“Today, thousands of Ontarians of Polish descent, and Polish people throughout Canada and the world, celebrate Constitution Day.
“The Polish constitution lit the torch of democracy in 1791—the first democratic constitution in Europe—and served as a symbol of freedom during the 123 years of partition until independence was regained in 1918.
“Ontario’s Polish roots run deep, with a history dating back to before Confederation 150 years ago. Our province is the home of Canada’s oldest Polish settlement, located in Wilno in the Upper Ottawa Valley. For generations, Ontario’s Polish community has contributed to the building, growth and development of our province.
“From Sir Kazimierz Stanislaus Gzowski, who built many of our important roads, bridges, and railways in the 1800s, to the countless contributions of Polish Ontarians today, this community is a vital part of Ontario’s social fabric.
“We share the values that were a vital part of Poland’s struggle for independence—freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. This occasion is also a celebration of the courage, bravery and sacrifice of those who fought in the Solidarity movement, helping to topple communist tyranny and return democracy to Poland and Eastern Europe. We are proud of the role Canada played as a beacon of refuge during those times.
“To our Polish friends and neighbours, Happy Constitution Day!”