On Finnish ambassador's visit, Canadians need to 'look beyond walls and see bridges'

The Finnish Institute welcomed Vesa Lehtonen, the new head of the Embassy of Finland on his first visit to Sudbury.

Finnish Institute holds luncheon in Copper Cliff for new head of Finland embassy

Vesa Lehtonen assumed the role of Finnish Ambassador to Canada in September 2016. (

Canada and Finland are countries connected by bridges, not walls,  

That's according to Dr. Kevin McCormick, the president and vice-chancellor of Huntington University and the chair of the Canadian Finnish Institute Advisory Board.

McCormick was in Copper Cliff yesterday to welcome Vesa Lehtonen, the new head of the Embassy of Finland  on his first visit to Sudbury.

Lehtonen assumed the role of ambassador in September 2016.

McCormick said it's important to recognize and build on Canada's relationship with the European country — especially in a time where divisive politics can try and break those ties.

"I think it's a time where we need to look beyond walls and barriers and see bridges," McCormick said. "And I'm reminded in Sudbury of the bridge of flags. It's an opportunity to reflect and see that conversations builds community and community builds nations and nations build the world."

As part of his welcome, the Canadian Finnish Institute held a luncheon yesterday afternoon in Copper Cliff.

Lehtonen toured the city, and said that places like Finlandia Village really showed the presence of his home country.

"Finns in Sudbury came together, been active and have been creating major projects for the benefit of not just Finns, but for the whole city," Lehtonen said, "I'd like to see this kind of great cooperation as a model for all the Finns in Canada."

Before heading back to the Finnish embassy in Ottawa, Lehtonen awarded McCormick the Order of the White Rose of Finland, one of three official orders in Finland.


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