Polish Canadians

Polish Canadians

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Polish Canadian

Wayne GretzkyPeter Gzowski
poptime = 817,085
2.76% of the Canadian Population
flagicon|Canada flagicon|Poland
popplace = Ontario, Western Canada, Atlantic Canada, Quebec
langs = English, Polish, French
rels = Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish
related-c = Polonia, Western Slavs

Polish Canadians are Canadians of Polish ancestry. According to the 2001 census by Statistics Canada, 817,085 Canadians claim full or partial Polish ancestry.Statistics Canada, [http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/demo26a.htm Population by selected ethnic origins, by province and territory] , 2001 Census, last modified: 2005-01-25. Accessed 2008-01-03.]


The earliest Polish immigrants to Canada were members of the Watt and De Meuron military regiments from Saxony and Switzerland sent overseas to help the British Army in North America. Several were émigrés from Poland who took part in the November Uprising of 1830 and the 1863 insurrection against the Russian occupation of their own homeland. [Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2002, [http://www.biblioteka.info/archive.htm Archival Sources for the Study of Polish Canadians.] Accessed 2008-01-03]

The first Polish immigrant on record, Dominik Barcz, is known to have come to Canada in 1752. He was a fur merchant from Gdańsk who settled in Montreal. He was followed in 1757 by Charles Blaskowicz, who worked as deputy surveyor-general of lands. In 1776 arrived army surgeon, August Franz Globensky. His grandson, Charles Auguste Maximilien Globensky was elected to the House of Commons in Ottawa in 1875.

In 1841, Casimir Stanislaus Gzowski arrived in Canada from the partitioned Poland via U.S.A. and for 50 years worked in engineering, military and community sectors in Toronto and Southern Ontario, for which he was knighted by Queen Victoria.

Charles Horecki immigrated in 1872. He was an engineer with the cross-Canada railway construction from Edmonton to the Pacific Ocean through the Peace River Valley. Today, a mountain and a body of water in British Columbia are named after him.


The first significant group of Polish group-settlers were Kashubians from Northern Poland, who were escaping Prussian oppression resulting from the occupation. They arrived in Renfrew County of Ontario in 1858, where they founded the settlements of Wilno, Barry’s Bay, and Round Lake. By 1890 there were about 270 Kashubian families working in the Madawaska Valley of Renfrew County, mostly in the lumber industry of the Ottawa Valley.

The consecutive waves of Polish immigrants in periods from 1890-1914, 1920-1939, and 1941 to this day, settled across Canada from Cape Breton to Vancouver, and made numerous and significant contributions to the agricultural, manufacturing, engineering, teaching, publishing, religious, mining, cultural, professional, sports, military, research, business, governmental and political life in Canada.

Religious services, first Churches

The first Polish Catholic priest visited Polish immigrants in 1862 in Kitchener. The first church serving Polish immigrants was built in 1875 in Wilno, Ontario. In Winnipeg, the Holy Ghost Church was built in 1899.

The first Polish-Canadian Roman Catholic bishop is Reverend Mathew Ustrzycki, consecrated in June 1985, auxiliary bishop of the Hamilton Diocese. There are Polish-Canadian priests in many congregations and orders, such as the Franciscans, Jesuits, Redemptorists, Saletinians, Resurrectionists, Oblates, Michaelites, and the Society of Christ. In addition, 80 priests are serving in 120 parishes.

The Victoria Cross

Polish-Canadians have been recognized by awards and appointments by the Queen, and the Canadian governments, universities and various organizations. Notably: : Andrew Mynarski, pilot-gunner from Winnipeg, awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for extreme valor in World War II

Polish Canadian communities

* Alberta
** Calgary, Alberta
** Edmonton, Alberta

* British Columbia
** Vancouver, British Columbia
** Victoria, British Columbia

* Manitoba
** Winnipeg, Manitoba

* Ontario
** Mississauga, Ontario
** Ottawa, Ontario
** Toronto, Ontario
*** Roncesvalles Village
** Wilno, Ontario

* Quebec
** Montreal, Quebec
** Quebec City, Quebec

Polish Canadian recipients of the Order of Canada

:*Irena Ungar, Citizenship Judge :*Stefan Sznuk, Group Captain :*Rev. Anthony Hylla, Oblate priest:*Rev. Michael Smith, missionary Oblate priest :*Rt. Rev. Monsignor Anthony Gocki of Regina :*B. Dubienski of Winnipeg, lawyer:*Peter Taraska of Winnipeg, Knight of St. Gregory, alderman and citizenship judge:*Casimir Stanczykowski of Montreal, multilingual radio station founder and broadcaster :*Captain Andrew Garlicki of Ottawa :*Jan Drygala of Oshawa, WWII staff-sergeant of the Polish Army.:*Dr. Henry Wojcicki, Edmonton, distinguished psychiatrist, Univ. of Alberta senator [http://www.wcr.ab.ca/news/2007/0115/wojcicki011507.shtml]

Polish Canadian Queen’s Counsels and lawyers appointed as judges

:Their Honors:*Judge Allan H. J. Wachowich, of the Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton:*Judge P. Swiecicki, of the Superior Court of BC in Vancouver:*Judge Paul Staniszewski, of Toronto, Montreal and the County Court of Windsor:*Judge E.F. Wrzeszczinski-Wren, of the County Court of Toronto.

Notable Polish Canadians

cience and Engineering

* Witold Rybczynski - architect, professor and writer
* Jan Żurakowski of the Avro Aircraft Company in Malton, awarded Canada’s top Aviation Award, the McKee Trophy in 1959
* P. Wyszkowski, Chief Structural Engineer of Toronto’s Bloor Street subway
* Dr. Tadeusz Blachut of Ottawa, member of the National Research Council, a photogram metric expert
* Z. Krupski, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Bell Telephone company of Canada
* J. Norton-Spychalski, a co-founder of the Computing Devices of Canada in 1949


* Izaak Helmuth, from Warsaw, via England, one of the founders of the University of Western Ontario.


* Leon David Crestohl - Liberal MP Cartier 1950-1963
* Jan Dukszta - former Ontario NDP MPP
* Gary Filmon - former Premier of Manitoba
* Jesse Flis - Liberal MP Parkdale—High Park 1979-1984; 1988-1997
* Casimir Gzowski - Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
* Stanley Haidasz - Liberal MP Trinity 1957-1958, Minister of State, Senator
* Stan Kazmierczak Keyes - former national chair of Liberal Party of Canada; Liberal MP Hamilton West 1988-2004
* Alexandre Edouard Kierzkowski - Liberal MP St. Hyacinthe 1867-1970, First MP of Polish Decent
* Ken Kowalski, former Deputy Premier of Alberta, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
* Don Mazankowski - Deputy Prime Minister for Brian Mulroney, Progressive Conservative MP Vegreville 1968-1993
* Gary Malkowski - former Ontario NDP MPP, Canada's first deaf parliamentarian
* Fred Rose - Labour Progressive (Communist) MP Cartier 1943-1947; his capture as a Soviet spy helped to start the Cold War
* Paul Yakabuski - former Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP
* Edward Ziemba - former Ontario NDP MPP
* Elaine Ziemba - former Ontario NDP MPP

Public Service

* Frank Glogowski - Vice-Chairman of the Immigration Appeal Board
* Stan Zybala - a Deputy-Director of the Multicultural Directorate
* Irene Ungar of Toronto - Citizenship Court Judge
* Peter Taraska of Winnipeg - Citizenship Court Judge


* Tadeusz Biernacki - conductor, pianist, arranger
* Basia Bulat - singer-songwriter
* Steve Jocz - drummer for Sum 41
* Ben Kowalewicz - lead singer for Billy Talent
* Karolina Ingleton - singer/songwriter
* Daniel Wnukowski - pianist
* Geddy Lee - bassist, keyboardist and lead vocalist for Rush
* Janina Fijalkowska - renown pianist, born in Montreal [http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=U1ARTU0001204]
* Marek Jablonski - pianist-virtuoso, born in Cracow [http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=U1ARTU0001728]

Culture and Media

* Peter Gzowski - broadcaster, writer and reporter
* Adam Smoluk - director, screenwriter and actor
* Mark Starowicz - head of CBC Television Documentary Programming unit, journalist and TV producer
* Anne Mroczkowski - journalist, news anchor
* George Radwanski - Editor-in-Chief of the Toronto Star
* Chava Rosenfarb - novelist, poet in Yiddish, wife of Henry Morgentaler
* Richard Tylman - poet in English and Polish, essayist, translator, and painter
* William Kurelek - artist and writer, Member of the Order of Canada
* Rafal Heydel-Mankoo - historian and royal commentator for CTV
* Bogdan Czaykowski - poet, translator, essayist
* Wacław Iwaniuk - arguably the most prominent Polish Canadian poet [ [http://biblioteka.info/archive.htm#5 Archival Sources for the Study of Polish Canadians ] ]
* Andrzej Busza - poet,
* Bogumil Pacak-Gamalski, [ [http://pacak-gamalski.com/index_pliki/Page316.htm in English ] ] poet, essayist, editor-in-Chief of annual "Strumien" [ [http://rocznik.strumien.pacak-gamalski.com strumien rocznik ] ]


* Magda Apanowicz - actress


* Andrew Charles Mynarski - VC, Second World War airman
* Stefan Sznuk - Major General.


* Turk Broda - ice hockey goalie
* Tomasz Radzinski - soccer player
* Wojtek Wolski - Colorado Avalanche Player NHL
* Jim Peplinski - Calgary Flames NHL
* Larry J. Trader - played for Detroit, St. Louis, Montreal, 1982-1988. Cousin of former NHL player Jim Peplinski. ... Came from family of Polish ancestry that had settled in Barry's Bay, Ontario. The family's last name in Poland was Treder.
* Wayne Gretzky - former hockey star and currently coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. His father is of ethnic Polish heritage.
* Chris Pozniak - soccer player who currently plays for San Jose Earthquakes.
* Rafael Kalamat - golf professional
* Michael Klukowski - soccer player for Club Brugge

Other Polish Canadians

* Mary (Fock) Moberly, mother of Walter Moberly (engineer)
* Janusz Żurakowski, Battle of Britain fighter pilot, Test pilot of the Avro Arrow

Fictional Characters

* Sasquatch (comics), a Marvel superhero

ee also

* Great Emigration
* Canada
* Canadian-Polish Congress
* Polish Americans
* Wilno, Ontario
* Polish Cathedral style of North American church architecture
* Roncesvalles Village - Polish community in Toronto, Ontario


External links

* [http://www.kpk.org Canadian Polish Congress]

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