POLcast episode 60

POLcast episode 60

December 16, 2018

This is our special Christmas Episode so we would like to wish you



In this episode you will hear:


• Art helps people in a remote African village

For six years Ted Dawson has travelled every fall to rural Tanzania, an area next door to Kilimanjaro, to help local people build and modernize infrastructure. In November, for the first time, he took with him Ewa Henry, a Polish Canadian artist, who opened an art program there, empowering local youth and help them get some income.

A Polish pre-war story getting yet another life in California

What I really love is when fascinating stories grow by getting extensions and often new lives. Here is one such story. Ana Bayat, a multilingual actress from San Francisco, met and heard the music and the story of Canadian jazz musician Ron Davis at the Edinburgh's Fringe Festival. It's the story of how Ron, a child of Holocaust survivors, discovered that his mother Alicja was right about his grandfather's pre-war past in Warsaw immortalized in a famous song "Bal na Gnojnej" a.k.a. "Bal u Grubego Jośka". Now Ana is writing a play about Ron's mother Alicja.


Money must not prevent anyone from experiencing the shows

Arthur Wachnik, actor, musician, singer, is the artistic director of an over 3000-seat venue - Christian Performing Arts Centre in Toronto. We talk about this great centre, its mission and its recent brand new show The Nativity Musical.

Great Poles - Janusz Korczak

Smacznego! Eating Polish  - yummy Christmas traditions

POLcast episode 59

POLcast episode 59

November 11, 2018

We are releasing this episode on a very special day - today, on 11 November 2018, Poland and Poles around the world are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence.

After 123 years of partitions, on 11 November 1918, the dream of generations of Poles came true: the Polish state was reborn and Poland reappeared on the maps of Europe.

In this episode you will hear:
The story of 100 years of Poland's independence

Special gift to Poland on its 100th anniversary of independence
• Each child deserves to learn music
Arthur Lewinowicz, a violin and viola player, composer and teacher, has made it his life mission to help kids with various disabilities and special needs learn to play the violin and enjoy music. His school Singing Strings in Toronto offers unconventional music education to everybody, including kids from low income families.

• Celebrating Poland - top young Polish writers in Toronto
“Celebrating Poland” at the 39th Toronto International Festival of Authors featured a panel discussion and a Q&A with three top young Polish authors chaired by our own Canadian best selling author Eva Stachniak and hosted by prof. Tamara Trojanowska, Director for the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the UofT, former director of the Polish Language and Literature Program.

• Love for Polish cuisine - comfort food with multiple personalities
Every episode of POLcast brings you a taste of Polish cuisine - those yummy recipes come from Laura and Peter Zeranski, authors of two cook books sold around the world and a hugely popular blog.

POLcast episode 58

POLcast episode 58

October 14, 2018

In this episode you will hear:
• A ticking piece of Poland with a charity twist
Robin Devine makes beautiful watches which she donates as gifts to hundreds of veterans, at the same time providing significant support for many charities (over 22 years around half a million dollars have been donated to numerous charitable causes). Now on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Poland's independence, she created an exquisite Polish Eagle Watch to celebrate this special occasion.

• It starts with a bang - Scotland and Poland
Wanda Koscia talks to Neal Ascherson, a renowned Scottish author and journalist, with books and articles on a wide range of topics: including the Congo, the Spanish Civil War, archaeology, Scotland and more, an expert on Poland, who recently published his first novel “The Death of the Fronsac”.

• EKRAN - 10 years of Polish film in Toronto
The 10th EKRAN Toronto Polish Festival is starting very soon, on November 5. Nine years is a long time - lots of films, guests, screenings, events. It's a perfect moment to look back.

• Great Poles - Henryk Sienkiewicz

• Smacznego! Eating Polish  - halusky

POLcast episode 57

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

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

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

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

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:

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POLcast episode 52

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

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