all TEPP activities, whether at the Toronto Revolver Club or at Seedrioru.