Anna Kaljas: The Untold Story

The story of Kitchener-Waterloo's 'The Snake Lady', a quirky middle-aged woman who ran a shelter on Frederick Street .

Extra show added Oct 8th at 2:15pm

“Anna Kaljas: The Untold Story” explores the remarkable life of a passionate social justice advocate who came to Canada as a refugee from Estonia after World War II and ended up as a member of the Order of Canada.

Anna Kaljas believed that one person could make a difference – something she proved time and again. Anna’s example endures as the measure of how we must care for each other.

Throughout her life (1912- 2010), Anna Kaljas opened her heart and often her home to those whom society had left behind. She was a courageous leader, compassionate caregiver, a teacher and mentor.
She cared for the addicted, troubled youth, the mentally ill, unhoused people – anyone who struggled to make their way was welcomed at her home.
Shortly after she arrived in Canada in 1951, Anna Kaljas created a shelter for people in need. She financed her first house in downtown Kitchener with earnings from her job as a nurse’s aide at the local hospital. Eventually she owned four more neighbouring houses. Her radical outreach upset bureaucrats, but won the hearts of the community.

The film is a sweeping view of Anna’s life from childhood to contemporary times. It chronicles her early years in Estonia, her arduous escape from the Soviet occupation of her homeland and her new life in Canada. It is not only a retrospective of Anna Kaljas’ life and its impact on “her people”, family and friends, but it also re-frames her example as a beacon of hope in today’s housing crisis.

Dwight Storring has over 25 years’ experience in journalism and filmmaking.
His feature-length documentary Finding John Lingwood ran at the Princess Cinema in 2018. Dog’s Best Friend, a series of video shorts, ran on Bell Media’s Fibe 1 TV in 2020. Past projects include fundraising videos for the House of Friendship and Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region.


No screenings currently scheduled.

Another U7 Solutions - Web-based solutions to everyday business problems. solution.