On May 7, Wesley Andreas hosted a Jane’s Walk through Spruce Avenue. He discussed the neighbourhood’s general history and the strong Polish presence.
Southwest of Alberta Avenue are several Polish businesses and community hubs. Polish settlers have been in Alberta for over a century, but plenty of immigration occurred after the Second World War. The Polish suffered much hardship during the Nazi occupation. Poland developed a strong resistance movement and brought that spirit here.
A central fixture in Edmonton’s Polish community is the 1913-built Holy Rosary Church on 106 Street and 114 Avenue. Mass is usually in Polish. East of Holy Rosary is St. Basil School, which boasts the only publicly-funded English-Polish school program in North America.
Surrounding the traffic circle to the west of Alberta Avenue are three Polish businesses which started in the 1980s: Polish Food Centre, Polonia Sausage and Deli, and Camelot Travel and Tours. These businesses can be traced to the second post Second World War wave of immigration when Poland was transitioning from Soviet rule to independence.
At the time, Poland was subjected to martial law due to a strong solidarity movement operating separately from the Communist government.
Header Image: Spruce Avenue and area have a Polish history. Credit: Chantal Figeat