A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
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Subject Profile: Janusz Zurakowski

Janusz Zurakowski

When decorated Polish ace aviator Janusz Zurakowski arrived in Canada, a reporter observed that, "He's small and balding and looks like anything but a test pilot." Zurakowski went on to make aviation history. He was the first man in Canada to break the sound barrier, later becoming the chief experimental test pilot of the legendary Canadian aircraft, the AVRO Arrow.

After fleeing Fascist and Communist dictatorships, Zurakowski came to Canada hoping it would give his sons a chance at a more stable future.

That stability ended when the Canadian government canceled the Arrow project in 1959, leaving Jan unemployed. But he and his wife Anna refused to move again. Instead they turned to the land -- 120 acres in Northern Ontario where they built a new life, much like the pioneering Polish immigrants who came there a century before.

Zurakowski has much to remind him of his flying days: his image on a $20 Canada Mint coin; the esteemed McKee Aviation trophy; and the plaque of a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame.


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