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Kashubs Celebrate 150 years in Canada - Wilno, August 2, 2008

Large crowds gathered for this milestone anniversary celebration in Wilno and were treated to a day-long program of events that included addresses by Canadian and Polish politicians, words of greeting from special guests from Canada, the U.S.A. and Poland, presentations of medals and citations from the Polish Senate and the Kashubian Pomeranian Association, a historical re-enactment of the arrival of the first Kashubs to Canada in 1858, the official opening and first viewing of the museum's heritage farmhouse, music, song, dance, Polish style food and a beer garden. [Photos from Eganville Leader]

Senator Kazimierz Kleina presented medals of merit and citations on behalf of the Senate of the Republic of Poland to the following individuals: [to see a photograph of the recipient please click on their name.  Photos compliments of the Eganville Leader]

David Shulist for his untiring and passionate promotion of   the Kashub culture in Canada, for creating Kashub Day, multi-cultural sporting events and Radio Kaszb;

Shirley Mask Connolly for her profound knowledge of the history of the Kashubs and for her activities as a writer and curator of the Polish Kashub Heritage Museum in Wilno;

Ed Chippior for his role as the heritage director who started the building of the Heritage Park through his donations of the first pioneer buildings, the log shanty and shed; also for creating the new 150th logo;

Martha Linton for her role in promoting Polish and Kashubian songs;

Anna Zurakowski, president of the Polish Heritage Institute Kaszuby,
and Thad Kay, Vice President, for promoting the Polish culture and building relations between the Polish Kashubian cultures in Canada.

Agatha Dombroskie for producing the Canadian  Kashub cookbook.

Theresa Chapeskie for her role as Kashubian embroidery director and spearheading Kashub embroidery classes in local schools.

Don Burchat for his activities as the Polish Kashub furniture director, producing and promoting furniture made in the traditional style by the original Polish Kashub cabinetmakers in Canada.

Recipients not in attendance: John Glofcheskie of Vancouver for producing and preserving music from the past by recording and writing about the music of the Kashubian ancestors; Julian Kulas, for his role as the Kashubian language director working on a Canadian Kashub English dictionary;

Also not in atttendance, Stanley Wesierski, the owner of a bakery in Toronto, for his annual Kashub Day donation of a van-full of Polish style donuts; also for donating Kashub costumes and promoting Kashub culture in Toronto.

Mr. Artur Jablonski, President of Kashubian Pomeranian Association in Poland praised the local Kashub community for the way they have preserved their culture for 150 years and brought gifts for Heritage Society; also medals for David, Shirley and Martha; also for Ray Chapeskie for his role as co-host of Radio Kaszb.

W. Lizon, K. Kleina, P. Konowrocki, C. Gallant, J. Yakabuski & A. Sopa

Distinguished guest speakers included Cheryl Gallant, MP Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, who as representative of the Government of Canada brought greetings and congratulations.  Special thanks to the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, Government of Canada, for their contribution of $15,000 towards the 150th Anniversary Celebration costs.

Cheryl Gallant
John Yakabuski

John Yakabuski, MPP and Kashubian descendant brought congratulations from the Government of Ontario and spoke eloquently about the courage and determination of the first Kashubs to survive.

Other distinguished guest speakers included Wladyslaw Lizon, President of Canadian Polish Congress, Kazimierz Kleina, Polish Senator, Artur Jablonski, President of the Kashubian Pomeranian Association of Poland,  Piotr Konowrocki, Consul General of the Republic of Poland, Adeline Sopa, Representative of  the Kashubs in the U.S.A., Mary Jane Zdroik, President of the Polish Lectures Group, Wisconsin & Eugeniusz Pryczkowski, Kashubian author and scholar. (Please click on name to see photo.)

One of the highlights of the celebration was the official opening of the heritage farmhouse - symbolizing the cultural home today's descendants of the 1st Kashubian immigrants have made for their heritage in Canada.

Ambrose Adamchick and Mary Borutski cut ribbon, 
along with other senior Kashubian descendants
& David Shulist
officially unlocks the door
Msgr. Pick blesses house

Monsignor Ambrose Pick blesses the farmhouse and David Shulist officially opens the farmhouse as part of the Polish Kashub Heritage Museum at Wilno.

Sarah Chippior

Another highlight of the August 2 celebration, was the narrative and historical re-enactment of the coming of the first Kashubs in 1858. Sarah Chippior, a direct descendant of the Szczypior family who were with the first group of Kashubs, told the story of her immigrant ancestors. Young people from the Bloskie, Burchat and Platt families staged the re-enactment.

Re-enactment of the coming of the first Kashubs

Sarah Chippior spoke of  Kashubian traditions that were kept in Canada and traditions that were lost - like Kashubian Dances. Sarah demonstrated step-dancing in the Ottawa Valley style, and Marta Janczarski and the Dance Group Polanie from Ottawa, demonstrated Kashubian Dances. For more information on Dance, please CLICK HERE. As a finale, the young people all danced together symbolizing the re-connection of the Canadian Kashubs with their cultural roots and the desire of the descendants of the Canadian Kashubs to continue to celebrate and commemorate their heritage.

The official celebration was followed by a wonderful afternoon of entertainment, delicious Polish food and a beer garden featuring Wilno's own 150th Anniversary Heritage beer.

Polish Folk Band, Ludowa Nuta from Hamilton
Stoppa Lake Melodiers
Martha Linton & Richard Sernoskie
John McClement [descendant of the first Szulist family] 
& Ray Chapeskie

The celebration included a Cultural Showcase focusing on Kashubian language, music, embroidery, food and furniture in Canada. Dance was included in the Anniversary program

Ed Iwanchuk, 
Collector of Wilno Furniture
participates in exhibit
& shares his expertise
Zigmund, Phylis & Margaret Biernaski
Mildred Petroskie, Membership

& the memory will live on. Thousands of photos were taken and the 150th Events were very well-covered by a variety of Canadian and Polish newspapers and film makers- including Kashubian film maker, Marian Gorlikowski, of TV Gdansk. Some of these films will be shown as part of our Heritage Day Film Festival in February 2009.
Special thanks to those who shared photos of the 150th Anniversary Events including Gerald Tracey from the Eganville Leader, Brian Braceland, Sharon Blomfield, George Pachulski, David Shulist, Ed Chippior, Shirley Mask Connolly, Jeff and Karen Connolly, Marian Gorlikowski, and many others.

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