Wilno is a small community in eastern Ontario. It is the heart of a large Polish settlement in the area. "Wilno" is the Polish name for what is now the Lithuanian city of Vilnius. Wilno is nestled in the rolling, picturesque terrain of the Madawaska valley which was largely shaped during the demise of the Laurentide ice sheet at the end of the last North American Ice Age.
Wilno is the oldest Polish settlement in Canada. The first European settlers in this area, circa 1858, were mainly of Kashubian origin from the then Prussian area of Poland. They are an integral part of what has been called the Kashubian diaspora. One of the reasons they chose this area to settle was the landscape which reminded them of their homes.
At one time, John Rudolphus Booth's Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway ran through the town mainly serving the lumber industry. The former train route has now been redeveloped into a recreational path.
Wilno's namesake was the city of Vilnius (Wilno in Polish), then in a Russian-occupied area of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, now capital of Lithuania, the birthplace of Reverend Ludwik Dembski, who was a prominent community spiritual leader and town founder.
Highway 60 forms the main route in and out of town.
The town is small and everything is within walking distance. There is no public transportation.
In the lower valley of the town there is a small area celebrating the Polish culture. To the east along Highway 60 is St. Mary's Church, which is also tied to the Polish culture.
- Polish Kashub Heritage Museum & Skansen, 1112 Wilno North Rd, Wilno, ☏ . July & Aug: daily 11AM-5PM; last two weeks of June and first two weeks of Sep: Sa Sa 11AM-5PM. Many colourful displays, the antique furniture and the rich variety of artifacts and cultural memorabilia. Suggested donation: adult $2, child $1.
- Kashub Festival. First Saturday in May, 11AM-9PM. It celebrates the specific cultural heritage of the area as is associated with the Kashub people from Poland. It is a cultural festival with singing and dancing of traditional songs, food and merchandise. Free.
- Annual Chicken Supper on the Labour Day Weekend: this supper has been an annual event since the 1950s. Approximately 2,500 people are served each Labour Day Weekend. The food is authentic Kaszebe–Polish fare that is historically accurate, original settler cuisine, with a strong remembrance of a long-ago home.
The Wilno Tavern sells Wilno t-shirts and hoodies.
- Wilno Craft Gallery, 19 Borutski Street, ☏ . June 1 to mid-Oct: M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM; mid-Oct to Dec Apr May: W-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM; Jan-Mar: F Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM. A selection of 100 percent Canadian works, including many local artists and artisans. Paintings and prints, photography, pottery, glass, woodwork, metal and stone work, jewellery, textile and handbags, soaps and beauty products, natural food products, greeting cards.
Eat and drink
- Wilno Tavern Restaurant, 17589 Highway #60, ☏ . opens at 11AM (closed M from mid-Oct to May 1). A Polish pub for food and drink - sausage, cabbage rolls, Perogies and salad. Live music sometimes.
- Mountain View Motel (5 km west of Wilno on Highway 60), ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. From $90.
More accommodation is available in Barry's Bay.
- Wilno Post Office on Highway 60 west of the village.
|Routes through Wilno|
|Algonquin Provincial Park ← Barry's Bay ←||W E||→ Killaloe → Renfrew|