Decorated Polish ace aviator Janusz Zurakowski made Canadian aviation history when he came to Canada in 1952. Zurakowski broke the sound barrier in an AVRO CF-100 -- the first Canadian aircraft to reach that speed -- and made the first flight of the AVRO ARROW, an advanced supersonic jet, exceeding 1600km/h on the seventh flight.(13)
Prominent politicians of Polish descent include Stanley Haidasz, who was the first Polish Liberal Member of Parliament. He later became minister for multiculturalism in the Trudeau government and the first Polish representative in the Senate. Donald Mazankowski was deputy prime minister of Canada during the Mulroney Federal Conservative government.(14)
Other notable Polish Canadians include NHL hockey players, Jim Peplinski, co captain of the Calgary Flames when they won their first Stanley Cup in 1989, and Larry Trader. Trader was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings and played with both the St. Louis Blues and the Montréal Canadiens. Louis Dudek made his name as a poet and is an associate professor of English at McGill University. He also operated a private press in Montréal, is a publisher partner in the Contact Press poets' cooperative and editor of the literary magazine Delta. Canadian journalist Peter Gzowski is the great-grandson of Sir Casimir Stanislaus Gzowski, a Polish exile of nobility status who came to Canada in 1841(15).
Ethnic identification of Polish immigrants is nurtured by Polish organizations and parishes. The Polish Congress encompasses some 160 independent organizations whose membership varies from a few dozen to a few thousand people.(16)
Feelings of unity among Polish Canadians have been expressed over the years through their support of the Polish nation. Political and financial support for Poland was strong during WWII, when Poland was under German occupation and subsequently when the communist government attempted to suppress the church. A wide-reaching "Help For Poland" program was established in Canada in 1956 and has recently been revived. Contact with Poland also remains strong through Polish-organized travel tours, family visits. Language courses for young Polish Canadians are also popular; an estimated 142,000 Canadians consider Polish as their mother tongue.(17)
The Polish Canadian Research Institute, founded in 1956, is dedicated to the study of Poles in Canada. It has an extensive library and archives and publishes its research. The institute works with associate scientific centres both in Canada and Poland, provides scholarships and assistance to young researchers, and organizes lectures.(18)
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