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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Economic and Social Developments

Estonian Hall in Medicine Valley was built with voluntary labor to serve the needs of the Estonian community in the area, 1910s. During this time, Alberta's Estonian community developed several projects on a cooperative basis. Estonian Albertans united voluntarily in order to meet collective economic, social and cultural needs. The formation of co-operatives reflected the importance of openness and caring for others - valued characteristics of the Estonian community spirit. For instance, the Eckville and Gilby Co-operative Company was created through joint effort. It was a fire insurance company as well as a cattle sales cooperative and bank. The establishment of the Estonian School in 1909 also expressed collective spirit by ensuring that children of Estonian descent received an education. In the 1920s, many Estonians staunchly supported the United Farmers of Alberta. Formed in 1909, the UFA actively sought to improve conditions for Alberta's rural communities. In one such election a UFA candidate received 102 of the 107 votes cast at Gilby, located in the Medicine Valley.

Alberta's Estonian Heritage
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