Polish Canadians
Canadiens polonais
Polonia w Kanadzie
Polish Canadians as % of population by area
Total population
(by ancestry, 2011 Census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Ontario, Western Canada, Atlantic Canada,  Quebec

Polish · Canadian English · Canadian French


Christianity (Roman Catholicism · Protestantism · Orthodox Christian) · Judaism[2]

Related ethnic groups

West Slavs · Polish Americans

Polish Canadians are citizens of Canada with Polish ancestry, and Poles who immigrated to Canada from abroad. At the 2011 Census, there were 1,010,705 Canadians who claimed full or partial Polish ancestry.[1]


The first Polish immigrant on record, Dominik Barcz, came to Canada in 1752. He was a fur merchant from Gdańsk who settled in Montreal. He was followed in 1757 by Charles Blaskowicz, a 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.

Among 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.[3]

Sir Casimir S. Gzowski from Historic Sites of Ontario

Canada provinces 1867–1870

In 1841, Casimir Stanislaus Gzowski arrived in Canada from the partitioned Poland via the US, and for 50 years worked in the engineering, military and community sectors in Toronto and Southern Ontario, for which he was knighted by Queen Victoria. His great-grandson, Peter Gzowski, became one of Canada's famous radio personalities.

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.

Polish immigration stopped during World War I and between the wars, over 100,000 Polish immigrants arrived in Canada.[4]


See also Kashubians#Diaspora

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[]

All Polish Canadians including their descendants are encouraged by organizations such as the Congress, to preserve their background and retain some ties with Poland and its people. In the past, the most significant role in the preservation of various aspects of Polish traditions and customs among the Polish communities in Canada fell for the Polish urban parishes, which retain the use of Polish language during services.[5]

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 with the church in Winnipeg publishing the first Polish newspaper in Canada, Gazeta Katolicka in 1908.[6] In Sydney, Nova Scotia, St. Mary's Polish Parish was established in 1913 by immigrant steelworkers and coal miners, many of whom had previously formed the St. Michael's Polish Benefit Society (est. 1909). The parish remains the only Polish parish in Atlantic Canada, although there is a Polish mission (St. Faustina) in Halifax.

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 serve in 120 parishes.

Toronto Memorial to Katyn

Largest Polish Canadian communities[]

The Pope John Paul II statue, Toronto

The largest Polish festival in Canada, held annually in Roncesvalles, Toronto

The Victoria Cross[]

Numerous Polish-Canadians have been recognized with awards and appointments by the Queen and the Canadian governments as well as universities and various organizations. One of the most notable recipients was Andrew Mynarski, pilot-gunner from Winnipeg, awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for extreme valor in World War II.

Polish Canadian recipients of the Order of Canada[]

  • Mary Adamowska Panaro, C.M. Winnipeg, Welfare Council of Winnipeg[7]
  • Dr. Henry Wojcicki – Edmonton, distinguished psychiatrist, University of Alberta senator[8]
  • Dr.Tom Brzustowski Waterloo, president of NSERC
  • Walter Gretzky, Brantford, Ontario, Canada

Polish Canadian Queen’s Counsels and lawyers appointed as judges[]

Their Honours [9]
  • Judge Paul Staniszewski – of Toronto, Montreal and the County Court of Windsor
  • Judge Alfred Harold Joseph Swencisky – of the Superior Court of BC in Vancouver; past president of the Vancouver Hospital Association[10]
  • Judge P. Swiecicki – of the Superior Court of BC in Vancouver
  • Judge Allan H. J. Wachowich – of the Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton
  • Chief Judge Edward R. Wachowich - of the Provincial Court of Alberta (deceased 2012)
  • Judge E.F. Wrzeszczinski-Wren – of the County Court of Toronto[9]

Notable Polish Canadians[]

Science and engineering[]

  • Jerzy Adamuszek - geographer
  • Casimir Gzowski – engineer who worked on Welland Canal, New York & Erie Railway (first Commissioner of the Niagara Parks Commission)
  • Leon Katz, FRSC (1909–2004) – Officer of the Order of Canada, Professor University of Saskatchewan, physicist
  • Karol Józef Krótki, FRSC – demography professor, statistician
  • Witold Rybczynski – architect, professor and writer
  • Lucas Skoczkowski – founder and CEO of Redknee
  • Adam Skorek – professor of electrical and computer engineering
  • Nicole Tomczak-Jaegermann, FRSC – mathematics professor
  • Janusz Żurakowski – Battle of Britain fighter pilot


  • Isaac Hellmuth – from Warsaw, via England; one of the founders of the University of Western Ontario
  • Conrad Swan – descended from Polish noble family, Swiecicki; first Canadian appointed to the College of Arms in London
  • Zygmunt Misiak - WW2 baby Polish refugee, author, First Nations history/culture, Brantford Ontario,


  • Leon David Crestohl – former Liberal MP, Cartier, (1950–1963)
  • Bonnie Crombie – former Liberal MP, Mississauga—Streetsville (2008-2011), Mayor of Mississauga, Ontario (2014–present)
  • Jan Dukszta – former Ontario NDP MPP, Parkdale (1971–1981)
  • Gary Filmon – former Premier of Manitoba (1988-1999), Manitoba PC MLA, River Heights (1979-1981) and Tuxedo (1981-2000)
  • Jesse Flis – former Liberal MP Parkdale—High Park (1979–1984; 1988–1997)
  • Casimir Gzowski – Acting Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (1896-1897)
  • Stanley Haidasz – former Liberal MP for Trinity (1957–1958) and Parkdale (1962–1978); Minister of State for Multiculturalism (1972-1974); Senator (1978–1998)
  • Andrew Kania – former Liberal Member of Parliament for Brampton West (2008–2011)
  • Stan Kazmierczak Keyes – former national chair of Liberal Party of Canada (2002-2004); Liberal MP Hamilton West (1988–2004); Minister of National Revenue, Minister of State (Sport), Minister Responsible for the Canada Post Corporation and Minister Responsible for the Royal Canadian Mint (2003-2004)
  • Alexandre-Édouard Kierzkowski – former Liberal MP St. Hyacinthe (1867–1870), First MP of Polish Descent
  • Tom KmiecConservative MP, Calgary Shepard (2015–present)
  • Chris Korwin-Kuczynski – former Toronto city councillor (1981–2003)
  • Ken Kowalski – former Deputy Premier of Alberta (1992-1994), former Alberta Government Minister, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta (1997-2012), Alberta PC MLA (1979-2012)
  • Wladyslaw Lizon – former Conservative MP for Mississauga East-Cooksville (2011–2015) and former president of the Canadian Polish Congress (2005-2010)
  • Thomas Lukaszuk – former Deputy Premier of Alberta (2012-2013), former Alberta Government Minister (2010-2014), and PC MLA for Edmonton-Castle Downs (2001-2015)
  • Gary Malkowski – former Ontario NDP MPP, York East (1990-1995), Canada's first deaf parliamentarian
  • Don Mazankowski – former Deputy Prime Minister for Brian Mulroney (1986-1993), former federal government Minister (1979-1980; 1984-1993), Progressive Conservative MP Vegreville (1968–1993)
  • Peter Milczyn – former Member of Toronto City Council (2000–2014), current Liberal MPP Etobicoke—Lakeshore (2014–present)
  • Ted Opitz – former Conservative MP for Etobicoke Centre (2011-2015)
  • Fred Rose – former Labor-Progressive (Communist) MP Cartier (1943–1947); only MP ever convicted of spying for a foreign country, his capture as a Soviet spy helped to start the Cold War
  • John Yakabuski – Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke (2003–present), son of Paul Yakabuski
  • Paul Yakabuski – former Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP, (1963-1987), father of John Yakabuski
  • Ed Ziemba – former Ontario NDP MPP, High Park—Swansea (1975–1981), brother-in-law of Elaine Ziemba
  • Elaine Ziemba – former Ontario NDP MPP, High Park—Swansea (1990–1995), sister-in-law of Ed Ziemba


  • Dan Bryk – singer-songwriter
  • Walter Buczynski – composer
  • Basia Bulat – singer-songwriter
  • Captain G.Q. – singer-songwriter
  • Anna Cyzon – singer-songwriter
  • Janina Fialkowska – pianist, born in Montreal[11]
  • Marek Jablonski – pianist-virtuoso, born in Cracow[12]
  • Steve Jocz – drummer for Sum 41
  • Wanda Kaluzny – conductor
  • Ben Kowalewicz – lead singer for Billy Talent
  • Olenka Krakus – singer-songwriter
  • Geddy Lee – bassist, keyboardist and lead vocalist for Rush
  • Jan Lisiecki – pianist-virtuoso, born in Calgary
  • Margaret Maye – singer and actress
  • Kinga Mitrowska – singer
  • Andrzej Rozbicki – conductor
  • Jacob Kuba Rybicki – music producer, born in Toronto
  • Daniel Wnukowski – pianist
  • Kornel Wolak – clarinet virtuoso

Culture and media[]

  • Andrzej Busza – poet
  • Bogdan Czaykowski – poet, translator, essayist
  • Alex Debogorski – veteran ice road trucker on the television series Ice Road Truckers
  • Peter Gzowski – broadcaster, writer and reporter
  • Wacław Iwaniuk – poet in Polish, literary critic and essayist[13]
  • Jacqueline Milczarek – journalist, news anchor
  • Anne Mroczkowski – journalist, news anchor
  • Estanislao (Stan) Oziewicz - journalist, The Globe and Mail
  • Bogumil Pacak-Gamalskipoet, essayist, editor-in-chief of Strumien art annual[14]
  • Antoni Porowski – chef, actor, food and wine expert in the Netflix revival of Queer Eye
  • George Radwanskieditor-in-chief of the Toronto Star
  • Chava Rosenfarb – novelist, poet in Yiddish, wife of Henry Morgentaler
  • Adam Smoluk – director, screenwriter and actor
  • Eva Stachniak – writer
  • Mark Starowicz – head of CBC Television Documentary Programming unit, journalist and TV producer
  • Alexandra Szacka – CBC/Radio-Canada correspondent


  • Magda Apanowicz – actress
  • Lara Jean Chorostecki – actress[15]
  • Henry Czerny – actor
  • Paloma Kwiatkowski – actress[16]
  • Lisa Ray – actress
  • Devon Sawa – actor
  • Aden Strong – voice actor
  • Sammy Strong – voice actor
  • John Vernon - actor
  • August Ames - Actress


  • Andrew Charles Mynarski VC – Second World War airman
  • Walter J. Natynczyk – Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces
  • Stefan Sznuk – Major General


  • Turk Broda – ice hockey goalie
  • Shane Churla – player, NHL
  • Peter Czerwinskicompetitive eater and bodybuilder
  • Gabriela Dabrowski – professional tennis player
  • Wayne Gretzky – hockey legend
  • Michael Klukowski – soccer player for Club Brugge
  • Walter "Killer" Kowalski – professional wrestler
  • Joe KrolToronto Argonauts player
  • Tomasz Kucharzewski – martial artist
  • Stan MikawosWinnipeg Blue Bombers player, CFL
  • Ben Pakulski – professional bodybuilder
  • Jim PeplinskiCalgary Flames, NHL
  • Chris Pozniak – soccer player who currently plays for San Jose Earthquakes
  • Tomasz Radzinski – soccer player
  • Krzysztof Soszynski – mixed martial artist
  • Dave StalaHamilton Tiger-Cats player CFL
  • Trish StratusWWE Diva
  • John Tavares – ice hockey player for the Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Larry Trader – played for Detroit, St. Louis, Montreal, 1982–1988
  • Wojtek Wolski – NHL player
  • Aleksandra Wozniak – professional tennis player
  • Penny Oleksiak - Canadian National Team Swimmer
  • Jamie Oleksiak - NHL Player Dallas Stars
  • Eric Rene Lajczak - bodybuilder ( Mr. Northern Alberta Jun.2015 ). 3-d in Alberta Jun.2017
  • Ashley Arden Lajczak - first Polish female ballroom dancer in Edmonton ( 2008 -2013 )

Fictional characters[]

  • Walter "Sasquatch" Langkowski – a Marvel superhero
  • Jude Lizowski – a 6teen character

See also[]

  • Great Emigration
  • Canadian-Polish Congress
  • Polish Culture Society of Edmonton
  • Polish Americans
  • Polish Cathedral style of North American church architecture
  • Polish British
  • Polish Australians
  • Polish Brazilians
  • Kashubians#Diaspora


  1. ^ a b Statistics Canada. "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Sheldon Kirshner (Sep 15, 2004). "Database" (PDF file, direct download 351 KB). The Polish-Jewish Heritage Foundation of Canada. The Canadian Jewish News, Toronto. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  3. ^ Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2002, Archival Sources for the Study of Polish Canadians. Accessed 2008-01-03
  4. ^ Reczynska, Anna (1996). For bread and a better future : emigration from Poland to Canada, 1918-1939. Toronto: Multicultural History Society of Ontario. p. 8. ISBN 0-919045-70-7. 
  5. ^ Henry Radecki, Ethnic organizational dynamics: the Polish group in Canada. Page 102  Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 1979 – 275 pages
  6. ^ Heydenkorn, Benedykt (Spring–Summer 1982). "Polish press in Canada". Polyphony: The Bulletin of the Multicultural History Society of Ontario 4 (1). Retrieved on 2 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Services, Government of Canada, Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, Information and Media. "Order of Canada". Retrieved 27 May 2018. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-10. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  9. ^ a b CPC. "In the legal profession". Contribution of Poles to the Canadian Society. Canadian Polish Congress. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  10. ^ "FamilySearch". Retrieved 27 May 2018. 
  11. ^ Janina Fialkowska, The Canadian Encyclopedia
  12. ^ Marek Jablonski. The Canadian Encyclopedia
  13. ^ "Registrant WHOIS contact information verification -". Retrieved 27 May 2018. 
  14. ^ Script error: No such module "webarchive".
  15. ^ Storrow, Holly (March 23, 2013). "An interview with ‘Hannibal’ star Lara Jean Chorostecki". The Daily Quirk. 
  16. ^ Schaefer, Glen (June 3, 2012). "Teen actor's career catapults into Hollywood overnight". The Province. Archived from the original on June 15, 2012. 

External links[]