While this site isn’t being updated often since our project funding is over, Lakehead University Archives is frequently adding newly scanned photographs and other material to Digital Collections. Check in regularly, and contact the Archives if you have any questions or requests!
Friends of this project will be glad to learn that the Raija Warkentin fonds, consisting of oral history interviews with immigrants to & from Eastern Karelia, have been deposited at Lakehead University Archives. A short finding aid is available.
The records include audio cassettes, approved and unapproved transcripts, correspondence, notes, and photographs. All these materials were generated through an oral history project conducted circa 1999-2002. Some interviews are restricted access; others are fully available. The language of most materials is Finnish.
Now available in translation:
Finnish Socialist Organization’s Third Representative Assembly Minutes. Drafted at the Finnish Socialist Organization’s Representative Assembly held in Toronto, Ontario, February 15, 16, 20, and 21, 1922. Published by the Finnish Socialist Section of the Workers’ Party of Canada. Introduction and translation by Saku Pinta.
From Social Democracy to Leninism: The Finnish Socialist Organization of Canada, 1901-1922
By Saku Pinta
The Canadan Suomalainen Järjestö (FOC; Finnish Organization of Canada) is the oldest nation-wide Finnish cultural organization in Canada. Founded in 1911 as the Canadan Suomalainen Sosialisti Järjestö (FSOC; Finnish Socialist Organization of Canada), the organization passed through several stages and political affiliations in its formative years, but none as important as its longstanding association – both formal and informal – with the Communist Party of Canada.
Translated by Saku Pinta
1. The name of this organization is the Industrial Unionist Support League and its purpose is to create and maintain united action for the benefit of industrial unionism amongst the working-class and youth.
2. The C.T.K.L. is composed of those local industrial unionist supporting associations that voluntarily adhere to observing the mutually agreed upon League rules. Local associations may use their own by-laws in their internal affairs but these may not contradict League rules nor the industrial unionist endeavours in general.
We’re celebrating the conclusion of this project with a public event.
“Increasing Access to Finnish-Language Archives”
Celebrating heritage, history, and culture, and sharing the results of our DHCP-funded project.
Friday, May 3, 6pm
Finnish Embassy, 314 Bay Street
Thunder Bay Finnish Canadian Historical Society
Refreshments and cash bar
The Constitution and By-Laws of the Hoito Restaurant, as included in our Translation of the Minutes of the Hoito Restaurant, 1918-1920.
The Constitution of the Hoito Co-operative Restaurant
- This consumers’
co-operativerestaurant is in Port Arthur and began operations on May 1, 1918.
- The purpose of this
co-operativerestaurant is to purchase and serve food for payment in cash.
co-operativerestaurant’s membership is composed of all the co-operativerestaurant’s patrons.
co-operativerestaurant began operations by taking five dollar ($5.00) loans from its members until the required start-up sum was collected. These loans will be repaid later.*
- Those individuals who have provided a $5.00 loan and those who pay for meals in advance through the purchase of weekly tickets shall have voting rights for all issues concerning this
co-operativerestaurant shall not pay dividends to its membership and large sums of capital will not be accumulated. Only a small reserve fund of $300 to $500 will be necessary to maintain the restaurant year-round.
- The membership of this
co-operativerestaurant shall elect from among themselves a manager, a 7-member Board of Directors, and other necessary officials.
- The duties of the manager are to handle the
co-operativerestaurant’s finances, maintain bookkeeping, and fulfill tasks as instructed by the Board of Directors. The manager must also obtain a bond in an amount determined by the membership.
- The Board of Directors will be elected and that during every monthly meeting two members will vacate their positions and be replaced by two elected members and every three months three members will be replaced. In this way the term for a member of the Board of Directors will be three months. The Board of Directors is responsible for all of the
- These rules can be amended or supplemented at a membership meeting by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote.
We now have available the Minutes of the Hoito Restaurant, March 27, 1918 to May 2, 1920, newly translated and with an introduction by Saku Pinta. The minutes can be downloaded as a 99 page PDF file.
Introduction: The Origins of the Hoito Restaurant: A History from Below
By Saku Pinta
Then Slim headed to Bay Street, where he read a sign upon a door
Inviting the world workers up onto the second floor
Come right in Fellow Worker, hang your crown upon the wall
And eat at the Wobbly restaurant, you’ll pay no profits there at all
– “The Second Coming of Christ” by Pork-Chop Slim 
In continuous operation in the same location for over 100 years, the Hoito Restaurant has served Finnish and Canadian food in the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario while also serving as an important local landmark and gathering place. The restaurant the New York Times called “arguably Canada’s most famous pancake house” has, since it opened on May 1, 1918, occupied the bottom-floor of the 109-year old Finnish Labour Temple on 314 Bay Street – a building formally recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada in 2011. 
This project is quickly coming to a close, and we are looking forward to getting some more material out to the public very soon!
- Grant money has been spent. Our Finnish Archives Specialist has a few more hours of work to put in before the end of April, and we’re anticipating some new translations and explanatory essays. Watch this site!
- A small physical exhibit of printed signs and copies of key records is being produced. This will be shared at upcoming events this year, and can be available for anyone to borrow.
- Descriptive work is done for CSJ and CTKL records, making these documents much more discoverable and accessible for researchers.
- A project wrap-up event will be held on May 3, 6pm, at the Embassy at 314 Bay Street. Official invitations will be going out shortly. We’ll discuss the project, what we learned, and how we’ll continue to work with these invaluable records of the Finnish-Canadian experience.
The descriptive work was carried out in 1996, but until recently was only available to consult in a paper format. Now all file titles and descriptions are searchable, and can be downloaded as a PDF document.
The CTKL fonds receives its title from Canadan Teollisuusunionistinen Kannatus Liitto, the Finnish organization which translates to the Canadian Industrial Union Support Circle. This organization was the majority shareholder of the Labour Temple at 314 Bay Street in Port Arthur from 1925 to 1972 and was disbanded in 1979. Prior to 1926, the central administration of the CTKL was in Sudbury after which it relocated to Port Arthur.
The CTKL was made up of supporters of industrial unionism who formed associations in their own local communities and observed rules and regulations as established by an executive committee. This executive committee, the Toimeenpanevakomitea (TPK), was comprised of members of the CTKL elected annually from the central administration and from the local associations. This committee managed the affairs of the league and supported industrial unionism through agitation by engaging speakers, supporting workers in their union activities, and through monetary assistance, as well as writing, publishing, and distributing written materials.
We’ve completed a finding aid for the Canadan Suomalainen Järjestö fonds this week.
Records of the Canadan Suomalainen Järjestö [Finnish Organization of Canada], Vapaus Publishing Company (responsible for publishing Vapaus and Liekki and other publications), Suomalais-Canadalaisen Amatoori Urheiluliiton [Finnish-Canadian Amateur Sports Federation], co-operatives, and more.
Includes meeting minutes, reports, financial statements, and correspondence related to the operations and administration of these organizations. Also includes a variety of document and pamphlets related to socialism, communism, and the peace movement in Canada and worldwide.