First Polish Settlement in Canada
Wilno, Renfrew County, Ontario, Settled in 1864

Painting by Ruth McMillan in 1976
Shows the Head of the Rideau Canal Locks in Ottawa, Canada in 1893

New October 3, 2020:

Picture Source: Construire une capitale - OTTAWA - Making a Capital, edited by Jeff Keshen and Nicole St-Onge, University of Ottawa Press, 2001, ISBN 0-7766-0521-6, page 252 Polish Lumbermen in Renfrew County keyword: lumbering

December 29, 2002: The History of Wilno Web Site has some interesting facts about Canada's oldest Polish settlement. In the early days, the pioneers attended church at Brudenell. The web site also has the story of the Crosses which are common at cross-roads in the Wilno area. These crosses are also common in the townships to the east of Ottawa - especially in the Plantagenet area. Here's a picture of one located just west of the village of Riceville, Ontario. My wife, Grace Williamson, is a native of the Riceville area. She has a very complete family tree of her ancestors (some from Glengarry Township) - surnames Reid, Cutt / Cutts / Coote and many others. January 20, 2003:

I had noticed in your website these ancestors on my wifes side john whelan m, to anna laska, polish from wilno. I have a muriel whelan daughter of john whelan b-aprox-1890 she was married to a Eddie Cybulski both brothers married to two sisters Round Lake, Ont. Question? is this family related to the famous infamous patrick whelan who was hung 1868-ottawa.The Laska family lived around Wilno and the Whelan's lived on a farm near Round Lake Ont. Any information that would be extra above what I have on this family would be appreciated. Merry x-mas Bernie In Pembroke ____________________________ Hi Bernie: Thanks for your e-mail regarding John Whelan and Anna Laska. Hopefully, Steven Pusiak will get in touch with you. He's a descendant of James Patrick Whalen who was hung for the murder of Darcy McGee. About a year ago I received an e-mail from a lady in Poland who thought that she had relatives in the Wilno area. Unfortunately my system crashed a while back and I can't find her e-mail now. I remember passing it along to the Renfrew County genealogy group. I'd like to find out more about the Polish settlement around Wilno and Barry's Bay. Do you know if they came together from Poland? Did they come from the same area in Poland. I have a feeling that they were like the Irish immigrants (my ancestors) who came to Canada to get a better life for their families. Can you tell me anything about this? I'd like to start a new page on my web site for Polish immigrants. A lot of them came and settled in our neighbourhood in Ottawa, but that was later, after WWII. We all went to the same Catholic church and teen dances at the C.Y.O. Those were the days. If it's OK with you, I'll add your e-mail from yesterday to the web site. By the way, has the big church been rebuilt after the fire? What is the name of that church? Thanks again, and Merry Christmas! ... Al Lewis Ottawa ___________________________________________ Hi Al, Thanks for getting back to me i only have a little information on the Laska's. I believe they did lived in the wilno and round lake area, my wife clare cybulski's aunt was muriel whelan and rita whelan rita is still alive and lives in peterborough,I believe that john whelan father of rita's is buried in round lake, The church that you mentioned that burnt the one at wilno burnt in the 1930's and was later rebuilt on wilno hill,the old church was called st. stanislaus. Al type in wilno ontario in your computer and you will come up with some interesting polish stuff,as well there is a lady in ottawa Shirley Mask Connelley who does mostly polish history and books as well. I have some of her books let me know what you may be looking for and I will try and help. Take Care and have a Healthy x-mas ... Bernie

August 27, 2003: Hello Was looking into more names in Bytown or Bust and just noticed you have a page for Wilno!! My Mom's Mother was a Glofcheskie spelling differs for many people but I had just started this line a few week's ago and maybe someone will notice any names I have had some success through a Burant family file but still in research mode for it. I came across a Jan and Martha Glowczewski in a Ship's List for Ellis Island New York in 1907. The Children's names where Alexander, Aloisius, Antoni, Antonina, Franz, Jan and Lear. From what I have found from a few people there was an Alexander , Aloisios, Anthony, John, Leo and Mother's name was Julia. Very Similar names and Antonina was the correct age. Some of the family had to change their last name in order to find work so maybe someone has an idea of who these people where Paigh (Paugh) Lake just up from Barry's Bay is where the Family had settled finally . Another note for this Ellis Island was where they were en Route to Wilno there was a Joahnn Peplinksie in Bracket's. I have not seen any record's in regard's to Johann Peplinksi and Glofcheskie Family other than what was on the Manifest. Wonder if they where cousin's ?? Let me know what you think. ____________________________________ Thanks Al I have a snap shot of the Ellis Island Record on my computer also. it is very informative. I was in contact with a Peplinskie that comes to my work sometimes and he is going to take a peak at his family tree but it never hurt's to post this . you had a Wilno heritage site posted in Bytown or bust they have a forum also you can add comment's to. I haven't had a reply to it yet. I also have the Family book for Burchat my Mom was a Burchat from Barry's Bay all of her Ancestor's are buried in Wilno just up the Burchat Street. The Church Burnt down but the families are starting to add Tomb Stone's to the Grave Markers. Not sure When the Peplinskies arrived but from my Burchat line I believe the Dobeck Dubuc Dobec family was there before Burchat. Burchat also had the name misspelled you can find them as Burchardt, Burkett, Butchard, Burchard, Burket. I almost feel bad sometimes because these people lose the meaning of the name everytime it changes and is mispelled. Cheryl Thomas
October 17, 2003: Here is a Photo Graph of What is Left from St. Stanislaus Kostka Perish Wilno Ontario. This is Located on the Old Church Road Beside Burchat Street. It has many of the Original Settler's Buried in there for Wilno and Barry's Bay Ontario Canada The Church was Blessed in 1876. I may be wrong in reading these pages because there was another Church Blessed in 1895 that Burned in 1936. It was Larger than the first one. Reference to this from the Book called Kashub/Polish Heritage Stories of Renfrew County 1. Wilno and area " Page 19 and 20 ". The book can be purchased through the Wilno Heritage Society Web Page. Cheryl
October 17, 2003: Here is a Photo Graph of What is Left from St. Stanislaus Kostka Perish Wilno Ontario. This is Located on the Old Church Road Beside Burchat Street. It has many of the Original Settler's Buried in there for Wilno and Barry's Bay Ontario Canada The Church was Blessed in 1876 I may be wrong in reading these pages because there was another Church Blessed in 1895 that Burned in 1936. It was Larger than the first one. Reference to this from the Book called Kashub/Polish Heritage Stories of Renfrew County 1. Wilno and area " Page 19 and 20 ". The book can be purchased through the Wilno Heritage Society Web Page. ... Cheryl

February 12, 2004: Hello Here is a write up out of the Eganville Leader for the original Burchat Homestead being moved to it's new home. Thought this would be nice to read up on. Cheryl Thomas
September 8, 2004: From what I have heard and read about the heritage of Wilno, I am really surprised to not see of any pictures of the barns or farmhouse on the Norlock property. From what I am aware, the Queen had given a large mass of land to John Jacob Norlock back in the mid 1800's. Then was passed down to Andrew Norlock. I understand that he had given approx. 25 acres to the church? I know that I probably don't have all the information. Could you please enlighten me with any further information that you may have? My husband is the third generation Norlock in Wilno, and I would really like to learn more. Debbie Norloc

Thanks to Cheryl Thomas for the following reply to Debbie: Hello I took a peak at the Book's My Mother had purchased very quickly and there is one Book called Brudenell Reviisted that mention's the Norlock Narlock Family in it a few times the Book was created by Shirley Mask Connolly. I now you can purchase it through the Wilno Heritage Society. I asked my Mother if she recalled the name and she does. She know's that the Norlock's married Dobec Family in Poland but many Genreation's Back . My Mother's Great Grand mother was a Dobec. In the book I have it has Alexander Norlock baptized in Brudenelle July 12 1865 son of Jacob Norlock and Marie Dobec. Page 141 There is another Book I have called Polish Pioneer Famillies in the Parish of Brudenell to the year 1870 written by Shirley Mask Connolley that has a small family Tree for Jacob Norlock and Marie Dobeck. They Married Feb 28 1848 Weille, Prussia. Page 76 BTW: Even the books I have I do not see any Pictures of the House or Barn's either ?? ... Cheryl _________________ Here's an 1865 baptism (in Latin) from Brudenell: Item # 1 Page 27#52 Alexander Norlock Mensis Julii 1865 12a Bapt. Alexandrum nat. 10a hujus ex Jacob Norlock et Maria Dobeck ejus ux. Sponsors: Casimirus Wretza et Catherina Pershick. P. M. Cody, Parish Priest.
September 9, 2004: Hello Al I was reading one of my Book's Called the Saga of the Kashub People in Poland, Canada and the USA written by Aloysius J. Rekowski to find something specific for you regarding why they immigrated then but there is so much information in this book I don't know where to start ! They do talk of the first marriages and baptism's and buriel's back then but it is in 1863 there is a passege stating the names that appear for the earliest Kashub settler's for the year 1867. In Chapter two of this Book the reason's for immigration where ( Economic Factors "Poverty" and "Independance " ). Germanization had set in long before this also. This Book is also in the Wilno Heritage Society but it may be in the Archives to look at. Cheryl
May 6, 2006: Hello Al This was an Interesting Article it was written in the Barry's Bay newspaper, Barry's Bay This Week. Thought this would be of interest regarding time line and reason for the migration of Polish people out of there home land. At the Wilno Museum they have placed large stones with plaques attached to them commemorating some of the early Settlers . The Glofcheskie family will have been here 100's year's so a stone will be added with two other families I do not have the names of the other's though. The unveiling will take place May 6th 2006 during the Polish Heritage Festival. ... Cheryl Thomas

January 21, 2010: Hi Al There is a small Genealogy group in Barry's Bay who are trying to find a permanent location and expand the membership. I know some of the ladies in the group and they have done much research on different families in the area and a number of books have been printed of specific families. They have also photographed a number of cemeteries . I have purchased a number of the books locally . One that I found to be excellent - because it included my husbands family was titled 'Kashubia to Canada - Crossing on the Agda " This book which includes over 300 pictures and history, chronicals about 200 families who crossed on the Bark Agda in 1872 from West Prussia to Canada. They joined other family members in Renfrew and walked up the Opeongo Line to settle in the area of Wilno and Brudenell . They were the first families of many who are still in the area. This book and I believe others were written by the author who I think still lives in the area. Her name is Shirley Mask Connolly. ... Darlene
May 14, 2012:
Prime Minister Tusk of Poland visits Wilno, Ontario in May of 2012 Source: Ottawa Citizen, May 14, 2012, page A2 Polish Prime Minister Tusk visits Wilno, Ontario, Canada

March 20, 2013: Archival Sources for the Study of Polish Canadians, National Archives of Canada (Now Library and Archives Canada), by Myron Momryk, 1987, ISBN 0-662-54875-2
July 2, 2013: The Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has a publication listing all of the burials in St.ary's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Wilno. The cemetery is located on Concession 4, Lot 23, Hagarty Township. Search for Wilno in the OBOGS Library.
August 16, 2013 Thanks to Taylor Kennedy for contributing the following photographs.
Sign for St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Curch, Our Lady of Czestochowa, Queen of Poland Church
Polish Kashub Heritage Park Museum sign
Welcome sign to the Kashub Heritage Park, Wilno, Ontario, Canada's First Polish settlement

February 11, 2017: If you are in Barry's Bay, stop in at the Wilno Tavern and Restaurant. They are on Facebook.
Wilno Tavern at Barry's Bay, Ontario
E-mail Allan Lewis

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