Poles in Manitoba
by Darlene Litchie - August, 2003

 

The first Poles to settle in Manitoba were soldiers who formed part of the military escort of the Selkirk expedition, ca 1817. They had served in Napoleon´s army in France and had fallen prisoner to the British. As a condition of the release they volunteered for duty in the colonies.

Poles began to emigrate from Europe and the United States and settle in Manitoba in the late 19th century. Prior to WW1 the flow of immigrant increased as peasants from south east Poland left poverty and overcrowded conditions in search of free land.

The second wave of immigration from Poland occurred between 1918 and 1939. Tradesmen and educated people came after hearing that Canada was the land of opportunity.

During WW11 Polish refugees from all walks of life settled in Manitoba and elsewhere in Canada.

 

 

 

Are you interested in the history of the first Polish pioneers in Canada? In the Footsteps of Polish Pioneers on the Canadian Prairies is out now! The culmination of 15 years of work by Lech and Grazyna Galezowski, this book explores both known and forgotten settlements of early Polish settlers across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. It is a must for anyone who loves Canadian history.

 

Pick up your copy right here at the Cooks Creek Heritage Museum!