At the southern end of Roncesvalles Avenue, at the Sunnyside intersection of King, Queen, Queensway and Roncesvalles streets, two monuments are erected in memory of two events in Polish history. A large monument in memory of the massacre of Polish prisoners of war during World War II, and especially the mass graves of officers found in Katyn Forest. Fresh wreaths are placed there regularly. Next to it is a memorial to thousands of Polish citizens deported to Siberian labour camps during the Second World War.
While still recognized as a centre of the Polish community, the ethnic makeup of the area around Roncesvalles Avenue varies widely, as is the case throughout Toronto.
The Roncesvalles Village Business Improvement Area holds an annual Roncesvalles Village Polish Festival each fall, closing Roncesvalles Avenue to vehicular traffic. The festival features amusement rides, clothing, craft and food stands and outdoor musical entertainment, including polka music. In 2006, over 75,000 people attended the festival. The honourary patron of the festival is the Polish Consulate. It is considered the largest Polish festival in Canada.
Pegaz I - Tel: 905-238-9994
Pegaz II - Starsky I - Tel: 905-804-1414
Pegaz III - Starsky II - Tel: 905-608-0400
Polka European - Tel: 416-289-0379
Zoria Arts&Gifts Ltd - Tel: 905-457-8000
Polimex Travel Inc - Tel: 416-537-7914
Piast Travel: Biuro Toronto - Tel: 416-531-8786
Piast Travel: Biuro Mississauga - Tel: 905-277-5200
Polish and European foods of all kinds are available at Starsky Foods
2040 Dundas Street East - Mississauga, Ontario
3115 Dundas Street West - Mississauga, Ontario
685 Queenston Road - Hamilton, Ontario
National Independence Day - Toronto
Roncesvalles is a neighbourhood in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada centred around Roncesvalles Avenue, Culturally, the area is known as the centre of the Polish community in Toronto, with prominent Polish institutions, businesses and St Casimir's Catholic Church located on Roncesvalles Avenue. The street has long been known as the cultural and commercial centre of Toronto's Polish community. A number of Polish-speaking restaurants, delicatessens and shops specializing in Polish goods are located on Roncesvalles Avenue. The sign "Mówimy po polsku" ("We speak Polish") is displayed in some storefronts. The office of Gazeta, Toronto's Polish language newspaper, is located on Roncesvalles Avenue as is the headquarters of the Canadian Polish Congress.
In Poland, the Catholic faith is predominant, and this is the case for persons of Polish descent ('Polonia') in Canada. There are two large Catholic churches on Roncesvalles. St. Casimir's Roman Catholic Church offers Polish-language masses every Sunday. St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, at Westminster Avenue, holds Masses in English and Latin.
The public library branch holds a collection of Polish-language books and magazines. Polish-language lessons are part of the curriculum at St. Vincent de Paul separate school.
Pope John Paul II visited the neighbourhood when he came to Toronto in 1984. He dined at the Sir Nicholas Tavern, which is now the site of the coffee shop Tinto. An enormous memorial was held on Roncesvalles Avenue when Pope John Paul II died, with standing room only on the street and sidewalks of Roncesvalles from Marion Avenue to Wright Avenue. The memorial was loosely centred around a statue of the Pope located at the St. Stanislaus-St. Casimir's Credit Union, a credit union for people of Polish descent. A tribute of candles and flowers around the statue continues today.