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2009 was another amazing year for the Wilno Heritage Society.
The big event was August 16, 2009 at a Special World Kashub Day Celebration in Szymbark, Poland,  for the official opening of the heritage log buildings shipped from Canada. Eight representatives of the Society were in Poland for the event.

Group from Canada being presented in Poland
Wilno Heritage Representatives from left: David Shulist, President, Ed Chippior, Executive Director, Shirley Mask Connolly, Museum Curator, Sarah Chippior, Don Etmanski, Richard Shulist, Aloysius Blank, Joe Shulist.

Many very important people attended the opening that celebrated Canada’s Kashubs including Lech Walesa [second from the left in photo below].

David Shulist accepts Award for the Wilno Heritage Society

We were greatly honoured to share the stage with Mr. Walesa and a number of other distinguished people including Artur Jablonski [far right], President of the Kashubian Pomeranian Association,  and Daniel Czapiewski,  creator of the museum at Szymbark.

But to go back to the beginning of this incredible story, we must rewind the clock to August, 2008. It  all started when Daniel Czapiewski visited Wilno for the 150th Anniversary and decided that he would like a couple of old log buildings from the Canadian Kashubian community at his museum in Poland. Daniel found help from David Shulist, President of the Wilno Heritage Society.

David and Daniel in Heritage Park in Wilno
Two people with a passion for all things Kashub—
David Shulist [left] and Daniel Czapiewski [right]

To see how these two made history happen and moved the buildings
from Canada to Poland, Click Here.

To see what the buildings and Canadian Exhibit
look like now in Poland, Click Here.

But back home in Canada’s First Polish Settlement and Kashubian Community, there was lots of excitement too,  as the Wilno Heritage Society accepted a very important pioneer building to add to the Museum in Wilno – the workshop of Wilno’s first blacksmith, Leon Ostrowski.

Group in front of small log building, holding tools made by hand in the blacksmith shop

This unique log building was donated by Leon’s grandson, Ambrose Ostroskie, seen third from left in the photo above. Also in the photo, Society executive directors, from left: Teenie Mask, Shirley Mask Connolly, David Shulist, Ursula Jeffrey and Ed Chippior.

On October 10, 2009, the Wilno Heritage Society in conjunction with the Township of Madawaska Valley,  officially opened the Opeongo Heritage Trail.

Participating in the Ribbon Cutting, from left, Ursula Jeffrey, Bob Kulas, Craig Kelly, David Shulist, Lynne Postill Visutskie, Teenie Mask, Ed Chippior and Shirley Mask Connolly. The trail is dedicated to the Polish Kashub, Irish, German and other pioneers who travelled this road and came to this area in quest of a better life.  Also, 2009 marked 150 years since the first Kashubian immigrants received their Canadian land allocations on the Opeongo Colonization Road.  Please note that the boardwalk to cross the swamp and connect the two ends of the trail is scheduled to be built in the spring of 2010.

In October, 2009, David Shulist and Shirley Mask Connolly were flown to Poland as representatives of the Wilno Heritage Society, which was honoured to be chosen as a recipient of the Diploma of the Minister of Foreign Affairs,  presented on October 22, 2009 at the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw.

On behalf of the Wilno Heritage Society, Shirley and David accept the Diploma from Mr. Radisław Sikorski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

The Diploma of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Outstanding Services for the Promotion of Poland is given in "recognition and gratitude to those who have contributed to building a distinctive and objective image of Poland around the world".

The Wilno Heritage Society was also a recipient of the Florian Ceynowa "Budziciel Kaszubów" / "Awakening Kashubians" Award in Szymbark, Poland, on August 16, 2009.  Florian Ceynowa (1817–1881) was a doctor, political activist, writer and linguist who undertook efforts to identify the Kashubian language, culture and traditions and is recognized as the individual who awakened Kashubian self-identity.

We remember Rev. Fr. Aloysius Rekowski, who inspired us so profoundly and awakened our Kashubian identity and we thank the many people who have given so generously of their time, talents and resources to make the Polish Kashub Heritage Museum/Park and cultural projects much bigger and much better than ever imagined possible.  The recognition of the efforts of the Wilno Heritage Society that were received in Poland,  bring honour to all those who helped in anyway to commemorate and celebrate our unique Polish Kashub heritage in Canada.

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For more information on the Wilno Heritage Society e-mail: