This past Saturday, June 9th, I volunteered at the fourth annual Mississauga Polish Day. My role for the day was to cover the event’s social media pages, including their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, posting live updates, photos, and videos in order to get people excited and encourage them to come out to the event.
Mississauga Polish Day is the city’s annual Polish cultural festival. The event was held at Celebration Square in Mississauga, welcoming visitors of all ages and backgrounds to attend for an authentic European experience!
Celebrating 100 Years of Regained Independence: 1918 to 2018
This year, Polish Day commemorated the anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s sovereignty in 1918 from the German, Austrian and Russian Empires. Following the partitions in the late 18th century, Poland ceased to exist for 123 years until the end of World War I, when the destruction of the neighboring powers allowed the country to re-emerge.
In 2018, I am proud to join the Polish Government and Polish people around the world in commemorating the 100th anniversary of Poland becoming an independent European country.
Both of my parents and my older sister immigrated from Poland to Canada in March 1989. I was born in Southwestern Ontario and am first-generation Canadian. My parents made their best effort to uphold our culture and traditions. Polish is my first language and the primary language spoken in my home. Growing up, I attended a Polish Catholic church and was a member of the church choir. I also went to Polish school on the weekends and was a part of a Polish Scouting and Guiding Association called ZHP (similar to girl guides or scouts). My Polish heritage is very important to me, and I am truly proud to be Polish-Canadian.
Mississauga Polish Day
The festival included live performances, hearty traditional Polish food, two beer gardens, a Children’s Village with lots of activities, and art and cultural exhibits.
I got to Mississauga Celebration Square at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday to check in at the volunteer tent and pick up my volunteer package, including a drawstring backpack, t-shirt, and badge, which indicated my role, and gave me access to the stage and VIP area of the event.
The Polanie Song & Dance Group from Connecticut
performed traditional Polish folk song and dance at Polish Day.
The Opening Ceremony began at 2:00 p.m., with Kinga Lizon singing the Canadian and Polish anthems.
Next, we had the Sponsorship Appreciation Ceremony to thank the event sponsors who helped to make this day possible!
At the Sponsorship Appreciation Ceremony, Mayor of Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie received recognition from the Canadian Polish Congress for her dedication to Mississauga’s Polish community.
The Polish Scouting Association, ZHP, brought us through the history of Poland.
Some of our special guests included Polish-Canadian Alexander Kopacz, who won a gold medal in two-man bobsledding at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang. Alex attended Polish Day to sign autographs and meet fans!
There was fun for all ages! The Children’s Village was open for children all day from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Face painting, balloon animals, bouncy castles, a display from Wild Ontario, magicians, and puppet shows.
Look at that Crown! The future Miss World Canada 2030!
Food & Drink
Mid-day, I enjoyed some pączki – a Polish jelly-filled doughnut made of a very rich, sweet yeast dough. The flavors available included traditional plum, raspberry, and custard.
Pączki are most famously enjoyed on Shrove or ‘Fat’ Tuesday, the day of feasting before the Christian fast known as Lent. The tradition is Polish, but is honored in many different communities. It’s no wonder these sold like hot cakes at Mississauga Polish Day!
There were two Beer Gardens at the event, serving up ice cold Tyskie, the best selling piwo (beer) from Poland!
Na zdrowie! – A traditional Polish toast,
which literally means “For [your] health!”
There were several vendors that sold souvenirs, including items such as the National folk costume of Poland, traditional floral crowns, t-shirts, Polish Fifa World Cup jerseys, coins, books, toys and more.
I couldn’t leave the event without picking up a beautiful handmade floral crown.
I had so much fun covering the Mississauga Polish Day’s social media accounts last weekend and was happy to be involved in the event, which brought in close to 30,000 people this year. I am looking forward to next year’s event!
A special thank you to the sponsors of Mississauga Polish Day 2018! The festival would not have been possible without their support.