The Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in Canada was founded in 1943 by Professor Oskar Halecki, an eminent Polish historian and member of the Polish Academy of Learning (PAU), as well as Wanda Stachiewicz, an active member of the Polish community in Quebec. Other founding members of the Institute include the following renowned scholars:
Prof. W. G. Penfield (McGill University)
Prof. W. Bovey (McGill University)
Prof. R. A. MacLennan (McGill University)
Prof. C. MacMillan (McGill University)
Prof. J. B. Collip (Royal Society of Canada)
Prof. J. Rousseau (Canadian Association for the Advancement of Science)
Prof. J. Pawlikowski (École Polytechnique de Montréal)
Prof. B. Szczeniowski (Université de Montréal)
Dr. T. Poznański (Université Laval)
Dr. T. Brzeziński (Consul of Poland in Montreal)
Initially, the Institute existed as the Canadian Section of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, based in New York. It was created to maintain bonds of cooperation between Polish and Canadian scholars as well as to defend freedom of thought in Poland. The Principals of McGill University and Université de Montréal became honorary members of the Institute and Professor Penfield its first president. McGill University, Professor Penfield's home institution, offered to house the Institute on its campus, where it remained until September 2016.
In 1976, the Montreal Section separated from the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America and became an autonomous public institution.
The Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in Canada gathers Polish and Canadian researchers from a variety of academic fields in the humanities and sciences alike, as well as artists and eminent representatives of liberal professions. The mission of the Institute is to promote the intellectual and cultural heritage of Poland and its people amongst Canada’s multicultural society.
promoting Polish research and culture via scholarly publications, lectures, conferences, concerts, and artistic events
maintaining and developing the Polish Library
gathering archival materials about the Polish community in Canada
cooperating with academic institutions in Canada (McGill University) and Poland (Polish Academy of Learning)