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August 2011 Newsletter

 Edmonton Latvian Society Imanta

Edmontonas Latviešu Biedrība

Edmontonas Latviešu Biedrība IMANTA, Kanādas visvecākā aktīvā latviešu biedrība, tika dibināta 1947. gadā. Musu oficiālā darbības valoda ir angļu valoda, lai labāk iesaistītu un informētu visas latviešu paaudzes.

The EdmontonLatvian Society IMANTA, Canada’s oldest active Latvian society, was founded in 1947. In order to accommodate and include all Latvians and those of Latvian heritage, our official language of business is English.

August 2011

Summer is almost over and as we slowly start into fall, here is the latest news from the Edmonton Latvian community:

We had another well-attended but rainy Ligo celebration in June. Many thanks to all, especially to our visitors from Oregonand Calgary! There are still unclaimed dishes and tent pegs in the lost & found. If you are missing anything, please contact Ena at  by  Sept. 1st before the items are donated elsewhere.


The Latvian History project we are funding through Athabasca University is ongoing. Michaelle Haughian, our research assistant, has interviewed several of our community members and will be working with IMANTA until mid-December. The purpose is to record and preserve the history of Edmonton Latvians and their different organisations, churches and activities in Edmonton and area over the past decades, as well as their contributions to Canadian life. The result would become a historical resource for the future, similar to Alberta Estonian history at

With your cooperation, our rich history will be well-documented and preserved. Please contact Michaelle if you have not yet heard from her.
She can be reached at 780-394-4885 or


Donation requests: If you are involved with a non-profit group seeking donations,  please submit a  request form by November 1st.  This form is  available by contacting Liesma  at

A message from the Tarksis family:

Over the last year, Lily and George Jurikass have had some health issues and have not been able to maintain their home.  They were moved to the Devonshire Long Term Care Facility in early January 2011, where they live together in a semi- private room.  Along with the staff at theDevonshire, George is looking after Lily’s needs and, given her age, she is doing quite well.  George is very well liked by all the caregivers as he is quite a gentleman.

Lily and George have entrusted Ed and Deb Tarksis to dispose of their assets.  George has generously donated their Latvian books and albums to Imanta to distribute.  Their other collections of Art, Vases and Classical music will be on display and available for purchase on September 18th at the Tarksis residence betwee 12:00 noon and 5:00 pm, at1090 Wedgewood Blvd.  Anyone needing directions please call 780-481-1318.


Earlier this year, IMANTA received a government grant to host a venue for the fourth annual Alberta Arts Days in October.  Plan to attend – everything is free!

                                  ALBERTA ART DAYS 2011

Discover         Experience     Celebrate

Sept. 30, Oct. 1 & 2

Sponsored by theAlbertaGovernment

Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community Spirit & M.L.A. for CalgaryNW

 Alberta Art Days, part of Canadian Culture Days, offers opportunities for Albertans to experience and participate in the cultural life of our Province.Edmonton’s Latvian Society IMANTA, the Laurier Heights Art Society, and the Laurier Heights Community League submitted a joint application to celebrate our provincial pride and the importance of art and culture for a vibrantAlberta.  We were one of only twelve groups inEdmonton(and sixty-nine throughoutAlberta) to receive a grant to participate!

Let’s all celebrate together! Come and join us as we showcase the small Baltic nationLatvia: its culture, history, art, and its contribution to our Province.  If you have Amber, wear it and show it off!

For three days, the bare walls of our hall will be full of color and the hall will be a beehive of activity: an Art Show andSale; Art Workshops; talks on the Culture and History of Latvia, the significance of Latvian Amber, the History of Latvian Art; and an array of Latvian refreshments.  Latvian artists living inEdmontonand members of the Laurier Heights Art Society will display their work.

 All activities are free and held at theLaurierHeightsCommunity Center,

14405 – 85 Avenue, enter off 80 Avenue and 144 Street.  Pre-Registration is required for the Art Workshops.

For more information, contact Helen at 780-483-5692 or Joanne at 780-481-4773.

Special Events Calendar

Sat Oct 1         7:00 p.m.         Opening of Art Show and Sale

7:30 p.m.         Music, Widening, Embracing, Singing  with one                                                                   song in Latvian

8:00 p.m.         “The Little Baltic State Latvia”,

A talk by Dr. Margaret Drummond

Sun Oct. 2       2:00 pm           Doors open

2:30 p.m          “Latvian Amber”, a talk and display by Myrtle Marks

3:30 p.m.         “Art History of Latvia”,

A talk and slides by Kurt Marlow M.A.

Events on both days will be followed by socializing, refreshments, and the famous Latvian “Piragi” (bacon buns)

Free Art Workshops

The instructors for the Free Art Workshops are among the best in Edmonton:

Watercolor                 FrancesAlty Arscott   B.F.A

Oil and Acrylic           Isabella Konokowski   M.F.A

Frances will conduct the Intermediate Level Watercolor Workshop.

Isabella is directing the fun at the Beginner Workshops and the Intermediate Level Oils.  She is well known for her portraits of Lois Hole in the downtown library and at  Grant McEwan University.

Registration is by Telephone only – contact Dellah at 780-450-0738, please leave a message

Intermediate Level Workshops

Fri Sep 30       The Intermediate Level Workshops for Oils and Watercolor are                                    full

So You Think You Can’t Paint?   YES YOU CAN! (Beginner Level Workshops)

All materials (acrylics, paint brushes, and canvases) are supplied.  Everything is free.  However, you must PRE-REGISTER in order to participate.  There is a maximum of 16 artists in each class.

Sat Oct 1         9:30 a.m. – 12:30 pm Children, age  6 years – 12-ish

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 pm   Adults

Sun Oct 2        9:30 a.m. – 12:30 pm Teens

Please remember that seniors can phone Yellow Cab at 780-462-3456 for transportation to any of our events, courtesy of our casino-funded taxi program. Vouchers will be available at each event.

Ligo 2011!

Hello Imanta friends! Check out a few of these photos from last week’s Ligo celebration.

Election update!

The latest news…
Short version:
One month pre-election in Latvia: a political discussion program on Latvian TV this Saturday, September 11, streamed live at It will start at 10am Alberta time and involve 7 North American cities via Skype, including Edmonton. Anyone with internet access can watch it at home.
If you know any seniors who don’t have internet access and who would like to watch this, please let them know and maybe help them arrange something…?

Long version:
Hansamedia TV in Latvia is organizing a political forum for this Saturday, September 11th, allowing 7 North American communities to participate in discussions with election candidates from 5 political parties in Latvia. This will be done using Skype and will be streamed live on the internet. A similar forum with Europeans, ie: Latvians not living in Latvia, took place on September 4th.

LNAK (Latvian Nat’l Assoc in Canada) chose Toronto and Edmonton as the two Canadian participants. I think they wanted to show and recognize that not all Latvians in Canada live in the east. The other participanting cities are San Francisco, Detroit, Boston, Minneapolis and New York.

There are 3 pre-determined topics which all political candidates will answer and discuss:
1. How many persons of Latvian heritage and how many Latvian citizens live outside Latvia? How important are these Latvians to Latvia? In the interest of future strategic planning, can we agree on a realistic number for this population?
2. What, if anything, is being done now to allow Latvians abroad to return to Latvia? What are future plans/strategies to encourage this return? Does Latvia want these Latvians to return? Maybe it’s more convenient for Latvia to have this diaspora?
3. What is Latvia doing and how is it taking care of the Latvians and Latvian citizens who have chosen to stay abroad, at least for the next few years? How do we help them maintain contact and exercise their rights as citizens? Comments on dual citizenship? Changes in the voting law to allow voting via internet?

The program starts at 7pm Latvian time or 10am Alberta time. It will be 90 minutes long. Because of time constraints, each of the 7 above-mentioned cities will only be allowed to ask one question.

I’ve spoken to 8 people and so far noone wants to be involved. It looks like I’ll be asking the question from Edmonton. However, if one of you would absolutely love to do this in my place, please let me know by Wednesday at the latest and it’s all yours! We are also collecting questions to ask the politicians. One question will be chosen but we’ll need backups in case of duplication so please send me ideas.

Finally – anyone who wants to vote in the October Latvian election has until September 10 to register for an absentee ballot by submitting their application and passport to the Latvian embassy in Ottawa.

Spring Newsletter

After another winter hiatus, our newsletter is back with updates on events in our Latvian community.
Our AGM was held on March 7th. The members of your executive for 2010-11 are Aija Galeviuss, Anita Clark, Edgars Rudzitis, Ena Rudovics, Helen Richards, Inta London, Jim McDonald, Juris Kononovs, Liesma Mithrush,
Linda Payne, Martin Osis and Ruta Vitins. We thank Janis Braze for his contributions to the executive over the years, most recently as auditor.
The documentary film The Soviet Story ( will be shown to the general public on Thursday, May 13th, at 7pm at the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex at 9615—153 Ave. This event is co-sponsored by the Edmonton branches of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the League of Ukrainian Canadians
& the League of Ukrainian Canadian Women, Imanta, and Tribute to Liberty in Toronto.
Ticket price is $10/adult; children and students under 18 are free. This film is incredibly well-documented and well-written. The director, Edvīns Šņore, is coming from Latvia for screenings of his film in New York and
Ottawa. He will also be in Edmonton for our event. There will be a reception and discussion following the film.
Please share this information with anyone who might be interested.
IMANTA is hosting a family picnic on Sunday, May 16th, from 2-5pm at picnic site #3 in William Hawrelak Park. It’s the covered picnic shelter closest to the playground. We will supply burgers, wieners, beverages, fruit and veggies. Please bring children, lawn chairs, balls and kites. It would be especially great to see young families and new arrivals come out to meet each other.
Gardening season is here! For the past two years, Imanta has donated $1000.00 to the University Farm Organic Growers (UFOG), a non-profit, collectively run community garden located on the UofA farm near Foote Field on the south side of the city. Volunteers who work in the garden benefit by receiving produce and vegetables as they are harvested. A little bit of work in the sun will give you fresh vegetables throughout the summer. If you don’t have a garden or would like to garden more, this is a good group to get involved with.
For electronic access to UFOG, one needs a Google gmail account. Simply log in to the following account The only criteria for joining is “how did you learn of the UofA Co-op”. Indicate
you are with IMANTA. All information will be available once you join.
More Latvians are arriving in both Edmonton and Calgary almost monthly, which is always good news! One young man has just finished a year of studies and basketball at Kings’ College in Edmonton. He’s staying here for the summer and needs to earn money for next year’s tuition. If anyone can offer any kind of part- time or full-time work, please contact him directly at
Our condolences to the family and friends of Alija Celinskis, who passed away on April 7, 2010.
Congratulations to Kaspars Zauls, who received IMANTA’s scholarship at NAIT in February. He is finishing his studies in the Business Administration- Finance program. The next deadline for application is August 31, 2010 and application information is available at Our scholarship is listed under “T” as The Edmonton Latvian Society IMANTA. On the last page of this newsletter is information about IMANTA’s new self-administered scholarship program. This program is the result of one year’s work and is tangible evidence of the kind of work we want to do. We are looking for benefits to members of our community and we want to involve more people. We want to encourage and support those who aim to improve themselves and, by extension, our community. We especially want to support our youth in their studies and encourage them to learn more about their heritage and be proud of it.
Looking ahead:
  • Our Līgo celebration is planned for Saturday, June 26th, at Lake Isle. Details to follow in the next newsletter.
  • Martin Osis is organizing a vēžu balle (crayfish party) weekend at Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park on Carson Lake (near Whitecourt) for July 31-August 2. A group campsite has been reserved for IMANTA members and friends. Who knew we had crayfish in Alberta? Martin has the knowledge and talent to make any outdoor experience memorable. Please mark this on your calendar and plan to come out, even if for one day. More information in next newsletter.
  • Plans are underway to organize a joint Edmonton-Calgary Latvian choir. Practices would be workshop-style and time commitment would be minimal. This will be open to everyone – you do not have to speak Latvian to sing Latvian! More information to follow.
If you wish to receive this electronically, or if you have any questions/comments about items in this newsletter, please contact or at 780-468-2728.
Imanta is pleased to announce the introduction of our self‐administered scholarship program, funded by our ongoing casino program and governed by the regulations of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.
Available Funding
  • The IMANTA ‘Lāčplēsis’ Scholarship: Full Time Post‐Secondary Scholarship $2,500
  • The IMANTA ‘Staburags’ Scholarship: Part‐Time Post‐Secondary Scholarship $1,000
  • The IMANTA ‘Draugi’ Scholarship: Part‐Time Continuing Education Scholarship $500
Scholarship Eligibility
♦ Alberta residents who are Canadian citizens, non‐visitors, foreign students on visa
♦ Full or part‐time students as defined by the accredited post‐secondary educational institution
♦ Awarded on the basis of academic achievement, community involvement, and/or financial need
Application Process
♦ Applicants to submit a 1,000 word essay describing how their Latvian heritage has influenced them as residents of Alberta (previous winners to submit a 750 word essay);
♦ Deadline for applications to be received by the adjudication committee by no later than June 30th of each year
♦ Payment will be made directly to the individual upon submission of proof of attendance (i.e. tuition receipt) at the recognized educational institution.
Submit applications to:
The Edmonton Latvian Society “Imanta”
c/o 9308 – 82 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T6C 2X5
Attn: Adjudication Committee
All accredited post‐secondary educational institutions in Canada governed by the University Act or the Colleges Act or the Technical Institutes Act.
To be funded by June 30th, 2010:
♦ a maximum of 6 x $2,500 scholarships, 3 x $1,000 scholarships and 4 x $500 scholarships eligible for course work completed in the 2009/2010 academic year

A further $30,000 will be available for distribution by November 30, 2011.

Latvia at the Vancouver Olympic Games!

Here’s a page that has all the information you could ever want on the history of Latvian athletes in the Olympic Winter Games—it’s all in a handy .pdf guide that you can download and print! Note that page 3 has a handy viewing schedule to all the events that feature Latvian competitors during the Vancouver Games.

Of course, you could always view it in Latvian…

February news and announcements…

Laimīgu Jauno Gadu    •   Happy New Year!!

This first newsletter of the year is to announce our Annual General Meeting, which will be held on Sunday, February 28th at 1:00 pm at the Laurier Heights Community Hall at  14405—85  Avenue (on 144th Street, access north from 80th Avenue). Refreshments will be served.

Please remember that seniors can phone any of the following for transportation to the meeting or any other event:
Yellow Cab   780-462-3456
Barrel Taxi   780-489-7777
Checker Cabs  780-484-8888
Vouchers will be available when you arrive and will also be provided for return travel. Seniors who make regular use of our taxi vouchers are asked to phone Inta at 780-963-3593 or Ena at 780-468-2728 if you need more vouchers sent to you.

Together with the Latvian congregation in Edmonton, IMANTA hosted a Christmas celebration (eglītes vakars) in December. Those who attended enjoyed piparkūkas and other treats, as well as a visit by a jolly ziemassvētku vecītis who brought gifts for the children. Ten children attended with their parents. It was a new experience for many of them and we hope to make this an annual event.


Latvian mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča is performing Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera in New York this season. A January performance was recorded live and shown in Cineplex theatres across the country. It will be re-run on Saturday, March 13, at 1:00pm at the South Edmonton Common Cineplex and possibly other theatres (check the
listings). This is a spectacular performance! The very talented Garanča is rapidly becoming an audience favorite world-wide. It’s also not every day you can hear Latvian spoken on such a famous stage.


IMANTA supported the St. Albert Prowlers Novice hockey team last year. This team will be playing an exhibition game against the Jasper Bears at the WEM Ice Palace on Saturday, February 27, at 11:30 am. If you’re able to watch them play, you’ll see an enthusiastic group of players that was very appreciative of our support.

Our Latvian community has lost three members with the passing of Ilga Green, Erik Kalnins and Marge Gully. We offer our condolences to their family and friends.

Athabasca University is working on a project titled “Connecting Canadians: Canada’s Multicultural Newspaper” and is looking for up to 20 members to assist with content evaluation. This would involve spending approximately 2 hours with their staff, reading some Latvian newspapers from 1945-49 and providing feedback. They will help
anyone who is not comfortable using a computer.
This project is funded by the federal government. It is part of a larger archival record and they want to be sure their efforts will be useful in the future.  We hope many of you will respond for this survey.
If you are interested in participating, please email or phone 780-468-2728 in the next few weeks. We are planning to meet with Athabasca University on the first weekend in March, to accommodate those who work during the week. The time and location will be confirmed shortly.

The University’s contact person was impressed that IMANTA has a blog, through which she was able to contact us. If you have not seen it yet, the link to the blog is and we’re also on Facebook.