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August William Holtswell

 A view of Maligne Lake, with Spirit Island in the middle, by August Holtswell, in the 1920s. August Holtswell was born on July 25, 1897 in the Crimea. At the onset of the Russian Revolution August left the Crimea and walked through Romania, Bulgaria and Poland before eventually settling in Estonia, which had just recently gained its independence from Russia. In Estonia he met his future wife Helmi.

In 1923 August left Europe and immigrated to Calgary, Alberta. After trying several jobs he eventually became manager of an office furniture manufacturing company called KP Nielson. August remained with KP Nielson until his retirement. At KP Nielson, August worked with fellow Estonian immigrant Walter Silberman.

Helmi arrived in Calgary in 1928 and soon married August. They found a quaint apartment downtown and settled here until, in 1953, a fellow Estonian, Enzio Magi, convinced the Holtswells to build a new house near the Elbow River to be closer to other Estonian families. During the 1950s, a total of three Estonian families lived in proximity of each other. The Holtswell enjoyed socializing with their neighbours and maintained many Estonian traditions and customs.

August died on June 13, 1967 in Calgary at the age of 70. Helmi later married Peter Kalev from Eckville, Alberta. She outlived August by 30 years before passing away in 1999 at the age of 90.

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