Oro Family

Back L to R: Five sons, Martin, Otto, Oscar, Alex and Mike. Front L to R: Leonard, Archie, Bob, Hilda(standing), Jenny, grandmother Liise, Marvin, Astrid, Harold, Julie (behind Harold) in 1937. Juhan Oro (John Oro) was one of many Estonians who came to Canada in the 1900s. He was born in Saaremaa, Estonia and later married Lisa Rahu. While John was growing up he moved from Saaremaa to Prondi Mets near Tver, Russia. The Russian government had promised land and prosperity to Estonian farmers willing to relocate here. John tilled the land and raised a young family. His sons Alex, Martin and Mike were born in Russia.

Stories of cheap available land in western Canada spread throughout the community of Prondi Mets. Known as "Paradise on Earth" to some, the Oros sold their land and much of their possessions, purchased a passage to Canada and anxiously awaited their arrival. Upon arrival there was a large group of Estonians settled near Sylvan Lake, Alberta. Unfortunately, much of the land had already been occupied.

Lisa Oro with her five sons; Otto, Oscar, Alex, Mike and Martin in 1937. Magnus Tipman and Mihkel Kutras (Kudras) searched on foot for suitable farmland elsewhere. They soon found good land south of Stettler, Alberta. The Oros along with other Estonian families, began their life of homesteading. The Oro family homesteaded on the west shore of Lone Pine Lake. During the 1990s Alex Oro was still homesteading on the same plot of land and living in the original log cabin. The log cabin has been updated through the years, with add-ons to the kitchen, the front sun porch, the back pantry and the bedroom. The house now has such modern amenities as hot and cold running water, electricity, gas heating and telephone. Another descendant, Astrid Oro, is a granddaughter of Juhan and resides in Edmonton.

Alberta's Estonian Heritage