Canadian Latvian Archive and Museum

Collection of artifacts from exilted Latvinians in Canada

The archive project group met for the first time on August 15, 2013 and started the work of going through collected materials of Latvians in Canada. The LNFC Board confirmed it as an official project and gave it the name Canada Latvian Archive and Museum.

The Archive and Museum was started and is chaired by LNFC chair and the World Federation of Free Latvians board member and as a professional archivist formerly with Libraries and Archives Canada has spearheaded the effort to retain items of cultural significance. Andris Ķesteris is the World Federsation of Free Latvians Archive, Library and Museum working group's chair and continues to work with National organizations in Latvia, Canada and the rest of the world. For instance, he is the Lifetime Member of the Baltic Heritage Network and the Baltic Audiovisual Archival Council, of which he is a founder and long time Board Member. The Archive and Musuem was also founded by Aija Kark­liņa, Skaidrīte Tērauda and Že­­nija Vītola, who have given many volunteer hours to the project.

The Canadian Latvian Archive and Museum aims to collect, and store in one place, the experience of exiled Latvians of the 1800s and 1900s and also the of those arriving after the Second World War. The Archive and Museum is collecting both organizational and personal documents to show the life of Latvians in Canada.

From personal documents, for instance, there are letters with relatives and friends in Latvia. During the time of occupation in Latvia, it is only possible to read between the lines to see life as it was in Latvia. People interested in history will be very thankfor for the information that will be provided in these letters. The committee has also been able to collect passports, High School Diplomas, travel documents and newspapers from the 1920s.

The museum part has collected articles that carried from Latvia at the time people left and include ceramics, various boxes, handiwork, suit cases etc. This led to an exhibition "Latvian suit case" at "Stūra māja" (corner house). Exiled Latvians each has this kind of a suit case when leaving for exile.

The organization works with the Latvian National Library (Latvijas Na­cionālo bibliotēku), Latvians in the World (Lat­vieši Pasaulē) and Latvian Occupation Museum (Lat­vi­jas Okupācijas mūzeju).

The LNFC archives with maintinated until 2004 by Jānis (John) Mežaks. He took care of the necessary material and donation to the Ontario Archives.  As Latvians living in Canada, especially those that were born in Latvia are separate from Latvia, but also are inextribly linked to Latvia. At the same time Latvians are a part of Canada some of whom have lived here all their lives. This is why it is importnat to continue the monumental work of Jānis Mežaks. It is important that we acknowledge and add to the stories of Latvians in Canada, not only for our selves, but also to have these stories for people who stayed in the homeland. We will also leave testimony to the Latvian contribution to this country of our asylum.

We would be pleased if you could support the project with any significant materials you might have, or donate online, or by cheque to LNAK - KLAM. More information is available in the office.