Kaszuby Camping

PISK KASZUBY CAMPING TRIP

Many different things mark the end of summer in Canada. For some, it’s the annual ritual of shopping for textbooks, starting classes again. It’s getting a sweater out for those nights that are coming just a little  faster and becoming just a bit colder. It’s seeing that single red leaf on the ground and thinking; oh no, here we go again.

And all of these things coincide, more or less, with the PISK camping trip in Kaszuby.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF KASZUBY

Polish people first arrived to the region, located four hours from both Toronto and Montreal, not more than fifty kilometers from Algonquin Provincial Park, in 1866. Finding that the area, with its rolling hills and many lakes, looked very similar to their homeland, they called it Kaszuby. They founded, Wilno, the oldest Polish settlement in Canada[1].

A second, more substantial wave of immigration followed after the Second World War. Different Polish organizations were initiated at that time, including Polish scouts, or harcerstwo, which remains linked to the area to the present day.  Notable dates in the Polish history of that area include 1953, when Franciscan father Rafal Jan Grzondziel, a former chaplain of Polish Army, and a Monte Cassino veteran, came to Wilno from the United States. He purchased a vast tract of land, including an old farm from a local Kaszub. Today this place is well known as the legendary “Stodoła”. Father Grzondziel celebrated the first mass at the chapel of Matka Boska Anielskia by Wadsworth Lake, on the 2nd of August in 1953. The existing altar was built in 1956.

To this day, the area still has very strong Polish connections, with many Polish Canadians coming to spend their summers there, notably Polish youth involved in the scouting movement.

Starting in 2009, PISK has held weekend camping trips on the camp grounds of the ZHR oboz or campground.  There is typically one in the summer and in the winter.

PISK 2014 SUMMER CAMPING TRIP

This year’s camping trip was very relaxed, with great weather, and a mellow (but still fun loving crowd) that was slowly graduating from student to full-time professional.

There was something for everybody; from catching up with old faces and making friends with new ones, to the traditional volleyball game (with a jump in the lake afterwards to cool off). There was lots of hanging out at the ognisko, complete with a game of Murder, story telling, singing and jokes. Other highlights include some crazy dancing at night, from everything from Hej Sokoły, passing by solid disco polo classics such as Jesteś Szalonaand Ciało do Ciała, to some Top 40 and sexy Latin tracks. And yes, we did a conga line.

A big thank you to the team in the kitchen for the excellent food (with a special mention to the excellent grzybki, handpicked the day before) and to the organizing team; Mike, Natalia and Andrzej!

Enjoy the pictures and I’ll see you guys all next year!

I apologize in advance if I have mistaken some of my facts. Please feel free to correct my Kaszuby history knowledge!

[1] I’ve found the answer for those of you who have wondered between the link of Wilno, that is Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and Kaszuby, the north-western region of Poland, more than five hundred kilometres away;

It appears Wilno was the birthplace of Reverend Ludwik Dembski. Father Dembski was a prominent community spiritual leader and one of the town founders, who would not have wanted the town named after himself. The townsfolk, grateful for his contributions, suggested the name of Wilno instead. Thank you Wikipedia.

DISCLAIMER: You just might find yourself in one of the pictures. If, for whatever reason you object, let me know and I will take the picture down, no questions asked! Dzięki!!!