The Estonian communities in Eastern Canada and on the West Coast were founded primarily by war refugees who came to Canada in the early 1950s. Tens of thousands of refugees fled the illegal occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union which was marked by mass deportations, widespread targeted executions and the focused repression of the Estonian people. During the years of Soviet occupation, the preservation of the Estonian language and the continuation of its folklore and traditions here in Canada was a critical, difficult yet vitally important task. Numerous organizations and groups were formed.
The Foundation evolved as a central organization to simplify the choices for donors and to ensure all donations stayed in Canada to support the Estonian community here. We continue to provide the financial support to keep Estonian institutions and initiatives thriving in Canada, and include and educate future generations of Canadians about Estonia.