Aleksa Gold is an Estonian-Canadian university student who received a 2020 EFC Scholarship with funding from the new Martin & Heljo Mäeks Fund. Aleksa has attended Toronto Estonian Schools, been active in Guides and attended Jõekääru and Kotkajärve camps. Currently, she is in 3rd year Biology at the University of Toronto. Aleksa is also an elite athlete, swimming for the Estonian National team at the World and European Championships. In February 2021, Aleksa set a new Estonian record for 200m backstroke, meeting the Olympic Selection Criteria for the Tokyo Olympics, where she hopes to represent Estonia.
On being Estonian
Being Estonian has given me a lot, it has enriched my life and opened many doors for me. Being Estonian has taught me the importance of community…. Being Estonian means that I have a unique history and experiences. I have had the pleasure of growing up in an environment that teaches children about valuing traditions and culture, and amongst a community that supports its youth.
I consider myself very lucky that, although living in a large country with many different cultures, our Estonian community has remained strong and worked hard on keeping us close to Estonia. The sense of being Estonian gives me a unique identity in our country and in this globalized world, where it is increasingly difficult to have a sense of belonging and community.
Estonian Foundation of Canada (EFC) is a charitable organization with a goal to support Estonians in Canada and to promote the Estonian language, culture, traditions and heritage initiatives through the Estonian community in Canada. This makes it their mission to preserve and promote Estonian culture in Canada.
EFC is important for the community as it ensures an Estonian future in Canada… In a country as large as Canada, it is important to stay connected to our heritage and our community so that the future generations may benefit from the same programs and ensure that our traditions are passed on. EFC is very important and necessary if we want to continue a strong Estonian connection and community in Canada for years to come.