The "On Eagles' Wings" event will be an informal gathering.
- Doors open at noon.
- Restaurant opens at 1:00 pm.
- The event will run from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
- The Tribute will commence at 3:00 pm.
- Our cash bar will be available to all responsible patrons.
- Snack food and beverages will be available at a reasonable cost.
- Dress is casual.
- The English language will be used for displays and the Tribute.
- All of Polish descent are invited to attend and participate.
The event will be held in English. We are fully aware that many members of the second and third generations may not speak
Polish very well, if at all.
Who is Invited?:
All persons of Polish descent are invited to attend and participate in this event. It does not matter if you cannot speak
Polish, nor does it matter if you are only one-half or one-quarter Polish. As long as you have some Polish in you, we invite
you to attend.
All Polish survivors of World War Two will be welcomed as our honoured guests.
Bring your friends and family too.
- Personal histories displayed by both civilian and veteran survivors.
- Tom Bakalarz, militaria specialist for the Polish-Canadian Troyak Stamp and Coin Club (www.TroyakClub.com) will be on hand to help identify Polish WW2 era documents, medals, insignia and photos. Please take advantage
of this unique opportunity and bring your parents' memorablia for identification.
- Poetry, art
- Tidbits of history and information
- Poles in Action During World War Two photo collection.
Survivors are encouraged to bring copies of their memoirs or even just outlines of their life history (in any language).
We will be accepting survivors' recollections and memoirs for our collection and possible non-profit publication.
The children of the survivors have also been affected by World War Two, having been raised by parents and grandparents
who lived through a brutal war. We are also interested in the stories of the second generation.
The Toronto branch of the Polish Combatants Association has a museum.
Should you wish to preserve your WW2 era historical materials for posterity, we will be pleased to accept your donation
of photos, documents, uniforms, medals and other memorabilia. Our role is to act as guardians, not owners, of these
valuable artefacts on behalf of the donors and their families and in the interest of the Polish-Canadian community.
Alternatively, donations may be made to the Col. Orlinski Memorial Museum and Archive located at the Wawel Villa Polish
nursing home in Mississauga, Ontario.
Significant collections may be donated on your behalf to major Polish archives in North America or Europe. For example,
we recently donated one family's large collection of documents to the archives at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution
and Peace at Stanford University in California. The materials have been made available to scholars for research into the Polish
World War Two experience.
Forget-Me-Not Project (Niezapominajki)
Survivors may sign up to be interviewed for our "Forget-Me-Not" project which will further enable us to preserve our heritage.
Various students of Polish history will conduct the interviews at times that are convenient to the survivors and their families.
The survivors may choose to have the interview video or audio taped. These tapes can then be preserved as a family treasure
for many years to come.
Meet and Greet:
Civilian and veteran survivors of World War Two will be present and available to answer your questions. A list follows
(some survivors may not be able to make it at the last minute due to health reasons: unfortunate but true):
- Wladyslawa Boc, survivor of Siberian labour camps.
- Mr. Marceli Ostrowski, former tail-gunner and bomber pilot with the Polish Air Force in Great Britain and current President
of the Polish Combatants Association, Toronto Branch.
- Mrs. H. Kwiatkowska, former messenger for the Armia Krajowa (Home Army), incarcerated at Bergen-Belsen and Oberlangen
following the Warsaw Uprising.
- Mr. Stanislaw Milczynski, former AK (Home Army) combatant, pseudonym "Gryf", company commander during the Warsaw Uprising,
- Mr. Adam Kreutzer, former soldier and current President of the First Polish Armoured Division in Canada.
- Mr. Bob Gondek, former infantry soldier, 3rd Carpathian Division, Polish 2nd Corps and current National Director for the
War Amputations, Toronto Region.
- Mr. Michael Adamski, slave labourer in Germany, refugee at Wildflecken Displaced Persons (DP) Camp.
- Dr. Andrew Garlicki, artillery, Polish Second Corps, and current President of the Polish Combatants Association in Canada,
Head Executive Board.
The following excellent, English-language documentaries will be played on our large screen TV:
- 1:00 pm: A Forgotten Odyssey, by Jagna Wright and Aneta Naszynska
- 2:00 pm: Eagle Media Productions' Europe's Secret Armies: The Polish Resistance (approx. 50 minutes)
The event is free of charge.
THE RESTAURANT WILL BE OPEN FROM 1:00 PM AND WILL BE SERVING UP A SIMPLE BUFFET OF TYPICAL POLISH SPECIALTIES.
The restaurant is open weekly, on Thursday nights, for dinner, from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm and it also provides catering
to the various events held at the hall. The cooking is done by Polish mothers so there are no fancy foods here but rather
good, old-fashioned Polish food which may contain meat, butter, sour cream, nuts and other wonderful ingredients.
Directions to the Hall:
Note: The Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) becomes known as the Gardiner Expressway east of the Humber River.
Via Highway 401:
From the west: Take Highway 401 to Highway 427. Head southbound on Highway 427 to the QEW. Take the QEW/Gardiner
Expressway east to Spadina Ave. Head north on Spadina Ave. to College Street. Turn right on College Street then right
again on Beverley St. The hall is one block south of College St.
From the east: Take Highway 401 to the Don Valley Expressway (DVP). Head southbound on the DVP to the Gardiner Expressway.
Follow the Gardiner Expressway westbound until Spadina Ave. Head north on Spadina Ave. to College Street. Turn right onto
College Street then right again on Beverley St. The hall is one block south of College St.
Via QEW: Take the QEW/Gardiner Expressway to Spadina Ave. then proceed as above.
You may also click the link immediately below to use Mapquest's direction finder.
CLICK HERE TO VISIT MAPQUEST. Search for 206 Beverley Street, Toronto.
Parking on local streets on a Sunday between the hours of 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm, requires the purchase of a ticket from
one of the high-tech parking meters. The rate is $1.50 per hour with a 3 hour maximum. The meters accept coins, Visa, Mastercard
and American Express. Place the ticket, face up, on the driver's side dashboard.
Out of Town Guests:
Visitors from out of town will be glad to know that the veterans' hall is located in the heart of Toronto, close to the
downtown core. To the south lies the Art Gallery of Ontario and to the north the main campus of the University of Toronto.
The hall is readily accessible from all downtown hotels. It is within walking distance of the subway system and just
one block away from a TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) streetcar stop. The city is also well served by taxis.
Other nearby attractions include Chinatown and the eclectic "school on stilts" structure of the Ontario College
of Art and Design. Queen's Park (Ontario Parliament Bulidings) and The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are also within
walking distance. The stunning Michael Lee-Chin Crystal addition to the ROM is expected to be completed in the summer of 2007.
City Hall (which once made an appearance on an episode of Star Trek: The New Generation), Rogers Centre
(formerly Skydome), home of the Blue Jay baseball team, the Air Canada Centre, home of the Maple Leaf hockey and
Raptors basketball teams and the CN Tower are within easy reach.
Polish Combatants' Association Branch #20
The branch had its origins in the Information and Aid Office opened by the National Association Executive in Toronto
in late 1948. The purpose of the office was to help immigrant combatants locate employment, apartments, etc. The founding
meeting was held on October 3, 1948 with the first meetings held on the premises of Branch #1 of the Polish National
The branch immediately became involved in hosting famous Polish politicians, military leaders and artists. Generals
Wladyslaw Anders and Kazimierz Sosnkowski were among those who visited in those early years.
Not forgetting the soldiers of WW1, the branch also became involved in annual ceremonies at the military cemetery
in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which contains the graves of Polish soldiers who were part of the "Blue Army" of General Haller during
The branch changed the location of its meetings to the parish hall of St. Stanislaw Church, then to the premises of Branch
#114 of SWAP at 783 College St. by early 1950.
Melchior Wankowicz, the famous Polish writer, journalist and author of the well-known, 3 volume
book Bitwa o Monte Cassino, 1st Armoured Division General Stanislaw Maczek and Canadian Generals Crerar
and Simonds all paid visits to the branch.
On September 15, 1956, the branch moved to its current address at 206 Beverley Street, having purchased a building of
their own. By 1957 the Women's Auxiliary had been formed and no less than 14 Polish organizations came to utilize the
branch as their headquarters. The Association then entered its most productive years, organizing many recurring
and special benevolent, social and cultural events during the late 50s and throughout the 1960s.
By 1961, the branch had grown to 660 members (492 infantrymen, 51 Air Force pilots, 43 Home Army soldiers, 29 paratroopers,
9 sailors, 23 family members and 13 supporting members).
In 1961, General Anders visited once again and in 1964 General Bor-Komorowski participated
in the celebrations commemorating the "Anniversary of Great Battles."
The branch received its colours in 1965. They had been designed by the oldest member combatant, Mr. Alfred Birkenmajer,
a former soldier of the Polish Legions during World War One.
The need for more room resulted in the decision to build a new building on the same site rather than renovate the aging,
existing building. After much work, the new building was ready for occupancy by late 1973 (it took until 1987 to
pay off the debt).
Since 1973, the branch continued to be heavily involved in the Polish community in Toronto. For example, the branch
hosted a diverse series of events, from the popular "Krakow" pavillion of the much loved annual Caravan Multicultural
Festival of Toronto to the World Convention of the Polish Air Force.
More distinguished guests attended events at the branch including Comdr. B. Wronski, Bishop Szczepan Wesoly and Cardinals
Wladyslaw Rubin and Jozef Glemp.
More recently in May, 2004, the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino was commemorated by the visit of
the General Wladyslaw Anders Army Exhibit, on loan from the Pilsudski Institute of New York. That same year, A
Question of Honor authors Stanley Cloud and Lynne Olsen made a stop at the branch during the original promotional tour
for their new book.
The most significant event to be held in 2007 took place on March 7, when donors Lionel Goffart and Cpt. Samuel
Billich presented the uniform and medals of General Michal Tokarzewski-Karaszewicz to the citizens
of Polonia and Poland (represented by the Polish Consulate in Toronto) in a ceremony at the branch. The General's memorabilia
is now located in a permanent display at the Museum of the Polish Armed Forces in Warsaw.
July 2007 saw the branch utilized as a venue by an international touring theatrical troupe participating in the
Toronto Fringe Festival
, a hugely popular alternative theatre festival encompassing many venues throughout
downtown Toronto. Following a highly acclaimed run at the Montreal Fringe Festival, The Ahuri Theatre Company
) presented their production of Yabu No Naka: Distruthted
(July 5 - 15, 2007).
During the night of September 29/30, 2007 another huge city-wide artistic event came to Toronto, spreading
itself across 125 venues in the city's downtown core. Scotiabank's Nuit Blanche, billed as a "free
all-night contemporary art thing" was in town for the second year in a row and built on last year's phenomenal success to
draw some 800,000 visitors to the city. Once again the Polish Combatants Association building was utilized as a venue, this
time by performance artist McKendree Key of Brooklyn, New York whose unique piece graced the lawn and sidewalk in front
of the building. The veterans' hall remained open for most of the night, with volunteers providing support to the artist's
crew and refreshments for the throngs of people who were thrilled to visit our beautiful monument to the Polish World
War Two experience.
Sampling of Names Associated with SPK Branch # 20 in Toronto
Czajkowski, Bazyli T.
Czulo, Krzysztof (Chris)
Kogler, R. K.
Kowalczewska, Elzbieta (Miss Caravan, 1980)
Kwiatkowski, Andrzej (Wojciech)
Perchal, Wladyslaw (Walter)
Pluta, Monsignor Franciszek
Przedrzymirski, General Emil
Rosiecki, Ignacy Marceli
Rot, Teresa (Miss Caravan, 1990)
Szafran, Stanislaw J.
Szychowska, Stefania (Stenia)
Swiejkowska, Jadwiga (Jadzia)
Ujejski, General Stanislaw
Wiktorczyk, Jan Waclaw
Sampling of Names Associated with the Polish-Canadian Women's Federation in Toronto (Branches No. 1, 11 and