The Canadian-Polish Congress (Polish: Kongres Polonii Kanadyjskiej, KPK), is an umbrella organization founded in 1944 by Polish-Canadians in Canada to coordinate the activities and to articulate the concerns of the Canadian Polish community on public policy issues.
A Brief History of the Canadian Polish Congress – Manitoba Branch
The Province of Manitoba and its capital, Winnipeg, have a prominent place in the history of the Canadian Polish Congress. It was here that in 1932, at the instigation of lawyer Bernard Bronislaw Dubienski, originated the first Polish organization which unified the activities of the Polish community across Canada. Its name was Union of Polish Societies in Canada. In 1944 this organization gave start to the Canadian Polish Congress which then moved the Head Executive office to Toronto, due to the larger number of Polish immigrants in that region.
Although the presence of Poles in Manitoba can be dated to the later part of 18th century; real influx of Polish immigrants started at the beginning of the 19th century. Winnipeg, with it’s central location and the presence of Polish Consulate Office, quickly became the major centre for the Polish community. During the activities of The Union of Polish Societies (1932 -1944) Winnipeg was the home of two Polish Roman Catholic churches (Holy Ghost and St. John Cantius) one Polish National Church and a number of Polish organizations (Holy Ghost Fraternal Aid Society, St John Cantius Fraternal Aid Society, Polish Gymnastic Association “Sokol” Br #1 in North End and another “Sokol” Br. #2 in St Boniface as well as the publisher of a weekly newspaper “Czas”. The only Polish language paper in Western Canada). In 1935, a branch of Polish Scouting Organization was established.
From it’s inception, the Canadian Polish Congress – Manitoba Branch represented the Polish Community in its dealings with the city and provincial Governments, organized and coordinated the activities of the local Polish Community especially in the field of instruction of Polish language, commemoration of anniversaries of events of national significance and, until 1990, spearheaded the efforts in providing political, monetary and medical help for Poland.
Many of the leaders of the Congress were also active in the Canadian Community at large. Their efforts were recognized by the federal and provincial governments.
Some of those were:
B. B. Dubienski
Order of Canada – 1973
Queen’s Commandor Order – 1977
Judge Peter Taraska
Order of Canada – 1982
Order of the Buffalo Hunt, Provost of the Hunt – 1983
Maria Adamowska-Panaro – widely known as “The Mother of the International Centre”
Order of Canada – 1983
Order of the Buffalo Hunt, Provost of the Hunt – 1982