Ontario's Historical Plaques 


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Canada's First Polish Settlement

Canada's First Polish Settlement

Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted July, 2005

Canada's First Polish Settlement

Photo by contributor Brian Bockus - Posted May, 2017

Plaque Location

The County of Renfrew
The Township of Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards
In a picnic area in a pull-off on the south side of Highway 60
about 1 km east of Wilno


Coordinates: N 45 31.244 W 77 31.810

Map

Plaque Text

The first group of Polish immigrants to Canada, some 300 in number, established a settlement in this area in 1864. Adverse social conditions and political unrest in their partitioned homeland had encouraged them to leave. They cleared the land and rapidly established a thriving agricultural community. During the 1880's the village founded here was called Wilno after the birthplace of the Reverend Ludwik Dembski one of their spiritual leaders. In 1875 the parish of Wilno was organized and a chapel dedicated to the polish saint Stanislaus Kostka, was built. The Canadian Atlantic Railway linked Wilno with Ottawa in 1894. This district, which received a new wave of Polish immigrants in the early 1900's, retains much of its cultural heritage.

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