March 2017 Newsletter

March 2017

IMANTA IS 70 YEARS OLD! Our society was founded on March 8, 1947, and is still the oldest active Latvian society in Canada. Viola Baker, one of the original founders, recently celebrated her 95th birthday. Both milestones are remarkable achievements. We will recognize this anniversary at our March 26th event below.

In preparation for Latvia’s centenary celebrations next year, a special Latvian flag is travelling to Latvians around the world. It’s making its way to Alberta via the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan, and then to to Vancouver, Kelowna, across to Europe, USA and South America, returning to Latvia next year. This project is a youth initiative created in 2015 in anticipation of Latvia’s 100 birthday in 2018.

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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.

Fall Updates from IMANTA

Vasara uz beigām steidzas
Rudens vēji grib mūs sveikt…

Mūsu latviešu sabiedrībā ir daudz jaunumu kopš pēdējā apkārtraksta izsūtīšanas. Līgo svinēšana notika skaistā pēpusdienā ar 73 apmeklētājiem, starp tiem ari viesi no Latvijas, Oregonas, Britu Kolumbijas un Kalgārijas. Augustā viesojās Inita Daniele no Rīgas un mums bija divas aizņemtas un vērtīgas sēņošanu dienas un pārrunas ar šo sēņu eksperti. Kopš maija mēneša Edmontonā ir ieradušies divpadsmit jauni latvieši un nākamās dienās ir vēl trīs gaidāmi. Vēlam viņiem visu to labāko jaunu dzīvi uzsākot.

As we enjoy this belated summer and plan for fall, it’s also time to look back on all that has happened in our community since our last newsletter.
The Līgo celebration was another successful event with 73 participants, including guests from Latvia, Oregon, British Columbia and Calgary. It was wonderful to reconnect with old friends and meet new people. Many thanks to everyone who helped make it a great afternoon, and a special thank you to Martin Osis for providing the delicious roast pig. Congratulations to Inta London for winning the highly-contested pirāg-baking prize!

Several members attended the Hamilton Song Festival, a busy and entertaining weekend which proved to everyone that smaller can be better. All concerts were easily accessible and the venues made it easier to feel involved. The next festival will be in Milwaukee in 2012.

Our casino was held in mid-August. Jim McDonald did an outstanding job of organising volunteers, arranging shifts, and keeping everyone well-fed and happy with their duties. His job is the most difficult and we are very grateful for his help.Inita Daniele, a mushroom expert from Riga, was in Edmonton for two weeks in August. She was a dynamic, energetic guest. In addition to her work with the Alberta Mycological Society, she spent a weekend guiding our members through the Devonian Gardens and the wilds of Wildwood. It was a unique opportunity to gain knowledge about mushrooms found in our area. Martin provided additional colourful information and, once again, a delicious feast to celebrate the forays. We enjoyed our collaboration with the A.M.S. and look forward to other such opportunities in the future.

Since mid-May, thirteen new Latvians have arrived in Edmonton for work or study. Three more are scheduled to arrive by the end of this month. They all face challenges in starting anew in a different country. We thank all those who contributed furniture or household goods to make
their transition easier.

Congratulations to Laura and Egon Jonsson on the safe arrival of Thomas Edward in July, and congratulations to the Kononovs family on receiving permanent residency!

IMANTA is starting a seniors’ transportation programme through Yellow Cab, using our casino funds. Taxi vouchers which have been sent to seniors on our mailing list may be used for transportation to doctors’ appointments, church services or social gatherings in the city area. If you did not receive your vouchers, please call Ena at 780-468-2728 or Inta at 780-963-3593.

One of the guests at our Līgo celebration was a gentleman from Oregon who was researching his family tree. He had very little information and was interested in anything that could be related. His grandparents came to the Edmonton area almost 100 years ago and his father, George Lapin, was born here. He contacted IMANTA for information and, as we communicated with him, we realised our community has its own rich and colourful history which is in danger of being lost. Many of our members are seniors and have information and stories that should be shared. To this end, we are starting a long-term project to gather and centralise such information. Please start thinking about what facts and details you would like to share about your family, your origins, and how you came to Edmonton. More information will follow in future newsletters.

Our November celebration will be held on Sunday, November 15th, at the Royal Glenora Club. It will feature the Swiss Men’s Choir and a delicious brunch. Details to follow.

The DVD The Soviet Story is available to anyone who wishes to borrow it. Please call Ena.

IMANTA has a blog! Here’s the link:
Huge thanks to Fawnda Mithrush for bringing us into the 21st century!

If you would like to receive this newsletter electronically, please email

Ar cieņu,

Hello World!


Welcome to Imanta Latvian Society of Edmonton, a forum for people of Latvian heritage living in Edmonton, Alberta. We’re excited to have an online presence now, and will be here to update you on all of the organization’s events, news, and activities for members.

Whether you’re a new Latvian coming to Edmonton, have one Great-great-great grandparent who was Latvian, if you’re married to one (bless you!), or if you’re simply curious about who Latvians are and what they like to do, give us a shout or leave a message on the blog.

Prieks iepazities!
And check back soon for updates.