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Estonian Profile
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Like many other immigrants to Canada from the Russian Empire and, later, Soviet Union, many Estonians fled to Canada in an attempt to escape the poverty and oppression they felt under the control of the Russian Empire. One of these individuals was Hendrick Kingsep, a school teacher fluent in several languages. As a young man he was a political radical and joined in a plot to overthrow the Tsar of Russia. At this time, Estonia was facing economic as well as political and social challenges. At age 24, Henrick met and married Emilie, the daughter of a local shoemaker.  Dissatisfied with his life in Estonia and fearful of the consequences of his involvement in the revolution, he was open to the idea of immigration. 

Estonian delegation during World Athletics ChampionshipsHendrick's brother Kristjan was a sailor and had told Henrick about his voyages, including a trip he had taken to Montreal. Upon hearing his brother speak of this wonderous land, Henrick became convinced that Canada was the place for him. To prepare for life in his new homeland, Henrick began studying English. In 1899, the Kingsep brothers and their families made the journey from Estonia to Alberta, where they registered homesteads near Sylvan Lake, Alberta.  

These families were only two of the many that left Estonia for Canada at that time. The group that included the Kingsep's was the first and most influential wave of Estonian immigration, which continued until 1916.
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