A Polish-Canadian press first developed in Winnipeg in the early 1900’s as a way to share news amongst Polish immigrants scattered throughout the country. Newspapers were also a vehicle for educating these immigrants in the customs and laws of their new country. In the years between the end of the First World War and the beginning of the Great Depression (1919 to 1931), approximately 52,000 Polish immigrants arrived in Canada. The majority of these individuals settled in the urban, industrial centres of the country, in particular Toronto, stimulating the development of a Polish-Canadian press in that city.
This flood of inter-war immigrants resulted in the development of societies of a political, cultural or benevolent nature across Canada. In 1922, two such societies, the Sons of Poland (formed in Toronto in 1907) and the St. Stanislaw Kostka Society merged to create the Polish Alliance Friendly Society in Toronto. The following year saw the addition of the Polish Progressive Society to the Alliance. The Alliance was responsible for the organization of Polish-Canadian cultural and social activities, as well as the administration of medical and death insurance. In 1933, it began to produce its own monthly publication, the Zwiazkowiec (Alliancer). Zwiazkowiec became one of the most popular weekly Polish Canadian newspapers in Canada and in 1938 the Polish Alliance Press was formed to oversee its publication. The newspaper was published in the Polish language, with some English language content included in later years. Issues of Zwiazkowiec dating from 1935 to 1976 and 1978 have been digitized and are made available here.
Contributed by Multicultural History Society of Ontario.