Canada's First Polish Settlement

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 1880s, 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 Railroad linked Wilno with Ottawa in 1894. This district, which received a new wave of Polish immigrants in the early 1990s, retains much of its cultural heritage.


On Shrine Hill Drive, near Our Lady Queen of Poland Roman Catholic Church, off Highway 60 about 1 km east of Wilno

Region: Eastern Ontario

County/District: County of Renfrew

Municipality: Township of Madawaska Valley