POLcast episode 57

September 16, 2018

In this episode you will hear:


• Poles and Jews meet through their common music

Olga Avigail Mieleszczuk, born in Poland, is a singer, accordion player and researcher of Eastern European musical folklore. Since the very beginning of her creative work, she has been focusing on Jewish music of Ashkenazi roots. She converted into Judaism and now lives and works in Jerusalem. She performed at Toronto’s Lula Lounge at the 2018 Ashkenaz Festival with her three Polish musicians.

The Things of Warsaw

When I was in Poland in June, I attended the official opening of the Museum of Warsaw, also referred to as the Museum of Things, located in a number of historic buildings in the Old Town Market Square.

  • From law and math to the cutting-edge computing technology

Bohr Technology Inc., based in Warsaw, works on creative ideas behind the new revolutionary quantum computers, which in the next 5 years will probably start replacing classic computers for the purpose of solving optimisation problems. Witold Kowalczyk and Przemyslaw Chojecki are the founders and the brains behind this innovative startup company.

• The statue of Fahrenheit in Gdansk

• Smacznego! Eating Polish – peach turnovers

• We leave you with “Rebecca” sung by Olga Mieleszczuk

POLcast episode 56

August 12, 2018

In this episode you will hear:

  • A childhood dream that came true

Maple syrup, Leonard Cohen, hockey – these are Canadian icons. There is one more, very special – Anne of Green Gables, the red-haired orphan whose life in Avonlea in Prince Edward Island was described by author Lucy Maud Montgomery. Bernadeta Milewski is a Pole living in the US, whose life has been influenced by Anne of Green Gables in many ways.

  • The money is on the road – a study of immorality

After the successul premiere of hs feature debut “22 Chaser”, we talk to Polish Canadian filmmaker – Rafal Sokolowski, an award-winning film and theatre director whose short films have been shown worldwide.

  • White and red hearts from Chicago

The Jeopardy-style 2nd annual contest tests elementary and high school students of Polish language schools in Canada and the US on their knowledge about Poland – its history, geography, culture, traditions (and this year also sports) – all in Polish.

  • Great Poles – about themselves and their recent accoplishments and projects

Smacznego! Eating Polish – Polish sauces

POLcast episode 55

July 8, 2018

This is a special episode of POLcast, recorded during my visit to Poland in June, where Margaret received the prestigious journalistic Maciej Plazynski Award for her work on POLcast.

In this episode you will hear:
• And the M. Plazynski award for POLcast was granted by….
Jarosław Włodarczyk is the president of the Press Club Polska. This organization is the founder of the annual Maciej Płażyński award together with Jakub Plazynski, a son of the late Maciej Plazynski. This year’s award in the category of “Journalist of a Polish diaspora medium” was granted to Margaret P. Bonikowska for her work on POLcast.

• The inspiring time at the steering wheel
Jeremy Wallace is the charge d’affaires at the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw, now the acting chief diplomat there until the arrival of the new Canadian ambassador.

• Helping the talented Polish teenagers study abroad
Marzena Reich helps to place Polish teenagers in prestigious British boarding schools.

• The freedom that comes at a price
Two Muslim students from Turkey talked about their experience of Poland.

• “The best Canadian thriller of 2018”?
Rafal Sokolowski talks about his feature directorial debut “22 Chaser” which opened on Friday June 6, at the Carlton Cinemas in Toronto.

Also in this episode:

  • Some sounds of Warsaw:
  • Great Poles – the team of POLcast’s collaborators talk about themselves
  • The song at the end of Epsode 55 was recorded at the Music Theatre in Gdynia during the show “Poczekalnia” after the award gala

POLcast episode 54

June 10, 2018

In this episode:
• The eye - where the microscope and the paintbrush meet

Eva Henry (Toronto) is an artist and Dorota Skowrońska Krawczyk(California) is a scientist who work together to create VISIONS.
• Looking for love stories across Canada

Monika Grzelak, a photographer from Toronto, drove across Canada to find and photograph couples in love.
• The teacher taking his students far away from the classroom

There are special teachers - Marcin Zarod is one of them.

Also in this episode:

  • Coś z Polski
  • Great Poles -  Kazimierz Nowak
  • Smacznego - Fruit tarts  

POLcast episode 53

May 6, 2018

In this episode you will hear:


• MozART Group - string virtuosos with appetite for fun

There are four of them, most accomplished virtuoso string players (two violins, a viola and a cello),  graduates of prestigious music Academies in Warsaw and Łódź. They have been playing together since 1995, when  they began to create their own style - classical music with humour - their own unique musical cabaret. Now the award winning MozART Group is admired all over the world, their DVDs fly off the shelves (and the internet) and each of their YouTube videos is watched by hundreds of thousands and often over a million viewers all around the world. Each year they visit over 20 countries on all the continents.

• Konekt - a new brand of Polishness

In Episode 48 we talked about a movement of young dynamic Polish Canadian professionals who have organized 12 annual youth conferences called "Quo Vadis?", which means "Where are you going?”, the last of which was held last fall in Burlington. They had been meeting and talking about the future of Canada’s Polish community until they came up with Konekt, a new young Polish Canadian professionals’ own organization.  

Also in this episode:

Greatpoles.pl on Andrzej Panufnik.

• Updates  - Marek Probosz:  Auschwitz No. 423

• Smacznego! Eating Polish: chicken in lemon sauce

• The Holy Mountain of Grabarka:

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="37047,37048,37049"]

POLcast episode 52

March 11, 2018

In this episode you will hear:


• A mission to give voices to those who are not heard

Art gives a voice, empowers, returns dignity and changes lives. This is what Anna Rak and the acting school she graduated from in New York believe in. Anna is a Polish actress there who works with inmates - her work has also changed her life. She also aims to give a voice to art communities in New York who have so much to offer and are not heard enough.


• A Polish-Canadian athlete wins gold for Canada in Pyeongchang 

Alex Kopacz was born in a Polish Canadian family in London, Ontario. At 6 foot 5 (195 cm) you would imagine him in basketball, but Alex is the reigning Olympic co-champion in the two-man bobsleigh event. Together with his pilot they won gold for Canada at this year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.


• People of African descent in Poland

We have heard on POLcast about the experience of people from other countries and ethnicities living in Poland. One person who has actually done solid research in this field is Sarah Grunberg, a sociologist and professor at Ithaca College, New York, who wrote a PhD thesis at the Graduate School for Social Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and the University of Warsaw on Race and Identity in the Polish-African Communities of Poland.


Also in this episode:

• Greatpoles.pl on Ernest Malinowski.

• Smacznego! Eating Polish: wild mushroom soup

POLcast episode 51

February 18, 2018

In this episode you will hear:


• Polish folk music - the multicultural way

Polky Village Band was created by ethnomusiologist, musician and singer from Poland Ewelina Ferenc and consists of Canadian musicians of various ethnic backgrounds. They charm Canadian audiences with Polish fold music and dances.

• Polish-Canadian-Japanese artist's help for Laos, India, and Uganda

Sylvia Beauchain lives in Japan, with which she feels very close spiritual connection, and has devoted her life to her two great passions – art and helping those in need, which she has successfully connected to change other people’s lives.

Also in this episode:

• The Crooked House in Sopot

• The story of Chopin's heart

• Smacznego! Eating Polish: white fish in horseradish sauce

The "polska" dance

POLcast episode 50

January 21, 2018

In this episode you will hear:


• An orchestra which saves lives

Since 1993 the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, a non-governmental charity in Poland, has been working tirelessly with one goal in mind "Health Protection and Saving Children's Lives through Providing Medical Equipment to Public Hospitals". It was created by Jurek Owsiak and had millions of followers all over the world. It has recently played in Canada.

• North America's only mayor with Polish roots

Bonnie (Bozena) Crombie, former member of federal parliament and Mississauga councillor, became mayor of Mississauga in 2014 after her predecessor 93-year-old Hazel McCallion stepped down after 36 years in office. 

• Success inspired by the 1930s cartoons

Tina Nawrocki is a Canadian illustrator and 2D animator, a lead animator for the highly successful video game Cuphead inspired by cartoons of the 1930s.

Also in this episode:

• Episode 1 of "Great Poles" - the first interview produced by our young partners in Poland who produce an English language website greatpoles.pl 

• Smacznego! Eating Polish: savoy cabbage

POLcast episode 49

December 10, 2017

In this episode you will hear:

Our POLcast's third award - granted to us by CEMA (Canadian Ethnic Media Association).


• Great Poles - a project by young history buffs

A group of ambitious high school students from Poland (and not only) worked for months to create a website called greatpoles.pl which has just been launched. It’s a beautifully prepared English language website featuring great Poles from the past and those who make Poland known around the world today. Stanislaw Borawski, a history buff, is one of the key people behind the Great Poles project.

How I reconnected with my Polishness

Quo Vadis in Latin means “where are you going?”. It is the title of an 1896 iconic historical novel by one of the most famous Polish writers Henryk Sienkiewicz, which contributed to his Nobel Prize for literature in 1905. Young Polish Canadians have adopted this phrase as the title of their conferences. There have been already 12 Quo Vadis conferences, the latest one in Burlington outside Toronto on October 13 and 14, 2017.

We present a continuation of a story we featured in our last Episode 48, when we shared with you the ideas and goals of the young Polonia - Canadians of Polish descent, young professionals, who have created and are continuing a movement called Quo Vadis? POLcast talks to another young Polish Canadian involved in the movement and in organizing those conferences - Louiza Szacon to hear her take on “Polishness”.

Beyond bravery - the Auschwitz volunteer 

Marek Probosz is one of the few Poles who made it in Hollywood - actor, director, screenplay writer, university lecturer, who is passionate about history. Among dozens of roles he played, there was one that was very special because this character was a truly extraordinary and heroic human being - captain Witold Pilecki. 

Also in this episode:

• Wawel Treasures' trip from Poland to Canada and back

Smacznego! Eating Polish: apple kompot

• Christmas traditions - unconventionally



POLcast episode 48

November 5, 2017

In this episode you will hear:


• A legend that needed to exist

Dariusz Rosiak, a renowned Polish press and radio journalist and author, has just published his 6th book “Biało-czerwony. Tajemnica Sat Okha” (White and red. The secret of Sat Okh).

Sat Okh, Long Feather (c. 1920 – July 3, 2003), was supposedly born to a Polish woman and a native Canadian Shawnee chief, then returned to Poland, where he fought in WW2, worked in the navy and then started his career of informing Poles and other Europeans about the culture and tradition of native Canadians.

• Time for the young Poles in Canada

Quo Vadis in Latin means “where are you going?”. It is the title of an 1896 iconic historical novel by one of the most famous Polish writers Henryk Sienkiewicz, which contributed to his Nobel Prize for literature in 1905.

Young Polish Canadians have adopted this phrase as the title of their conferences. There have been already 12 Quo Vadis conferences, the latest one in Burlington outside Toronto on October 13 and 14, 2017.

•  Suitcases that change people’s lives

Not Just Tourists was founded with the purpose of getting medical supplies to those who can’t afford them in third world countries. Tourists can change the lives of the inhabitants of the countries they visit. POLcast talks to a Polish Canadian whose life has also changed as a result of being involved in this amazing organization.

Also in this episode: