Manitoba Historical Society
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Historic Sites of Manitoba: First Poles Monument (Birds Hill Provincial Park, RM of Springfield)

In 1817, the De Meuron Swiss regiment recruited by Lord Selkirk arrived in the Red River Settlement. Among the soldiers were Michael Bardowicz, Pierre Gandrowski, Andrew Jankowski, Michael Kaminski, Martin Kralich, Wojciech Lasota, Laurent Kwileski, John Wasilowski, Michael Isaak, and Antoine Sabacki. When the unit was disbanded, they stayed and settled. Some of them appear to have departed for the United States following a massive flood in 1826.

A monument in the Rural Municipality of Springfield on Nimonin Road, in Birds Hill Provincial Park, commemorates these first Poles. An affixed plaque was funded by the Association of Polish Priests in Manitoba. Located near the Pine Ridge Cemetery, the monument was unveiled on 24 June 1971 with a blessing from Association’s President Father A. Hubich, with Consumer Affairs Minister Ben Hanuschak representing the provincial government.

First Poles monument unveiled by Hon. Ben Hanuschak

First Poles monument unveiled by Hon. Ben Hanuschak (1971)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Government Photographs (CH 0267), GR3552, 71-1481

First Poles commemorative monument

First Poles commemorative monument (August 2015)
Source: Nathan Kramer

Closeup of First Poles commemorative plaque

Closeup of First Poles commemorative plaque (December 2017)
Source: Rose Kuzina

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N50.01877, W96.87052
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

First Polish Settlers in Manitoba by Rev. E. M. Hubicz
Manitoba Pageant, April 1957

Poles Among the De Meuron Soldiers by Victor Turek
MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 9, 1952-53 Season


[Photo caption], Winnipeg Free Press, 25 June 1971, page 2.

We thank Rose Kuzina for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 2 May 2021

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