Esto 2000 comes to Toronto

  • 2000-07-06
  • By Jaclyn M. Sindrich
TALLINN - Eight thousand to 10,000 celebrating Estonians will gather
for Esto 2000, the world's largest international Estonian festival.
It all begins July 9 in Toronto, Ontario.

Esto 2000 happens only once every four years. This is the eighth
festival, and the third to be held in Toronto. The event was
originally held to unite Estonians living in exile during the Soviet
era, but it is now a party-filled commemoration of the country's

"Beset from the earliest times by various other countries and
cultures, and often having their cultural identity driven into
hiding, the Estonian people have learned that it is this heritage
that makes them strong, unique and united," reads the Esto 2000 Web

The nine-day event will be attended by President Lennart Meri and
Prime Minister Mart Laar. They will be the country's only senior
officials to take part.

Meri will be the honorary patron of the festival and will make the
opening speech. Laar will spend part of his summer vacation at Esto
and participate in some of the events.

Parliament will send no delegation to the festival on taxpayers
money, according to a Baltic News Service report.

The entertainment offered at Esto 2000 includes 21 concerts and music
competitions, including a talent show called "Young Rising Stars" at
the Toronto Estonian House on July 9, 10, and 12, a poetry and music
event at the Ford Center and Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and
a performance by the Tallinn Boys Choir on July 11. There will also
be a tribute performance to Estonian composer Udo Kasemets at the
University of Toronto' Äôs Walter Hall on July 13.

The art of Peter von Tiesenhausen work will cover the walls of the
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art July 10 through Sept. 3. There
will be eight other art exhibits, three collectors' exhibits, and 10
archival exhibits.

Esto 2004 will be held in Riga.

But there is no need to wait four more years, as tickets for Esto
2000 are still available, and can be ordered through the festival
office by fax at (416) 406-0445. The office, located at 958 Broadview
Avenue in Toronto, is open to thepublic between 12 and 3 p.m., and
hours will be extended during certain festival pre-events. The office
telephone number is (416) 406-0445. More information is available at
the event's Web site,