Dear Finnish Canadians and Friends of Finland in Canada,
This year has been an important year for both Canada and Finland with big celebrations. 2017 has been full of events and projects marking Canada 150 and Finland 100. Both countries welcomed the celebratory year with festive fireworks when the year changed. Canada's jubilee year culminated in Canada Day and now we are approaching Finland’s Independence Day, December 6th.
All the people with Finnish heritage, Finns and other friends of Finland in Canada are a great asset to Finland. Your communities cherish the Finnish culture and values around Canada. Through various events and activities you share knowledge about not only the Finnish traditions and history but also about the Finnish strengths today. The Finnish organizations across Canada play an important role in promoting Finland abroad. One of these organizations are the Finnish schools around the world. This year their important work was recognized with the Finnish Expatriate of the Year title. Congratulations to all the Finnish Schools in Canada!
During this year I have had the pleasure to participate in many Finland 100 events organized by the Finnish Canadian communities and there are still some to come in December. I want to extend my warmest thank you and congratulations to all the volunteers who have worked hard to make these events successful. The embassy staff has been honored to celebrate the year with the vibrant Finnish Canadian community. You make us proud!
To mark Finland 100 the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö awarded some Finnish war veterans with Medal First Class of the Order of the White Rose of Finland. As Finland’s Ambassador to Canada I have been extremely honored to decorate these Finnish veterans across Canada this year. It has been very touching to meet the veterans and hear their stories. I want to thank the generation that fought in the war. You laid the foundation for our present-day peaceful development and well-being.
Finland has overcome many challenges during its one hundred years of independence. I’m happy to say that the future looks bright. Today Finland is known for its advanced societal model, high technology, original culture and – of course – great hockey. As long as we keep on working together towards common goals, Finland and Finns, all over the world will thrive.
Congratulations Finland – let’s celebrate together – yhdessä – tillsammans!