BARRY’S BAY – To celebrate a new 20-year lease with the Township of Madawaska Valley, Mayor Kim Love awarded the Wilno Heritage Society (WHS) with the Mayor’s Appreciation Award.
The WHS was formed in 1998 to commemorate and celebrate Canada’s unique Polish/Kashub cultural heritage. Mayor Love spoke on the society’s history before presenting the award.
Love said the mission of the society is to commemorate the past, recognize contributions from our ancestors to support and augment existing Polish language studies for our students and to preserve the Kashubian customs and traditions.
“Once formed, the Wilno Heritage Society’s first project was to build a heritage park to commemorate the pioneering Polish men and women who settled in this area since 1858,” Mayor Love explained at the February 19 regular council meeting. “The site of the former CN railway station was provided to the society by the township of Sherwood, Jones and Burns.”
Work on the park began on June 14, 1998.
“The municipality entered into a 20-year lease for the use of the property on July 6, 1998,” Love said. “By November that year, a century-old log building, donated by the Chippior family, had been erected on that site.”
In May of 1999, the first Kashub day cultural festival was held on the property with music provided by the Stoppa Lake Melodiers.
“The Stoppa Lake Melodiers have continued to play at all Kashub Day celebrations since then,” Love explained. “The official ribbon cutting to open the Wilno Heritage Park and the Polish Kashub Heritage museum was held on June 30, 2002.”
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