Witómë w Wilno - Witamy w Wilno - Welcome to Wilno
Welcome to the hamlet of Wilno, Ontario where the saying “What
you don’t know, you will know, when you visit Wilno”. Folks visiting Wilno are always intrigued when they enter the village
from the east and they see the magnificent church on top of Shrine Hill. St. Mary’s Catholic Church stands proud and tall. It
was built by descendants of Kashubian and Polish pioneers. Historically, Wilno was built by two Slavic groups from Europe.
The Kashubs arrived in Canada in 1858 from their Kashubian homeland of Kashubia (“Kaszëbë” in their native Kashubian language) which at the time of immigration was under
Prussian/German rule. The Polish arrived in Canada in the early 1860’s from their Polish homeland of Poland ( “Polska” in their
native Polish language). Most of the Polish people who came to Wilno in the 1860’s came from the Galician area of Poland which
was under Austrian rule. Some well known names coming from
Kashubia included: Blank, Burchat, Etmansczi, Rekowsczi, Szczypior, Szmaglinsczi, Szulëst and others. They came from
Kashubian towns such as Lëpusz, Kalisz, Wiele, Serakojce, Lëniewo, Koscerzna, Brusë, and Kartusë. Some well know
names coming from Poland included: Brotton, Hudder, Maika, Plebon, Beanish to name a few. They came from Polish towns around Krakow.
Today, Wilno is known throughout the world as Canada’s First Kashubian Settlement dating back to 1858, and Canada’s First Polish Settlement dating back to 1864.
Together the Kashubs and the Polish built a beautiful community. In 1875, they built a chapel and church called St.
Stanislaw Kostka Church. On February 2, 1936, the church burnt down and our current new church St. Mary’s Catholic
Church was built. The cornerstone of St.Mary’s was blessed on July 1,1936. In St. Mary’s two religious icons find their
home…..a replica statue of Our Lady of Sianowo, Queen of Kashubia/Kaszëbë, and a picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Queen of Poland / Polska.
There is a special bond between the Kashub people and the Polish people, where their homelands are intertwined. In our
Church bulletin it reads “There is no Kashubia without Poland and there is no Poland without Kashubia”. It is a true love
story between two nations and two Slavic people. These are the people who built our church and built the beautiful community of Wilno.
Welcome to St. Mary’s Catholic Church.