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Eda Sepp: Estonian House Concerns and Future


In the Toronto Estonian community I am concerned about the political party-like orientation of the Boards of the 4 Organizations (Madisonites), which is notably autocratic and propagandist. If it did not bear on the future of the Toronto Estonian House and its survival, there would be no need to undertake writing an article, but in analyzing closely the Madisonites’ latest explanatory articles on “the state of affairs” and future vision, there comes to the fore an alarming one-sidedness and blurring of information. In addition, their political party-like presentations are often sprinkled with skilful disinformation. (Wikipedia: any government (or other) communication containing intentionally false and misleading material often combined selectively with true information which seeks to mislead and manipulate a mass audience. . .or public opinion). Examples of this could be seen in the last American election, although the concept and term “disinformation” as used today originated in Russia as early as the 1920’s. The foundation of a democratic society is an elected multi-party system, in which each has its own firm program, but the use of disinformation now often appears in inter-party scuffles and manoeuvring. This we experience in the media all the time. A free, investigative journalism and media, together with freedom of speech, are vital for the protection of democratic society.

In the Madisonites’ articles the claim is made that “extensive community discussions in different locations” have been organized and even “for several years”, along with “community consultations, where the majority of participants favoured the pooling of all available resources and moving in the direction of Tartu College”. This is not true. Discussions and consultations presuppose considering and listening to the other side and to different positions. A fundamental principle of democracy is Audiator et altera pars – “Listen also to the other side” (Prof. Karl Aun, founding meeting of “Altera” group, Toronto, January 1991). The Madisonites have not taken into consideration information from specialists which does not coincide with their propaganda. For example, the critical points of view of architect Guido Laikve, engineers Lembit Maimets and Toomas Saar, journalist Allan Meiusi and others which are contrary to the Madisonites’ and their propaganda, have been ignored. It is claimed that “the Estonian House is no longer sustainable financially”. This is not true, as experts whom the Madisonites disregard have all testified. We ask, then, is the old house at 11 Madison Avenue, which was built about the same time as Chester Public School in 1891, more sustainable? Ignored, too, have been points of view which express doubts about the suitability of the Madison project as the community’s only centre and about the consolidation of the entire Estonian society into one smaller building in a downtown location without parking. It is unfortunate that real consultations and discussions with the community did not take place already at the outset of the projects, where many options would have been considered, including building near Tartu College with a financial opportunity other than the sale of Estonian House.

It is written that Estonian society in Canada will shrink in the future anyway and so a much smaller house should be built now and the whole still vibrant community forcefully thrust into it. It is said that “sustainability” and a “more certain future” will be achieved that way. It is not understood that actually now, in so doing, the whole Toronto Estonian diaspora, while the community is still vibrant, will be artificially diminished in the name of that “future”. To be sure, there will always be a part of the Toronto Estonian society that assimilates, a part will disappear, but the homeland has been a continuous source of new members who have come here. It is our experience, too, that many middle –aged and young people have come to Estonian society looking for their roots. Many of them have visited the Estonian House store as the only open Estonian place where they can get information. Surely they too will need their familiar community. It does not pay to predict the future, it may bring many surprises. It is more useful to engage with the present.

The Madisonites’ authoritarian attempt to consolidate the community has created much bad feeling and dissonance in Estonian society. It is not true, as they claim, that most of the society favours “moving in the direction of Tartu College”. The vote in favour of the project was achieved with a very slim majority, only 10 votes. A two-thirds vote was required for the sale of Estonian House, but considering that the turnout this time was huge, the line stretched around Estonian House and many left. People could not wait longer. This is shown by the fact that the number of registered voters was greater than those who voted, and even in the blocs not all members were in favour of the sale of Estonian House. We can conclude that the Madisonites’ win was very narrow, or perhaps even non-existent, since the call for a recount was refused. The vigorous, authoritarian push and use of disinformation has created much disharmony and controversy in the society. We ask, in whose interest is the current dissonance and artificial diminishing of the Estonian diaspora?

For example, it is an outright lie, that there will be in the Madison building a great hall. The only hall with a stage the size of the hall in Estonian House is located in a schoolhouse to the south of the major traffic route of Bloor Street. According to the architect the largest hall in the Madison project is smaller than the middle Crystal Hall at Estonian House. There is no room there for a stage, even though it is a “flex space”. There is also no room for a piano, tables, chairs, electronic equipment and much else that requires storage space as different events take place. The so-called “flex space” means that there is no stable place for different events and storage. The interior walls can be changed and moved off every which way if necessary, but the outer walls still determine boundaries.

As for the absence of parking, of which there has been much talk in commentaries, there is now the substitute of a so-called “drop-off”. So toddlers can be left in the nursery while one drives around the neighbourhood looking for an available parking spot: “there are 206 parking spaces in the immediate vicinity of the centre. There are 30 underground parking spots and 32 in the parking lot directly to the east of 9 Madison Avenue”. Huron Street, to which there is a pedestrian thoroughfare under the large hall of the building, is located east of Madison Avenue, but it is not possible to get there directly by car. This means that there are no close parking opportunities and the closest parking spots are the same distance as the subway.

It is interesting that the thoroughfare from the front of the building to Huron Street (the front garden) has become a “beautiful outdoor space that can be enjoyed for special events and quiet contemplation”. The square is public and would surely appeal to panhandlers and street musicians. Curious, too, is the notion recently grafted upon the design of the building, “Estonian Nordic aesthetic”. What does this mean? I see the most resemblance to Alar Kongats’s student centre at Scarborough’s Centennial College which won a Governor General’s award in 2002. It is a low building with a protruding upper floor, the description of which includes a “transparent skin, shimmering surface” and inside the so-called “flex space”. But Nordic? I’d say, more International... The rules of disinformation allow for giving the public a so-called “half-truth”, where the important part is omitted.

Apparently it is not desirable to make public how much has been offered to the city for the parking lot. But what could be made public is how much the Estonian Credit Union will be asking for the building at 11 Madison Avenue. That amount “will be sold to the Estonian Centre Project”, which should be deducted from the money received from Estonian House. Even if prices fluctuate, it is still possible to add up what was paid for the building and how much it has cost so far, even standing empty and with subsequent renovation costs. It could be made known whether the bank wants to get back the exact amount of what the house has cost them or the house will be assessed by real estate specialists at the time of sale, when the amount may be much greater. The bank, as a participant in the Madison project, should make public to us its plans. Since these are connected with the sale of Estonian House, this should be of interest both to Estonian shareholders and to the entire Estonian society. And what about the Estonian Foundation of Canada’s buildings? It is written that the Foundation’s 3 properties “will be included in the site to enlarge the property footprint and make it more attractive for a new owner or developer”. Yet at the same time: “EFC will get back fair value for its properties”. What is fair value? EFC should specify how this will take place. How big is the mortgage loan, how much will be kept by EFC, and what will be added to the value of Estonian House in the project? Will the Foundation give or profit? And how much? Does the so-called “fair value” refer to actual costs or to “market price”? We ask, too, what will start happening at the 11 Madison Avenue building when it is tied to the new project? We know that demolition is prohibited. The new projected building requires the back yard of this house. That is in the plan. But what will be happening in the house itself, which was originally built as a residential building at the same time as Chester Public School?

It is written that “the two centres will remain separate” but “there will be opportunities for cost sharing, event synergies, collaboration and exploration of new ideas”. How will this take place? Who will own the new centre, especially when the bank wants its money back and it seems the financer is only Estonian House, not even the Foundation. Into which building will the bank go? In the project description it is made known, although there is “flex space” negotiations are underway with future tenants. It should be made public whether in the new building there is even enough room for the needs of the bank and whether this would be without parking a suitable location. Now there are rumours that Tartu College is holding for the bank its own restaurant’s rooms facing Bloor Street. If so, then Tartu College and not 9 Madison will start receiving the rent (“two centres will remain separate”). Tartu College now has a huge loan. Rent from the bank would surely be very much needed. There has not been enough money either for the planned museum building, which was designed long ago and would remain between the two buildings, but which has been announced in the neighbourhood together with the new project. How and by whom will it be managed? For sure the new building will lack the same restaurant opportunity with several kitchens that Estonian House has. A store, where Estonian books, films, records, and so forth are sold, is not envisioned. Also gone are the young people’s rooms, the hall with a stage, art gallery hall, and parking lot. Tartu College is a so-called “secure building” where the doors are locked so uninvited vagrants do not step in from the street. The doors there are open only for special events.

Another concern is the Madisonites’ authoritarian, anti-democratic tone. They lead (that word is used a lot). Will this happen the way of the Madisonites’ “consultations” and “discussions” where different positions are not heard and considered? It is written that the new centre will “bring services, community undertakings and organizations together in the same place, to serve the needs of the Estonian community now and in the future” and that “project managers and expert consultants are leading the process ... are verifying the cost”! That sounds already certain and also quite dictatorial. In an article dated 25.10.17 it is written “Consolidating our community under one banner [müts] is the basis of sustainability”. This “one banner” concerns me, as that is what dictators have always asserted. What banner is it? Assurances are made that the “project leaders” are discussing possibilities with the city and the architect and the community may “give an opinion” when the project is already complete, not have their say: “the Estonian community will be consulted as the plans evolve and the use of space is finalized”. This is making aware, not consulting, where a “solid vision” for the future of the community has already been shaped as is noted in the title.

We ask, then, who will have power over the new building? The question of power is significant, not a vague future question to be resolved by so-called “due diligence”. The sale of Estonian House is financing a part of the first phase. Without the money from Estonian House the Madison Avenue project, as it is planned, will not begin to be built. But from the sale of Estonian House is expected also power over the whole of a large Estonian community. That is as important as the money. In the article “Estonian Centre Update: a strong vision for the future of our community”, it is written: “Southern Ontario is home to one of the largest Estonian communities in the world outside Estonia ... [Estonian House] has for decades been for the Estonians of Southern Ontario the most important place”, but now “the new Estonian Centre will consolidate the largest Estonian community in Canada”. Power and the core of the society, which before were at Estonian House and united a large part of Estonians in the world, will then be concentrated in the new project and Estonian House as a competitor will no longer exist. That explains why it is written that the sale of Estonian House and consolidation in the direction of Tartu College has been planned already for years. Until now each of the buildings has had a distinctive role in the diaspora, which do not overlap. Now there is a will to destroy one, and to “consolidate” everything at Tartu College. This is a cause for serious concern. In a democracy it is difference and diversity that are important, and they create many different “centres” and together the diaspora. When the money is in hand, and Estonian House is sold, there perhaps will be no more need for the current leadership of Estonian House as the representative of the shareholders. In any case it seems they have had the least decision-making power. The interest lies elsewhere. In the financial world a firm’s vigorous, single-valued strong direction may be useful, but in a democratic society this is dangerous.

Personally I have nothing against the projected building on Madison Avenue. I find it an altogether fine building, but not at all suitable for the Estonian community as a replacement for Estonian House. This I have substantiated in my five articles. I am against the sale of Estonian House, because the consolidation of the society in whatever state would diminish the present diaspora in Toronto. I am categorically opposed to the forced squeezing of the community into a smaller place, for which the reason given is the future. It is certain that a dwindling will be achieved artificially, since the projected building cannot hold a large part of the society. The Madisonites’ propagandist declarations have not persuaded me otherwise. It is also no news that such an authoritarian, antidemocratic attempt at consolidation has created much bad feeling and dissonance in Toronto Estonian society. We ask again, in whose interest? An authoritarian “under one banner” Estonian diaspora is a cause of great concern to me. Furthermore, there is a danger, that if Estonian House is sold and there is not enough money for the whole planned project, which in light of present considerations is altogether likely, then we will be without our Estonian House nor will there be anything new to replace it.


Eda Sepp, Toronto
Translated by Alja Pirosok
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Kui palju kordi olen valesti öelnud poistele (nt hundudele nende juhina) või isegi mehele, et „Võ...

Tere / Hello / Bonjour Golfers!

Tere / Hello / Bonjour Golfers!

  DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES, the 14th Annual MES Golf Tournament has been rescheduled f...

Juhtkiri - ,,Me hoiame nõnda ühte….

Juhtkiri - ,,Me hoiame nõnda ühte….

….ja läheme läbi mere, mis tõuseb me vastu tige,“ ütleb Paul-Eerik Rummo. Sama sõnum kostis meile...

Estonian Centre Project Update - Estonia's Ministry of Culture held a well-attended conference in Tallinn on July 3, 2019 within esto2019 to discuss how to strengthen Estonia's footprint around the world.

Estonian Centre Project Update - Estonia's Ministry of Culture held a well-att…

  Estonia's Ministry of Culture held a well-attended conference in Tallinn on July 3, 2019 within esto2019 to discuss how ...

Eesti Keskuse Projekti Teated - Eesti Maja juhatuse liikme ja International Estonian Centre vabatahtliku abilise Eric Sehri sõnavõtt 7. juunil toimunud kokkusaamisel

Eesti Keskuse Projekti Teated - Eesti Maja juhatuse liikme ja International Es…

Mul on hea meel tervitada kõiki järjekordsel kogukonna teavituskoosolekul. Meil on põhjust põnevusega oodata meie külalise, No...

Eesti Keskuse Projekti Teated - Ottawa ja Montreali eestlased toetavad Eesti Keskuse projekti

Eesti Keskuse Projekti Teated - Ottawa ja Montreali eestlased toetavad Eesti K…

2. juunil said Ottawa ja Montreali Eesti Seltsid kokku tulevases Eesti saatkonna hoones Ottawas, tähistamaks Eesti lipu 135. a...

Estonian Centre Project Update - Remarks by Eric Sehr, Estonian House Board Member and International Estonian Centre Volunteer, at the June 7 Community Engagement Session

Estonian Centre Project Update - Remarks by Eric Sehr, Estonian House Board Me…

One of the reasons we should be excited is that the square we are developing goes to the very heart of building a community. I...

Kliki teemadele ja loe lisaks: Uudised - Sündmused - Eesti sündmused

FOTOD - TORONTO EESTI BAPTISTI KOGUDUSE 70. JUUBELI TÄNUJUMALATEENISTUS

FOTOD - TORONTO EESTI BAPTISTI KOGUDUSE …

Pühapäeval, 25. augustil 2019.a toimus TORONTO EESTI BAPTISTI KOGUDUSE 70. JUUBELI TÄNUJUMALATEEN...

BALTI APELL 40 – BALTI KETT 30

BALTI APELL 40 – BALTI KETT 30

Täna möödub kolm aastakümmet päevast, mil Hitleri ja Stalini ohvriks langenud Balti riigid üllata...

Learn to speak Estonian – classes for adults

Learn to speak Estonian – classes for ad…

Starting Tuesday, September 10th, from 7-9:10 pm, BEGINNER and THIRD YEAR classes for adults to l...

Kotkajärvel lõppes Põhjarada gaidide laager *Linnutee* ja Põhjakotka skautide laager *Laager 101*

Kotkajärvel lõppes Põhjarada gaidide laa…

Pühapäeval, 18. augustil 2019.a Kotkajärvel lõppes Põhjarada gaidide laager ,,Linnutee“. Päev var...

Kuidas Kungla tantsupeol käis

Kuidas Kungla tantsupeol käis

Esimene tantsupeo proov algas meie liigijuhi Rauno Zubko sõnadega: ,,Oleme siin, et pidu ja tants...

Ruby Sõrra tuli rannavolles Kanada meistriks

Ruby Sõrra tuli rannavolles Kanada meist…

Kanada Rannavolle meistrivõistlustel teenis Ruby Sõrra koos mängupartneri Emma Glagau’ga kuldmeda...

Petserimaa Vabadussammas otsib toetajaid

Petserimaa Vabadussammas otsib toetajaid

Eesti Vabadussammaste taastamise kõrglaine on jäänud minevikku, aga mõnigi võlg Eesti Vabadussõja...

FOTOD - "Warriors' Day Parade" Canadian National Exhibition'is 2019

FOTOD - "Warriors' Day Parade"…

Laupäeval, 17. augustil 2019.a toimus Canadian National Exhibition'is 98. "Warriors' Day Parade"....

PHOTO GALLERY - Port Credit Buskerfest Fire Show 2019

PHOTO GALLERY - Port Credit Buskerfest F…

Friday August 16, 2019 featuring Incendia Modus from Quebec and Zap Circus from Australia.

Black Ribbon Day - Commemoration in Ottawa

Black Ribbon Day - Commemoration in Otta…

Press Release  August 22, 2019Wellington Building, 180 Wellington Street, Room 430 Programm...

SUUR FOTOGALERII - 52. Metsaülikooli nädala teise poole ülevaade

SUUR FOTOGALERII - 52. Metsaülikooli näd…

Metsaülikool jätkus pärast teisipäeva õhtul toimunud vägevat Retro Rokk pidu kolmapäeval ajakirja...

Gaidlipkond Põhjarada laagris Kotkajärvel 2019

Gaidlipkond Põhjarada laagris Kotkajärve…

  Pühapäeval, 11. augustil 2019.a avati Kotkajärvel lipkonna Põhjarada esimene lipkonnalaager...

Pahupidi pööratud plahvatus

Pahupidi pööratud plahvatus

  Eks me kõik ole kuulnud, kuidas kuritegevus aina kasvab ja areneb, mõnel pool mõnel ajal la...

Perceptions of a newcomer to Kotkajärve Metsaülikool

Perceptions of a newcomer to Kotkajärve …

Sirje Kiin, my wife, has been attending Kotkajärve for quite a few years, so I have heard many good...

Vancouver folkdance group "Kilplased" performed at the recent Song and Dance Festival in Tallinn

Vancouver folkdance group "Kilplase…

Eight pairs of dancers from the Vancouver folkdance group "Kilplased" performed at the recent Son...

Matthias Kask võistles edukalt Eesti meistrivõistlustel

Matthias Kask võistles edukalt Eesti mei…

Torontost pärit Matthias Uwe Kask võitis Kadriorus peetud hiljutistel Eesti meistrivõistlustel te...

Kaugel läänes

Kaugel läänes

Eestlaste üritused olid tõepoolest globaalsed möödunud suvel. Seda nimetust kindlustas LEP või (P...

FOTOD - Jõekääru Kalevi VÕRKPALLILAAGER 2019

FOTOD - Jõekääru Kalevi VÕRKPALLILAAGER …

Laupäevast, 3. augustist kuni laupäeva,  10. augustini 2019.a toimub Udoras,  Jõek...

Kliki teemadele ja loe lisaks: Elu - Arvamus - Kommentaar - Juhtkiri

MRP effects today

MRP effects today

Eighty years ago on August 23 Stalin and Hitler signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, agre...

Juku Gold: Estonia as an international cybersecurity leader

Juku Gold: Estonia as an international c…

Juku Gold is a research assistant at Citizen Lab, and a 2019 visiting fellow at The Hagu...

Juhtkiri - Balti apell, tähelepanu ärataja 40 aastat tagasi

Juhtkiri - Balti apell, tähelepanu ärata…

  Üks olulisem innustaja Baltimaade pagulasi korraldama oma okupeeritud kodumaa oluk...

BALTI APELL, BALTI KETT KUI IME JA TULEVIKU KOOSTÖÖ MÕÕT

BALTI APELL, BALTI KETT KUI IME JA TULEV…

20. august 2019 läheb ajalukku Kadriorus peetud Eesti presidendi kõnega, kus vähemalt me...

Marcus Kolga: Canada and the threat of European populism

Marcus Kolga: Canada and the threat of E…

Modern European populism is a predatory scheme that is rooted in the raw exploitation of...

Toomas Hendrik Ilves: Me seisame kahe riigi väraval

Toomas Hendrik Ilves: Me seisame kahe ri…

Saatuse, kurjuse ja ka omaenda vigade tõttu tähistame kahte iseseisvuspäeva. Üks, 24. ve...

Juhtkiri - Kes on õige eestlane?

Juhtkiri - Kes on õige eestlane?

Kas see on õige eestlane, kes arvab, et sinine, must ja valge on kõige lahedamad värvid,...

MRP collusion between the Soviets and Nazis, sinister facts the Kremlin cannot reveal

MRP collusion between the Soviets and Na…

It’s been 80 years since the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 23, 1939 was signed betwe...

ÄPARDUNUKS POSITUD VÄLISPOLIITIKA

ÄPARDUNUKS POSITUD VÄLISPOLIITIKA

Valitsuse pressikonverentsil 25.07.19 ütles peaminis-ter Jüri Ratas:„Kui räägime Eesti v...

Käesolev veebileht on Eesti Elu paberlehe tellijate toetatud, toeta sinagi ja telli leht juba täna:)

 

Vabamu avas Telliskivi Loomelinnaku seni avastamata ajakoridoris näituse *Balti kett 30. Üks ajalugu, kaks miljonit lugu*

Vabamu avas Telliskivi Loomelinnaku seni…

23. augustil 2019.a, täpselt 30 aastat pärast ajaloolist sündmust avab okupatsioonide ja...

‘30th Anniversary of the Baltic Way: One History, Two Million Stories’ exhibition to open today in Telliskivi Creative City

‘30th Anniversary of the Baltic Way: One…

Today, 23 August 2019, Vabamu will be opening an exhibition dedicated to the 30th annive...

Laulvat revolutsiooni esitletakse New Yorgi publikule

Laulvat revolutsiooni esitletakse New Yo…

Eesti laulval revolutsioonil põhinev Broadway muusikal, valmimas Broadway veteran Tony S...

Ene Mihkelsoni saladus

Ene Mihkelsoni saladus

Vähe on saladusi, mis igavesti saladuseks jäävad. Mis jäävad, nende puhul hakatakse harili...

Uudiseid Petserimaalt

Uudiseid Petserimaalt

  Juurdunud tava kohaselt tähistavad Petserimaa eestlased juba aastaid lõikuskuu esi...

Learn Estonian for Both Credit and Enjoyment!

Learn Estonian for Both Credit and Enjoy…

After another successful year and with growing popularity, the University of Toronto is ...

Väliseesti näituste festival sai Eestis hoo sisse

Väliseesti näituste festival sai Eestis …

2019. a suvel toimunud ESTO festival, juubelilaulupidu ning eesseisev suurpõgenemise 75....

KUNSTNIK KAI KALJO RESIDEERUB 2019. AASTA OKTOOBRIS HAMILTONI ARTS COUNCIL’I KUNSTNIKE VAHETUSPROGRAMMI RAAMES COTTON FACTORY’S

KUNSTNIK KAI KALJO RESIDEERUB 2019. AAST…

Tallinn, EESTI – 10 Juuli 2019 – Rahvusvaheliselt tuntud video- ja visuaalkunstnik K...

BaltHerNeti IX suvekool toimus ESTO hõlmas

BaltHerNeti IX suvekool toimus ESTO hõlm…

Kuna tänavu suvel toimus Soomes ja Eestis ESTO festival, sai väliseesti kultuuripärandig...


Eesti Elu Tellimine

  
Telli Eesti Elu ja toeta Eesti
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Tellimine Kanadas:

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Veerandaasta - $43
Teised tellimise võimalused siit!

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 Eesti Elu üksiknumbrid
on müügil Torontos:

 

  • Eesti Elu kontoris (3 Madison Ave. / 310 Bloor St. W.)
  • Eesti Maja kontor (958 Broadview Ave)
  • Leaside Pharmacy's (Suomi Koti juures) 795 Eglinton Ave. E.

  

Telli leht siit!

 

 
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saada lugu või vihje!

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Portland - LEP 2019


Eesti Elu Tellimine

  
Telli Eesti Elu ja toeta Eesti
kogukonna ajalehte Kanadas!


Tellimine Kanadas:

Aasta - $150
Poolaasta - $80
Veerandaasta - $43
Teised tellimise võimalused siit!

Maksta saab:
• Sularahas või pangatšekiga
EESTI ELU kontoris
Pangaülekandega
Toronto Eesti Ühispangas 
kohapeal või telefoni teel
(Tel: 416-465-4659)
EESTI ELU arvele
Pangatšeki või rahakaardiga
EESTI ELU nimele
Interac e-Transfer® vahendusel
See e-posti aadress on spämmirobotite eest kaitstud. Selle nägemiseks peab su veebilehitsejas olema JavaSkript sisse lülitatud. aadressile
PayPal/Credit Card

Eesti Elu - 3 Madison Ave., Toronto, ON M5R 2S2 - Ajalehe Tellimine - Kuulutuste tellimine - Tel: 416-733-4550 - Fax: 416-733-0944 - e-mail: See e-posti aadress on spämmirobotite eest kaitstud. Selle nägemiseks peab su veebilehitsejas olema JavaSkript sisse lülitatud.
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