In memoriam Laas Leivat
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In memoriam Laas Leivat

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In memoriam


March 15, 1941, Hiiumaa – January 19, 2024, Toronto

Laas Leivat, an Estonian activist and Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Estonia, passed away in Toronto on January 19, 2024.

As an Honorary Consul, he had an excellent opportunity to connect his work and passion. Laas Leivat dedicated his life to assisting Estonia and Estonians and ensuring the preservation of Estonian identity abroad.

Until his passing, Laas Leivat remained an active representative of the organized Estonian community. He served on the boards of the Estonian Central Council in Canada (EKN) and the Estonian World Council (ÜEKN) for decades. From 2014 to 2016, he served as the Chairman of the ÜEKN. The globally organized Estonian community lost a strong and active contributor with a remarkable memory.

Laas was a skilled wordsmith in both speech and writing. He contributed for years to the publication of the English-language section of the Canadian newspaper Eesti Elu, providing weekly commentaries. Estonian domestic and foreign policy were his hobby, and a free and steadfast Republic of Estonia was his passion.

As a fervent freedom fighter, Laas Leivat played a significant role in the restoration of Estonian independence, organizing ESTO events when Estonia was behind the Iron Curtain and serving as a member of the Estonian Congress during the years 1990–1992, as well as being a member of the Estonian Committee.

Academically, Laas was an honorary member of Fraternitas Estica, and he was a skilled choir singer.

Laas Leivat received recognition through various awards, including the Estonian Central Council in Canada’s Gold Service Award and the Estonian President’s Order of the White Star, 3rd Class.

We will remember Laas as a knowledgeable, even-handed, and forward-thinking diplomat, who, despite being a simple man at heart, always represented with dignity the Estonian state and people.

Laas Leivat was born on March 15, 1941, in Hiiumaa, Käina. The turmoil of war led him, at the age of three, along with his parents Hella and Alfred Leivat, to seek refuge in Sweden, in the city of Gothenburg, from where the family later moved to Canada.

Our condolences go to his wife Ellen and their family.

With gratitude, we remember Laas Leivat’s lifelong contribution to preserving Estonian freedom, language, and culture.

Rest in peace, dear Laas!