Canadian Polish Academic Club/Society
The Canadian Polish Academic Club (CPAC) was established in 1965 according to Andrzej Kobos, who along with Jolanta Peczak authored the book "Polonia in Alberta 1895-1995".
Quoting the information from this book on the beginning of our club we learned that "the first meeting organized by Henryk Wojcicki, Marian Strzelecki and Irena Domecka was attended by about thirty people, including Konstanty Kowalewski, Jozef Bereznicki, Mieczyslaw Domecki, Tadeusz Walkowski, Romuald Wolikowski and JozefTworek.
Some spoke Polish, while others, being second generation immigrants, spoke English. Although the members of the Club meet mainly for social purposes, they are also involved in community life and charitable activities. They were one of three organizations which sponsored over twenty Polish refugees at the beginning of the 1980s.
The Club supports Polish schools, dance groups and the "Polonia" Soccer Club."
At a meeting in 1996, Club members voted for CPAC to join the Canadian Polish Congress. CPAC members, who are former presidents of this Congress, are Leszek Ignasiak, Kazimierz Walewski, Bruno Bochinski, Jozef Bereznicki, Jarek Nowinka among others.
The heart and brain of our Club is the board of directors which is elected at AGM for two year term. It comprises of the president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary and program directors. The board's duties are not easy. They plan events, organise them, make all reservations, inform members, collect payments and manage the Club's finances.
Usually we have four events per year.
The first one is most often sport oriented, usually ski trips in early spring. In the past trips have gone to Jasper and more recently to Canmore. The highlight of these trips are Saturday suppers, when all members get together and enjoy cooking, eating and having a good time.
In the early summer time we have met for family oriented picnics. They took place at various locations - a park in Devon, Hawrelak park and several times at Ola Lawczynski's garden. We've enjoyed good food, prepared mostly by the board members, shared vacations plans, enjoyed usually very good weather and played games especially in Devon.
Also we had two wonderful weekends in Polish Stanica at Garner Lake.
In the fall our events have been indoors, usually at Syrena Club. In the past they took place at members' homes as well. During these events, presentations were given by Club members.
And the last event of the year has been the traditional Christmas Party at Syrena Club.
As to the presentations given by our members, they were educational/informative of professional or leisure nature.
Presentations on professional topics were given by:
- Kazio Walewski: Poland and the Sea
- Zbyszek Sawicki - Heart Diseases
- Ela Opara and Urszula Szkudlarek: Dentistry-Implants
- Mariusz Sapijaszko: Cosmetic Dermatology
- Jurek Warchol: Pharmacy-Aphrodisiacs
- Allen Wasnea: The Kopernik Lodge Project
- Marek Janowicz: Oil Sands
- Henry Wilman: Financial Management
Presentations on leisure topics were usually about travel.
They were given by:
- Czeslaw Seifried: Panama Canal Cruise
- Mila Seifried: Sanatoriums in Czech Republic
- Kazio Szymocha: Australia and its Aboriginal People
- Basia and Krzysiof Flis: Kilimanjaro Climb
- Ela Opara: India
Sometimes the Board invited interesting people to our meetings.
Jozef Bereznicki hosted a meeting with representatives of the Polish Government in London at his house.
Ewa Szymanski, then the president of CPAC, invited a priest, SlawekTrzasko, to talk about his experience on the mission in Paraguay and hosted Club members at her house.
Agnieszka and Arthur Palczak hosted a Club meeting at their house with a guest - Krzysztof Kasprzyk, Polish Consul.
Maryla and Mark Hasek hosted Club memebers and a guest - Polish Consul, Krzysztof Czapla, at their house.
There was a meeting with Grant Mitchell organized in Hotel Riviera. Mitchell was then a leader of the Liberal Party in Alberta.
The significant event was the celebration of the 40th anniversary of CPAC in Fort Edmonton in the Selkirk Hotel.
CPAC has been rejuvenated since Maja Janowicz became the president in 2008. She brought to the Club so much enthusiasm and energy. Since then many new members joined the Club.
Maja assembled a board, where almost all members have worked together over 5 terms. And they continue to do so. .
In 2015 at the general meeting it has been voted by the majority of qualified members to change the status from a club to a society. It was finalized in 2016. This change plus the change of the Society's objectives to concentrate more on charitable work gives us the chance to participate in casino work and obtain funds from it.
The Canadian Polish Academic Society has donated money numerous times to various organizations and causes.
Among others they were:
The Hope Mission, Edmonton Food Bank, Concordia Student Fund and Wirth Institute for Mental Health Awareness.
In addition there was a donation in Poland for Szlachetna Paczka and Dom Dziecka "Goryczki.
In 2015 CPAS established two scholarships: one for students with a Polish background at Concordia University and a second one for talented students called the Young Talent Scholarship.