Thunder Bay

Finlandia Co-operative of Thunder Bay looks to take over Hoito, Finlandia Hall

The Finlandia Co-operative of Thunder Bay hopes it can pick up, where the Finlandia Association of Thunder Bay has left off.
The newly formed Finlandia Co-operative of Thunder Bay hopes to acquire the Finlandia Hall, which houses the Hoito restaurant, in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Amy Hadley/CBC)

The Finlandia Co-operative of Thunder Bay hopes it can pick up, where the Finlandia Association of Thunder Bay has left off.

The new group hopes to fundraise to acquire the assets of the former association, which voted to dissolve itself on May 20, and liquidate its assets.

The Finlandia Association said it had an outstanding loan for $295,000 plus other debts it was trying to pay off. The association said it missed a payment to RBC on the loan, and the bank called it in, forcing the liquidation.

The new group, the co-operative, spearheaded by Saku Pinta, Heleena Stevens, Paula Happanen, Anneli Tolvanen, Maria Mantyla, Lyndsay Williams and James Taylor, intends to form itself as a registered co-operative.

A media release on the group states the first step is to organize, work with an interim board, and then host an Annual General Meeting to then elect representatives.

"Over 100 years ago, the Finnish immigrant community pulled together its resources during difficult times," the statement read, noting the name of the Hoito Restaurant means "to care."

The release stated the Hoito and Finlandia Hall were originally formed as a co-operative, with its current business model being established in 1974.

"We are fundraising with the goal of buying the Finnish Labour Temple and its properties, including Tapiola, and then restructuring them into a multi-stakeholder cooperative - one that is transparent, democratic and run by you, its members," the news release said.

Anybody who is interested in supporting the group can visit their Facebook page, or e-mail finlandiacoop.tbay@gmail.com.

About the Author

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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