October 27, 1978
The 30th reunion of the Walnut passengers took place
on October 27th, 1978, in the middle hall of
the Toronto Estonian House. The space was tight - in attendance were over 150
Organized by J.
Saarniit, he noted
in his speech that on board had been 347 individuals,
who arrived in Canada illegally. The youngest passenger was one and the
oldest 80. From the Walnut family, 300 came to live in Toronto. When
one individual had been asked by immigration why he had brought with him so many
old tools, he had answered: "These tools have previously earned money
and will do so again, since they are like an old Stradivarius violin."
Saarniit further stated: "Time has changed us
during the last 30 years, both internally and externally. Have we gotten
smarter? If not, at least so much that if we need to voyage again, then at
least not against the wind."
Saarniit thanked all who helped to organize the event, especially
Nelly and Vello Hubel. A moment of silence was given for those passengers
who had passed away - included among them was Captain August Linde.
From the left:
Hubel daughters and Evelyn Valge
-- all offspring of Walnut passengers --
the reunion dinner.
Evelyn Valge sings a solo
accompanied by Lilly Valge.
Many family members of passengers entertained the guests with recollections
of the journey, including song and poetry presentations. One of the
evening's most interesting events was the auction of the S/S Walnut life
preserver ring. The life ring had been in Montreal for the last 30 years
in the care of an Estonian. This had now been sent to Toronto and sold to
the highest bidder for $250 who turned out to be artist Mati Saarniit.
Read the article written for the 30th reunion by J. Saarniit:
Translated into English (part of the Voyage
Original article in Estonian.
are looking for photographs from the 30th reunion.
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