The Roncesvalles Village BIA has long enjoyed good relations with the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto. Not only is the Consulate General the official patron of the Roncesvalles Polish Festival, it has partnered with the BIA in bringing great content to the Festival, and supporting many other initiatives in the Polish community, such as the Ekran Polish Film Festival, held every fall at the Revue Cinema.
After years of service to both Poland and Canada in his role of Consul General, Mr. Marek Ciesielczuk has been reassigned and is expected to return to Poland. At a ceremony on June 29 at the Consulate, Andrew Chomentowski (Chair Emeritus, RVBIA) presented Mr. Ciesielczuk with a letter of gratitude from the BIA as well as a Roncesvalles-themed gift basket.
Mr. Grzegorz Jopkiewicz has been elevated to Acting Consul General.
Special thanks to the businesses who contributed to the gift basket for the Consul General, including: SOHO Framing and Art, Ecotique, Another Story Bookshop, Stasis Local Preserves, The Chocolateria, and the Mercantile.
Mr. Marek Ciesielczuk is featured in the first photo. In the second, at far left: Consul Grzegorz Jopkiewicz, at far right, His Excellency Zenon Kosiniak-Kamysz, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Canada.
This year’s Roncesvalles Polish Festival was record-breaking success in every way! A longer route, more stages, more music, and the largest crowds we’ve ever seen on Roncesvalles Avenue made this past weekend a great time on Roncy!
We were pleased this year to have St. Joseph’s Health Centre and Copernicus Lodge as charity partners for the Polish Festival.
Thank you to everyone who made this great event possible: our Festival patron, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto, festival sponsors, staff, volunteers, musicians, dancers and other entertainers, community partners, and of course, members of the Roncesvalles Village BIA, whose strong participation in the festival made all the difference!
For more photos, please visit polishfestival.ca.
Dyngus Day is a traditional celebration of springtime and the end of Lent, and the world’s largest Dyngus Day celebration takes place in Buffalo New York.
On Easter Monday a busload of enthusiastic Torontonians representing the Roncesvalles Polish Festival braved the wet weather and participated in the celebrations in Buffalo. In the picture at left you see the perennial Polish Festival favourites Ania Piwowarczyk and Radość Joy Dance Troupe.
Normally, the Roncesvalles Polish Festival occurs on the third weekend of September. This year, as everyone knows, construction on Roncesvalles has made a major festival impossible. However, we were very pleased to be invited to participate in the Toronto Ukrainian Festival this year.
We took the opportunity to promote our neighbourhood, the 2011 Roncesvalles Polish Festival, and show our colours at the festival parade, with members of Biały Orzeł and festival ambassador Barbara Cyzon. RVBIA Vice-chair Andrew Chomentowski and Chair Emeritus John Wakulat were introduced during the opening ceremonies, where they shared the main stage with local politicians (including our MPP Cheri diNovo and MP Gerard Kennedy), Alex Ling, Ukrainian Festival Chair Jurij Klufas, and former prime minister John Turner.
A short performance by Polish Festival participants Radość Joy Dance Troupe wowed the crowd, and at our booth we distributed flyers showcasing Roncesvalles Village and promoted next year’s festival. We were also happy to share our booth with volunteers from St. Joseph’s Health Care Centre and Ekran Film Festival, which will be occurring at the Revue Cinema in late November. (Photos courtesy of Andrew Chomentowski (Image Professional Photography), and Ted Best (Polish Credit Union).
The 2010 Ukrainian Festival has selected Poland as their guest nation and has asked the Roncesvalles Polish Festival to represent Poland.
Roncesvalles Village and the Roncesvalles Polish Festival will appear in the festival parade on Saturday at 11:00. We will also have a booth during the festival near Durie St.
Radość Joy Dance Group, a perennial favourite at the Roncesvalles Polish Festival, will have a guest performance on the main stage at 2:00 on Saturday.
We are grateful to the organizers of the Ukrainian Festival for their hospitality.
The Toronto Ukrainian Festival runs from Friday September 17 through Sunday September 19.
It is with pride that we announce that the Roncesvalles Village BIA has been awarded the Special Events and Promotions Award at this year’s Ontario BIA Association conference.
RVBIA Vice-chair Andrew Chomentowski accepted the award on behalf of the BIA. In particular, this award acknowledges the extraordinary success of the Roncesvalles Polish Festival, which in five years has become one of the largest neighbourhood festivals in Toronto and the largest festival focussing on Polish culture in Canada. In our press releases we call the festival “Canada’s largest celebration of Polish culture in Toronto’s best neighbourhood.”
In this photo we see TABIA executive director John Kiru, RVBIA Chair Tony Cauch and Vice-chair Andrew Chomentowski, and Patti Brooks, Vice-president of OBIAA.
The following address was read in advance of the award’s presentation: “The Roncesvalles Polish Festival has grown from its humble beginnings of a few thousand people to attracting an estimated 175,000 to 200,000 people in 2009 – the largest Polish Festival in Canada, if not North America.
The success of the Roncesvalles Village BIA Polish Festival is largely due to the innovative approach to the re-branding of the festival some 5 years ago. Formerly known as the Harvest Festival and although effective, was not distinctive and drew small numbers at significant expense.
By taking advantage of its rich Polish heritage, the Roncesvalles Village BIA re-branded its name to the “Polish Festival” and distinguished itself in a crowded market of neighbourhood festivals in Toronto.
Attracting momentum with their new name, significant sponsors for the event leveraged their modest event budget almost 7 times.
The Polish Festival puts the Roncesvalles Village BIA on the map every year; broadcast in Poland, across the GTA and as far away as New York City, major Canadian television networks pick-up on the event. The event attracts people from all over the world and is a major internationally celebrated event.
Please join me in a warm round of applause for Roncesvalles Village BIA.”
The RVBIA congratulates and thanks all past and current members of the Promotions and Marketing Committee. In particular we thank that committee’s chair, Andrew Chomentowski, who has volunteered for the BIA for over two decades on the Promotions and Marketing Committee. This award is a tribute to his ongoing efforts to promote Roncesvalles Village.
This award is the result of an enormous group effort. We thank our Festival patron, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto, and our Festival sponsors including the Polish Credit Union, Peter Mielczynski Agencies, European Fine Foods, The Knights of Polonia, and all the participating members of the Roncesvalles Village BIA.
Photo: Kevin Gonsalves
Toronto photographer Kevin Gonsalves captured some great images from this weekend’s Polish Festival. The photos were uploaded as part of his Project 60, a series depicting 60 themes each with 60 photos shot within 60 minutes over 60 days. The photos can be viewed as a Flickr slideshow here.
While the BIA is still crunching the attendance figures, the unofficial word is that the numbers this year are off the charts, no doubt helped by the weekend’s spectacular weather. The festival was a celebration of all things Polish and all things Roncesvalles, and featured more than a few “only-on-Roncesvalles” innovations! Spotted among the more traditional fare: pierogi pizza and pierogi poutine!
From the Revue Cinema website:
Where Roncesvalles Ave. and King St. meet, there sits an imposing bronze monument that’s about five metres high and four metres across. The sculpture is rent in half by a jagged vertical fissure, and its concrete base bears a single word running its full width: KATYN. How many of us who’ve walked or driven past know what the monument represents? Yet, this bronze identifies an event that’s seared into the psyche of the post-war Polish community and the immigrants who settled in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood.
Those who come to The Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles and see one of three screenings of Katyn, a film by the eminent Polish director Andrzej Wajda, will learn what that charged word means. The film, which earned numerous Polish awards and international recognition, including a 2007 Oscar nomination for best foreign film, will headline Kino Kultura, a Polish film festival scheduled at The Revue Friday, September 18th to Sunday, September 20th.
The Roncesvalles Village BIA and The Revue worked closely to establish this new cultural event, which coincides with the BIA’s Roncesvalles Polish Festival. More than 175,000 are expected at the street celebration, now in its fifth year.
Roncesvalles is under construction, and we are working hard to earn your business.
The RVBIA encourages our neighbours to continue to support business on Roncesvalles through this challenging time. Put your money where your house is—shop locally!
GREAT NEWS! Everything is a go for the 2009 RONCESVALLES POLISH FESTIVAL, SEPTEMBER 19 AND 20, 2009. Read all about it here!
From the Toronto Sun:
Roll out the barrel for Ed Guca.
The Toronto polka king was inducted into the International Polka Association’s Hall of Fame at their annual convention in Cleveland, Ohio last week. Guca is only the second Canadian to be so honoured, after Walter Ostanek was inducted in 1983.
Guca has been playing polka music for 50 years, and has toured extensively in North America with his band, The Polish Canadians.
While touring with the First Polka Festival in Poland in 1977 his band caused a minor controversy when they played the Polish National Anthem at every stop until officials of the then-communist country prevailed upon them to stop.
Guca will be part of the fun at the upcoming 2009 Roncesvalles Village Polish Festival in Toronto on Sept. 19-20.