Renovation works on the building purchased in Ottawa for the Estonian Embassy in Canada three years ago has now been completed and the embassy has moved in.
"The embassy has worked in the new building symbolically since July 1, which is Canada Day. The official opening depends on the situation in Canada, since Covid restrictions are still very strict," Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Angelika Lebedev told ERR.
She said the building is located in the historic Sandy Hill region and was built in 1875. Sandy Hill is a popular location for multiple other embassies, such as those of Austria, Brazil, Croatia and Poland. The University of Ottawa is also located nearby.
The foreign ministry purchased the building in September of 2018 for €868,000, renovation works cost €1.83 million and furnishing cost €135,549. The building's surface area is 309 m2 and it sits on a property of 611 m2.
The new embassy building is located at 168 Daly Ave. in Ottawa.
Foreign ministry Britta Tarvis explained the acquisition of the building in 2018 and said the previous rental premises did not meet the needs of the embassy and modern security requirements. In addition, the building was depreciated and lacked official rooms.
When weighing various rental and purchase options, it was determined that it would be more favorable in the long term to own real estate. In addition, when it comes to an owned property, there are better opportunities for adjusting it to meet the embassy's needs," Tarvis told BNS.
The acquired building was completely renovated and new rooms were created to suit the needs of the embassy. The historic entrance was restored and the yard was also redesigned, Lebedev said.
The reconstruction works were conducted by Canadian architectural bureau Robertson Martin Architects and Estonian company Pille Lausmäe SAB OÜ designed the interior architecture.
"The design for the building turned out to be a complicated one, since the residential building was changed to suit office spaces. Considering the requirements stemming from heritage protection, the additional requirements on fire safety and evacuation, security requirements and representational functions, drawing up the designs was extremely complicated and detailed," Lebedev said.
She added that the Ottawa city government supported the embassy renovation completely, because the facade of the building was completely restored. "The results of the building renovation meet the city's heritage protection requirements and stands out in the city space," Lebedev noted.
She said the construction works were conducted during the coronavirus pandemic, which made the renovation more complicated. "There were multiple construction objects closed in Ottawa because of the pandemic, the availability of several goods and services was limited. Acquiring construction materials was complicated, there were shipment delays in addition to dock workers' strikes," Lebedev noted.
Employees at the Estonian Embassy in Canada include the ambassador, consul and a secretary. Estonia also has eight honorary consuls in Canada, see more information on the embassy's homepage.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste