Estonian Cultural Heritage Club

The Estonian Cultural Heritage Club was founded in 1981 with support from New Horizon, a suborganisation of the Province of Ontario.The aim of the organisation was to provide activities for the elderly. The theme chosen was video-recordings, which were made with equipment bought for the support money received from the Province. The board soon thought that the club should focus on the recording of Estonian activities in Toronto and the surrounding areas, and that has been the club’s task ever since – they have filmed jubilees, school and daycare activities, church services, concerts, performances, speeches and other activities. In addition to this, they also started to conduct weekly interviews, recording the memories and activities of the more active members of the Estonian community as well as the life stories of the older generation and their memories of life in Estonia before the Second World War: of the flight, of life in strange lands and finally of their lives and activities in Canada.

During the early years, the club used VCR- tapes for their recordings. Since the lifespan of a VCR- tape only is about 15 years, all VCR- recordings have now been migrated onto DVDs. The club’s archival collection currently contains 1059 DVDs, of which 531 are interviews.

An archival register has been compiled for these DVDs, with the name of the event recorded or the interviewee, the name of the person conducting the interview, category, and the date and length of the recording. A short general overview (maximum 20 rows) of the contents of each DVD has also been compiled. These overviews currently span 136 pages.

During its early years, the club tried to record as many events as possible. Later, the larger part of the recordings has come to consist of interviews. The amount of events has declined, so the club only records annual events every couple of years. Copyright-related problems have also emerged in connection with concerts and similar events; since the performers often fear that people will try to sell their recordings, cameras are not allowed in to the events.

For more information about the Estonian Cultural Heritage Club, please contact:
Mr. Jaan Kruus – tel. +1-416-229-4964, e-mail: