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Kashubs in Canada

During this year on the vacation trip my son and daughter-in-law met the board with information about 150th anniversary of Kashubs settlements in Canada.


  (photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)

First Kashubians emigrated to Canada in 1858. They came mainly from areas around Kościerzyna and Bytów. Emigrants set off to the new country via Hamburg, on board of “Agda”. They left their homeland in searched for a more comfortable life and freedom. While crossing the wilderness of Canadian “bush”, to eventually reach Ontario, Kashubian emigrants got used to hard work and effort. They settled down in the Renfrew county, where they established own homesteads, parishes and townships, such as Barry’s Bay, Round Lake, or Wilno – named after a priest who accompanied them and whose roots were in Lithuania. (...)
It is a phenomenon that Kashubians in Ontario have managed to pass on the knowledge of their own language up to the 4th generation. They prayed in Polish in church, they communicated in English in school and office, but at home they always spoke Kashubian. Unfortunately civilization processes and the associated assimilation led to the break of this natural transfer. Yet there were Kashubians in the diaspora who decided to preserve and develop their own culture. They founded a non-governmental organization called the Wilno Heritage Society and they established contacts with the Kashubian-Pomerania Association in Poland. This has resulted in the opening of the “Polish Kashub Heritage Museum” in the Canadian Wilno, in annual celebrations of the ‘Kashubian Day’ and in already several trips to the country of their ancestors.

from

http://www.senat.gov.pl/k7/agenda/wydarz/2008/080625.pdf

The first Polish settlement was called WILNO.


(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)

Nowadays, in this place there is a museum where you can see various mementos from Poland and some tools used by first settlers during their work.

(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)

(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)

Among other there is a tool used for removing the roots during clearing the forest.


(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)

Descedants of the first settlers made  commemorative plaques where are the most important information about their ancestors: names an d surnames,names of the places they came from, dates of  coming to Canada and also number of lots they got.

Below some examples of these plaques.

(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)
(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)
(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)
(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)
(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)
(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)
(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)

(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)

It is also worth paying attention to changes in surnames in exile. For instance the common at Kashubian area surname Sczypior. In Wilno there are two streets of familiar name: "Szczypior St.", "Smaglinskie St.".

(photographed by Marzena and Maciej Cichosz)

After looking through these photos I decided to find something in Internet about Polish-Canadian place. I found some interesting websites about the history and present.

It is worth reading!
http://www.senat.gov.pl/k7/agenda/wydarz/2008/080625.pdf
http://www.wilno.com
http://www.wilno.org/2000_etmanski.html
http://www.wilnovillager.on.ca/index.htm

by Janina Cichosz

Translated by Grzegorz Brzoskowski