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Baltic Water Group Plaque

In 1967, the Water Group “Baltic” placed a plaque in the chapel, in honour of the 10th anniversary of its existence.

Cathedral in the Pines

On July 9, 1956, the Cathedral in the Pines was unveiled, as a place for Polish scouts and tourists to attend Holy Mass on Sundays.

Catholic Youth Centre

The agency was founded by Rev. Rafal Jan Grzondziel in 1953 as a summer vacation spot for Polish-Canadian youth.

Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels

This chapel was built in 1953 by Rev. Rafal Grzondziel, with the help of the locals of Kaszuby, after he purchased grounds near the Catholic Youth Centre.

Chapels in Kaszuby Region

At crossroads, as well as beside roads, one can see small hand-made crosses, pictures or figurines of saints. These unique relics of the Polish tradition have partially vanished due to time and natural elements.

Hill of the Three Crosses

In 1958, three wooden crosses were on the hill near Jaskolski’s Barn.

Jaskolski’s Farm

This 19th-century farm building is located on the grounds that Rev. Rafal Grzondziel purchased from the widow Mary Agnes Jaskolski on July 15, 1953.

Millennium Monument

In 1966, the Millennium Monument of Polish Christianity was built beside the Cathedral in the Pines.

Millennium Stadium

In 1966, the name was given by the Millennium Assembly of Polish Christianity. The Millennium Gate was the project of Henryk Wilk and was realized by Polish scouts.

Polish Scouting Troop “Karpaty” Monument

In 2003, the Polish Scouting Troop “Karpaty” erected a stone monument with a plaque, commemorating the instructors and...

Rev. Rafal Grzondziel Monument

Rev. Rafal Jan Grzondziel passed away on December 22, 1998. He is buried in the new cemetery in Wilno.

Szare Szeregi Monument

Planned and built by Polish scouts, this monument was dedicated during the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising on July 9, 1995, to the ten thousand fallen scouts from “Szare Szeregi”...




Polonia in the Kaszubian Region

A settlement on Wadsworth Lake in Renfrew County, approximately 200 km west of Ottawa, known as Ontario’s Polish Kaszub Heartland. A summer vacation spot for Polish-Canadian cottagers and scouts from across Ontario. The name “Kaszuby” comes from the region of Poland with the same name and was approved on June 9, 1960.

In 1858, the first group of Polish Kaszubs arrived in Renfrew County. These Polish immigrants brought with them the unique Kaszub culture, which consisted of such elements as language, music, dance, food, furnishings, embroidery, and distinctive churches.

The towns of Combermere, Wilno, Round Lake Centre and Barry’s Bay, as well as the densely-forested area encircled by them, are considered part of the Canadian Kaszuby. Many picturesque lakes, such as Wadsworth, Kuiack, Long, Dam, Franks and Gun, are dispersed throughout the region.

In 2008, the 150th anniversary of this region will be celebrated. Because of the numerous Poles residing in Kaszuby and the clear Polish heritage, we can safely refer to this region as “A Little Canadian Poland”. After the Second World War, Polish scouts played an important role in the re-discovery and popularization of this region.

Today, “Kaszuby” is an official settlement administratively separate from the remaining parts of the region previously known as “Kaszuby”. Its history is as follows:

In 1951, the Polish scout group “Tatry”, founded on October 1, 1950, by Jerzy Grodecki, organized an expedition to Wilno and Barry’s Bay. The scouts were so impressed by the region that they, along with scouts from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and other Ontarian cities, prepared the first Assembly of Polish Scouts in Wilno in 1952. Meanwhile, in September 1952, Rev. Rafal Jan Grzondziel, known also as the Franciscan Father Ignatus, came to Canada from the United States. His goal was to create a Catholic Youth Centre in Canada. Equally impressed by the surroundings of Wilno and Barry’s Bay, he purchased grounds by Wadsworth Lake, on which he first built a chapel, and later, a guidance centre for youth. In 1953, the second Assembly of Polish Scouts was organized by the district of “Morskie Oko” on the new grounds. Currently, this place is reserved for the tribe “Baltyk”. Summer events began to be organized for Polish scouts in 1954. Ever since then, Polish scouts spend summers in Kaszuby, inhabited year round by farmers, retirees and small-business owners, demonstrating that this region is growing.

Until 1954, the Polish scouts rented the grounds owned by the Catholic Youth Centre from Rev. Grzondiel. In 1955, the newly-created Committee for the Development of Centres for Scout Use purchased its own terrain. The construction of the first centre for the scout troop “Karpaty” was completed in 1957, and the centre named “Bucze” has been serving the Polish girl scout troop “Watra” since 1959.

In 1961, Rev. Grzondziel became the first Postmaster of the self-created post office in Kaszuby. In this way, he “dotted the i” in terms of the formal confirmation of the settlement’s name “Kaszuby”. It should be noted that the name already appeared on Canadian maps, which is quite an exceptional situation. This was achieved thanks to the determined Rev. Grzondiel who, in 1960, wrote a letter to the Canadian Board of Geographical Names to request a formal confirmation of the name “Kaszuby”. The counsel confirmed the name on June 9, 1960. Rev. Grzondiel believed that the creation of a post office by this name would strengthen its existence in Canadian consciousness.

In August 1976, the second World Scouting Jamboree, organized by Polish scouts, was held in Kaszuby and represented another milestone in the region’s history. Thanks to this event, the entire world came to know the Kaszuby region.

More information:

  • Ickiewicz K., Kaszubi w Kanadzie, Gdańsk 1981
  • Jost I., Osadnictwo kaszubskie w Ontario, KUL, Lublin 1983
  • Jost I., New Documentation on the Ottawa – Opeongo Colonization Road, Revue de l’Université d’Ottawa, 1974
  • Jego Świątobliwości Janowi Pawłowi II, Parafia Matki Boskiej Częstochowskiej w Wilnie, Kanada
  • Komorowski Z., Doroczne zwyczaje świąteczne Kaszubów w Ontario, Studia Polonijne, t.1, 1976
  • Kurelek W., The Polish Canadians, Tundra Books, Montreal, 1981
  • O’Dwyer, W.C., Highways of Destiny, Ottawa, 1964
  • Stolarczyk S., Gdy wspominam Kaszuby, notes kanadyjski, Toronto 2000
  • Szulist W., Polskość kanadyjskich Kaszubów, Studia Polonijne, t. 2, 1978
  • Szulist W., Zasłużeni wśród kaszubskiej Polonii, Przegląd Polonijny, z.3, 1984
  • The Canadian & World Encyclopedia, (McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, 1998).
  • The Proud Inheritance, Ontario’s Kaszuby, ed., Anna Zurakowska, (The Polish Heritage Institute Kaszuby, Ottawa, 1991).
  • The Polish Canadians, by William Kurelek, Tundra Books, Montreal, 1981.
  • The Polish People in Canada, by William Makowski, Tundra Books, Montreal, 1987.