Viktor Virak Family

Aino and Viktor Virak in front of their home in Edmonton, Alberta in 1969. Viktor Virak was born in Narva, Estonia in 1932. His family escaped the approaching Soviets to Sweden in a small 20-foot motorboat over the stormy Baltic Sea. The humane reception by the Swedish people allowed Viktor to build a new life in Sweden, including his marriage to Aino Ohi in 1946. He and his family left Sweden for Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1951.

He graduated from McGill University's School of Architecture in 1957 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, followed by a Master of Architecture degree in 1963. His initial work experience was obtained in Central and Eastern Canada.

In 1963, Viktor was appointed to the position of Branch Architect-Planner at the Edmonton Branch of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. His responsibilities encompassed Alberta and Northwest Territories. The assignment lasted until 1974 when he was transferred to the Victoria Branch.

L to R: Jaan Raud, Aino and Viktor Virak, Salme and Andreas Pilt in Edmonton, Alberta during the Christmas Season of 1964. Viktor's experience in Alberta left him with many memories: Impressions of dynamic growth, honesty and a strong work ethic, spatial vastness of grain fields, and good working relationships with local officials. He also treasures the cultural and personal contacts with Estonians in Edmonton, Calgary, Eckville and Barons, and the historical landmarks of earlier generations.

In his own words "There is no doubt that the time spent in Alberta was the richest period of my life, both professionally and personally. I have only good memories of human friendships, now part of the rich history of Alberta's Estonians."

Alberta's Estonian Heritage