Contemporary (after 1990)

This section focuses on the descendants of Alberta's Estonian pioneers and immigrants. Many of the individuals discussed here play a significant role in maintaining and promoting Alberta's Estonian heritage. They have organized large Centennial celebrations and have served as key members with the Alberta Estonian Heritage Society. In addition, this section will introduce gifted musicians who have contributed to Alberta's music scene in a number of different ways.

When Estonia regained her Independence in 1991, the Calgary and Edmonton Estonian Societies were actively involved in preserving and promoting their cultural heritage and informing their members of happenings in their ethnic motherland. During the ensuing decade, major celebrations were organized to mark a century since the arrival of Estonian pioneers in the three largest pioneer settlements-Stettler/Big Valley, Medicine Valley and Barons. Estonian President Lennart Meri visited Alberta in 2000 and provided further encouragement to discover and record the history of Alberta's Estonians.

These celebrations were highly successful because they attracted participation by both multi-generational descendants of pioneers and the post-World War II immigrants. In 2005, the Calgary and Edmonton Estonian Societies morphed into a province-wide organization, the Alberta Estonian Heritage Society.

Concluding sentence: Other key members of the Alberta Estonian Heritage Society include Helgi Leesment, Eda McClung and Dave Kiil.

Arne and Eda represented the Calgary and Edmonton Estonian Societies at the West Coast Estonian Days in San Francisco, California in 1993. They are pictured bringing greetings on behalf of the Alberta-based Societies. Bob Tipman and Bob Kingsep, grandsons of Estonian pioneers who settled in central Alberta, were co-chairpersons at the Opening Ceremony of the Centennial Celebration at Stettler, Alberta in 1999. The Barons Centennial Organizing Committee celebrates the success of this major event which over 400 people attended. Descendants of Estonian pioneers were instrumental in planning and organizing a highly successful celebration. 2009 Jaanipaew Committee. L to R: Ron Hennel, Evelyn Shursen, Rodney Hennel, Klaus, Irene Kerbes (front), Gladys Nicklom, Otto Nicklom, Deane Kerbes and Marguerite Kerbes.

Alberta's Estonian Heritage