Establishment of the parish Kazimierz
Plans for the establishment of the third Polish parish in Toronto were created on the initiative of the Oblate Fathers working in the parish of Saint. Stanislaus. Already in 1944, the fathers sensed the urgent need for a new Polish parish in the western part of the city.
The need for a new church became even more urgent when hundreds of immigrants after World War II began to flow into Toronto and naturally gather around the Polish parish of Saint. Stanislaus. The walls of the church of St. Stanisława became more and more tighter for the ever-increasing number of the faithful, and pastoral work could hardly embrace all countrymen. Many Polish families, so far gathering around the church of St. Stanisława, began to settle in the western part of the city.
Even in 1944, the first efforts were made to purchase a Protestant church on the corner of Dundas and Dovercourt. Numerous Polish families began to settle in this area. However, the purchase did not take place. And perhaps it was a mischief for the creation of a new Polish parish, because in January 1945, this Protestant church was completely burned. Fire only escaped the auditorium.
The search for a suitable square for the construction of a new church has not stopped. This time, however, they tried to find something in the Sunnyside district. And so on April 1, 1948, the then parish priest of St. Stanisława, priest P. Klita, OMI purchased land for the construction of a church for $ 15,000, at the corner of Roncesvalles Ave. and Garden St., from p. Frankfurt. And two weeks later, an adjacent house (currently presbytery) was purchased for $ 15,000. The joyful news of this transaction was announced on the feast of the Resurrection during the Resurrection Mass of 1948.
Organizing a new parish, dedicated to Saint. Kazimierz, was entrusted to Fr. Michał Smith, OMI, assistant in the parish of Saint. Stanisława Kostka. It was a great project, uncertain or even risky. Only 80 families. Therefore, the auditorium was started as a key position in the construction of the new parish.
July 25, 1948, Father S. Puchniak, OMI, then parish priest of St. Peter and Paul in Welland made a sacrifice of land for the construction of the auditorium in the presence of a large group of believers and clergy. And the next day, the basement was kicked and foundation laid. The work moved forward quite fast, so that on September 26 of the same year, His Excellency Fr. Bishop Webster sacrificed the cornerstone. Thanks to the generosity of the parishioners and their unselfish help, the auditorium was completed in its harsh structure at the end of 1948.
For all the faithful of the newly formed parish there was a joyful day, a day of thanksgiving to God, a day of pride and boasting. It was the day of Easter, April 17, 1949. In the newly built auditorium, on the upper floor, the first Holy Mass was celebrated. – Resurrection at 6 am. The chapel was full. 16 altar boys and 20 beautifully adopted girls led a resurrection procession. Father Smith, priest L. Engel and priest L. Caliński, OMI, celebrated the Resurrection Mass: and the people full of joy, accompanied by the organ, sang: “Our day is happy today” in our temple.
This was the first Resurrection in the history of St. Kazimierz, and at the same time the beginning of everyday Mass. at. 9 and 11 in the morning. On that Sunday, the first baptisms were given, and on Easter Monday the first wedding took place.
On April 24, the first party in our auditorium took place. The room was filled to the brim and vibrant with the joy of life. The next day – April 25, the first święconka in the room. Pride and joy pierced the gathered faces.
In May, devotions to the Mother of God began, so dear to the Polish heart. On Mother’s Day the first Holy Communion took place. 12 children prepared for this great day by the Sisters Felicjanki from the parish of St. Stanislaus. The crowning of all events was May 22, 1949, when His Em. Ks. Card. McGuigan officially opened the parish and dedicates the chapel.