All with Estonian roots and connections will feel welcome at KESKUS
Taimi has always been devoted to helping build the Estonian community. “Growing up, I spent four out of seven days a week in Estonian activities,” she laughs, “summers were at Estonian camps. Being Estonian defined who I am, and I’d have it no other way!”
As Donations Manager for Estonian Arts Centre (EAC), Taimi is the first point of contact for donors who approach KESKUS via the website. She facilitates EAC donations including the tax-advantageous gifts of securities, ensures all gift agreements are in place and that receipts are issued and donations tracked.
Her contribution to the KESKUS project took a special and emotional turn during the “Tere, KESKUS” fund-raising campaign in June 2021.
“Finding out I was pregnant during this intense 3-day campaign brought it all home for me,” Taimi said. “It’s just so important to realize that we are building this Centre for our kids.”
Taimi’s second daughter Kaja Sidney with husband Sean Hooper was born on February 21, which also happened to be Family Day holiday in Ontario. Daughter Maali Elsa is six and proving to be a wonderful big sister, Taimi reports. Kaja’s middle name is in honor of her great-grandfather Sidney Hooper and Maali’s is for her great-grandmother Elsa Lindre.
Taimi’s parents are Katrin (Kati) Marley and Toomas Marley of Toronto and her grandparents were the late Roman and Leida Marley, and Bruno and Elsa Lindre. She has two brothers, Allan and Paul. Paul has been living in Estonia since 2011 and Allan lives in Ontario.
It’s important that we each give to the best of our ability
“The project is so grateful for every donation – whether it’s a couple of dollars from a piggy bank to the hundreds of thousands of dollars and even millions that other donors have contributed. It’s important that we each give to the best of our ability.”
(The piggy bank example arose during the “Tere, KESKUS” campaign: two enthusiastic young brothers Markus, 7 and Felix, 4, of Toronto donated $2 and $1 respectively from their personal finances.)
Taimi said the public fund-raising campaign was an exciting time, with close to $3 million raised in just three days.
“Estonians and friends of Estonians really came through, and donations poured in from all over the world. It was just incredible, everyone said how excited they are about the project, and watching the campaign reach and then surpass the fundraising goal.”
“And now, with what is happening in the world, we again realize how fragile freedom can be and how it can be threatened and even taken away so suddenly,” she said. “I hope that we are able to help bring people together and unify our community even more, so that we can ensure its longevity.”
The whole family is getting involved with KESKUS
Taimi is also principal at Porch Light Media, an event planning company based in Cambridge, Ontario. Sean is very much involved in the Estonian community as well, and helped set up a time-lapse video of the KESKUS construction journey that will be posted to the KESKUS website from time to time. Sean’s company Carbon Arc Projects provides video support for virtual events and large scale video production management.
All things Estonian continue to flow in Taimi’s blood. In addition to managing the Estonian Arts Centre donations she is on the board of, and is an instructor with, the folk-dancing group Kungla in Toronto. Paused due to the pandemic, the group hopes to resume dancing this fall.
Maali will go to Estonian school and is signed up to join “hellakesed” (Brownies) next year.
“She has already said she would like to become an Estonian language teacher!” Taimi said.
Taimi notes that it’s important that all those with Estonian roots and connections will feel welcome at KESKUS, saying “just because someone doesn’t speak the language doesn’t mean they can’t be involved and proud of their heritage.”
“KESKUS will be just that – a place that brings us together and gives us a modern building that is purpose built for us, for this day and age.”
All KESKUS valued donors make a critical difference
Join the growing list of capital campaign donors! KESKUS International Estonian Centre’s donor categories are Kalevipoja Laud for gifts of $100,000 and above (including naming rights for specific areas), Viru Vanemad for gifts of $10,000 and above, and Kungla Rahvas for gifts under $10,000. KESKUS generous donors are listed on the KESKUS website.
To make a donation, please call +1.647.250.7136 or email See e-posti aadress on spämmirobotite eest kaitstud. Selle nägemiseks peab su veebilehitsejas olema JavaSkript sisse lülitatud.. Donations may be made as a family gift, or in honour of an individual or family. All donations will be issued a tax receipt.
Let's stay connected...
Calling all Estonians from every corner of the world to get on board
The Ruberg and Patterson families have a heartfelt message to all far-flung Estonians: it is more important than ever to pull together and create a hub where we can connect and celebrate.
“We encourage everyone with even a drop of Estonian blood to step forward and support KESKUS,” said Ruth Patterson (Merits). “Especially now, Estonia is threatened, and we need to support this fantastic effort to keep the community together and strong.”
Ruth, a retired speech language pathologist, and her physician husband Andy Patterson live in Stouffville, Ontario. Her sister Ingrid and husband Kalev Ruberg call Whistler and West Vancouver, B.C. home.
Their Viru Vanemad donation is in memory of their parents Naani and Raoul Merits, and Endel and Aliise Ruberg.
A strong sense of adventure and pride drive this couple’s commitment
Helju Viilup had to think fast about how to make ends meet when she and her two young daughters found themselves in Sweden after escaping the Russian invasion into Estonia in 1944. These images come to mind today, when watching what is happening in Ukraine. Husband Riho stayed behind to help other escapees and it was up to Helju and her two small children to survive. Tiina was 5 and Kersti 2.
"We were hiding at my aunt Ira’s farm and managed to harness her horse and carriage and get to Tallinn,” recalls Tiina. “We sat on a pile of straw and made it to the port in Tallinn. There we were squeezed into an overcrowded boat, Triinu. To get some panicked passengers to disembark, they announced that the ship was going to Germany, not Sweden. Many passengers disembarked. We stayed on and got to Sweden.
New York Estonians celebrated the 50th anniversary of the annual Estonian Cultural Days in New York, bringing Estonian theatre, music, design and art to the heart of New York April 1-3, 2022.
The event invited Ellen Valter, project lead with KESKUS International Estonian Centre, to participate in the event, including as a panelist to discuss the challenges and opportunities in bringing cultural initiatives from Estonia to North America.
In attendance was Estonia's Minister of Culture, Tiit Terik, and his team, with whom Ellen met separately prior to the opening of the NY festival, to discuss KESKUS, the planning for the opening festivities in 2023 as well as for the ongoing programming at KESKUS.
The 17th Community Engagement Session for KESKUS International Estonian Centre took place on March 24th, 2022, via Zoom and the ceremonial groundbreaking of KESKUS was announced!
Although construction work has begun on site, the start of building this historic and monumental project will officially be marked with a ceremony on Friday, April 8th, 2022 at 12:30 on-site at 9 Madison Avenue in Toronto. All are invited to attend, rain or shine.
Donation delivers distinctive Estonian flavour to KESKUS
Ask any Estonian to define one of the most enjoyable aspects of a gathering of friends and family, and often the answer is simple: it’s the food.
Warm memories of family kitchens and traditional foods have long figured prominently in the lives of people with Estonian roots. It stands to reason, therefore, that the heart of the new KESKUS International Estonian Centre, in development in downtown Toronto, will be the kitchen.
But this will not be just any ordinary kitchen – the key ingredient in the mix here will be the development of a professional culinary hub. The goal is to design a professional and modern catering space where everything from “suupisted” (hors d'oeuvres) for cocktail receptions of hundreds to intimate multi-course dinners can be prepared.
Lõuna Florida (South Florida) Estonian Society celebrated Vabariigi aastapäev (Estonia's Independence Day) on Sunday March 6, 2022 and welcomed Ellen Valter, Project Lead of KESKUS International Estonian Centre to its luncheon gathering at Sandhill Crane Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Led by Veljo Kurik, the Society's president, Terje Van Schaik and Terje Hill, the Society regularly gathers together Florida Estonian residents, snowbirds, visitors and dignitaries.
Eesti Elu Nr. 20 - 20. mai 2022 DIGILEHT
Kõik numbrid koos sisukorraga: www.issuu.com/estonianlife
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