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December Newsletter

…tik balts un kluss…
Krīt zemei pāri mirdzošs zvaigžņu pakars
Un, siltām rokām skaudams zemes telpu,
Nāk senais, mīļais Ziemassvētku vakars.
(Valda Mora)

The Edmonton Latvian Society Imanta is ending another year of activities and events with many thanks to the members and volunteers who continue to support and encourage us. Best wishes to all for 2012!

Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus un Merry Christmas laimīgu jauno gadu from Imanta’s novēl Imantas valde: Executive: Ena, Edgars, Liesma, Linda, Helen, Aija, Anita, Mārtiņš, Jim un Ruta.

The Latvian Christmas service in Calgary will be on Sunday, December 25th, at 1 p.m. at St. Edmund’s Anglican Church, 8340 – 34 Ave. NW. The service will be led by Reverend Dace Caune from Hamilton, Ontario, and will be followed by a social afternoon.

Remember: Taxi vouchers are always available for senior members for travel to appointments, church, shopping, social events. Please call Ena at 780-468-2728 if you need vouchers.

IIHF Hockey: A Latvian team is playing in the World Juniors’ hockey tournament starting on December 26th in Calgary. The meeting place for Latvians before, during or after any of the scheduled games in Calgary is Toques International Lounge, uptown 17th Avenue, 1504 –16 Ave. Information & updates will be posted on Facebook. Hockey info is at

Athabasca University Project: Imanta will continue working with AU in 2012 to record the experiences and history of Latvians in Edmonton. Our research assistant, Michaelle, will be hosting a panel discussion for teens and young adults in January. Please contact her at (780) 394-4885 or or via Imanta on Facebook.

NAIT Scholarship: The next deadline for application for our scholarship at NAIT is January 31, 2012. Please go to and search The Edmonton Latvian Society for more information.

Looking ahead: There will be a song festival in July 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Further information available at

November News…

IMANTA cordially invites you to the commemoration of the 93rd anniversary of Latvian independence on
Saturday, November 19, 2011

Edmonton Lithuanian Hall, 11629—83 Street, Edmonton
Reception                   4:00 pm
Opening                      4:45 pm
Dinner                         5:00pm

Musical program by Latvian musicians Latvian history project presentation by Athabasca University.
Members                     $20.00
Non-members             $25.00
Children 6-11              $10.00

Please RSVP by November 12, 2011 to

This year we changed venues for our November celebration because the Royal Glenora Club was not available for our dates. We also changed to an early evening function in order to accommodate all our members.  Please remember to reply by November 12th because we must let the caterer know how many guests to expect for dinner!
Transportation for Seniors: This is available to seniors through our casino funding. Please take advantage of it! Phone Yellow Cab at 780-462-3456 for a ride. If you have no vouchers, they will be available at the hall and the driver will come in with you to fill one out. You will be given another voucher to use for your return trip.
Thank you to all our members who have participated in our project with Athabasca University! There will be a presentation by AU at our November celebration to show you the early results. It’s exciting to see the collected information take shape through stories and photos.

If you haven’t already, please follow our page on facebook. It’s a great way for us all to share news about Latvia and Latvians in our community!

Last year IMANTA established self-administered annual scholarships using some of our casino funding. Congratulations to this year’s successful applicants:
Celeste Birzgalis, Kathryn Cotton, Tarryn Ann Klapper, Karl Korns, Kassity Lalonde, Andrea Murrle, Felix Murrle, Braden Pleckaitis, Kelsey Pleckaitis, Jillian Richards, Andrew Rudzitis, Julia Rudzitis.
A special thank you to Bob Brayman, John Neilson and Linda Payne, whose guidance and work on the application review committee made this possible once again.
We are also happy to recognize this year’s winner of the IMANTA scholarship offered at NAIT. Congratulations to Sarah Birzgalis, who is studying in the Chemical Engineering Technology  Program.

Alberta Art Days in early October was a great success, with an excellent turnout for all events. Latvian history and art were showcased and our piragi were much enjoyed and appreciated . Many thanks to the hard working committee organised by Helen Richards and the Laurier Heights Art Club and Community League. An extra thank you to all the volunteers, especially our scholarship winners Jillian & Ryan Richards, Braden & Kelsey Pleckaitis, Andrew & Julia Rudzitis, and Felix Murrle for their enthusiastic support and work on Sunday afternoon.

The 2012 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship will be coming to Edmonton and Calgary in December 2011. Latvia will be participating and playing all of its games in Calgary, starting on December 26th. IMANTA is considering hosting a reception for the Latvian hockey players in Calgary. If anyone has ideas or would like to help with this, please contact Ed Rudzitis at

Please note that there have been some changes in our membership fee categories which were discussed and voted on at the AGM in March 2011. Annual memberships will be available at the door on Saturday, November 19th, 2011. Please email to request a membership form.

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.

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…