President Alar Karis opens new Estonian embassy building in Canada

President Alar Karis officially opened the new Estonian embassy building in Ottawa, Canada, on Monday.

The president, who has been on an official visit to Canada, a country with strong ties to Estonia, since late last week, said of the occasion that small countries inevitably need to think carefully about where they establish their foreign missions.

Once that decision has been made, however, the Estonian state should ensure its diplomats have a conducive working environment.

At Monday's ceremony, the president presented the embassy with a woven carpet.

Created by Anu Raud, the author calls the work a "Mulgi six design" (Mulgimaa is a historical and cultural region of South Estonia, roughly corresponding with present-day Viljandi County).

The opening ceremony was attended by Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sandra McCardell, Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces Lt Gen. Martin Herem, plus representatives of the Canada's defense forces.

The building which is the new home to the Estonian Embassy in Canada was built in 1875 (see gallery) and is under heritage protection. It is situated in the lower town, one of the Canadian capital's oldest districts and home to many foreign missions, with the embassies of Austria, Brazil, Croatia and Poland being the Estonian embassy's nearest neighbors.

The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs purchased the building in February 2018 at a cost of €868,000, while refurbishment work cost a reported further €1.83 million.

The embassy had been scheduled to officially open in 2021, but this was delayed due to the Covid pandemic.

President Karis returns to Estonia on Wednesday.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mirjam Mäekivi

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