Paul Dubicki identifies himself as a Canadian first, but doesn’t forget his Polish culture.
“We come to this country and maybe we are different but I think we are first of all Canadian, but we don’t forget our roots,” he said.
Over the weekend the Roncesvalles Villiage BIA hosted its eighth annual Polish Festival celebrating all the food, music and culture of Poland.
Dubicki, 82, arrived in Canada in 1951. His wife Maria, 75, arrived in 1955. Both have been active participants in the festival since the beginning, acting as ambassadors for the past couple of years.
The festival may have been celebrating everything Polish, but Dubicki says it’s not just about Poland.
“It may be a Polish festival but there’s so many other cultures that take part in it,” he said. “I think that’s what Canada is all about.”
Leszek Nieznanski, an 83-year-old Polish art vendor, has been selling reprints of famous Polish paintings since the beginning of the festival. He says it’s important for Torontonians to know more about his culture and its art history.
In his display, he showcased a reprinted painting of Adam and Eve from Tamara Lempicka. The original was sold in New York for $1.8-million back in 1994.
There were hundreds of people walking up and down Roncesvalles watching dancers in traditional Polish dress, lining up for pierogis, and crowding around buskers who juggled poles of fire.
Amongst the crowd were friends Kryssta Mills and Ana-Maria Alvarado. It was Mills’ first time at the festival and Ana-Maria’s second.
“What’s really unique about Toronto is that the neighbourhoods all have their own flavours,” Mills said. “That’s what festivals like this help promote and continue to put on the forefront.”
The festival ended Sunday night.