.: Patron :.




 From Petersburg to Canada

 Nasz patron

Kazimierz Gzowski (1813-1898)

    Our patron's ways of life seem colorful and extraordinary. Nevertheless, they are typical of a few generations of Poles who had to pay the price of exile for their patriotism in the 19th century.
    Kazimierz Stanisław Gzowski (1813-1898) was an engineer, lawyer, insurgent in the Polish Revolt of 1830. In 1834 he emigrated to the USA and further to Canada in 1842. He created and managed many building sites in the USA and Canada. Between 1896-97 he was Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
    Kazimierz Stanislaw Gzowski (1813-1898) came from an old, Polish noble family. The ancestor of the family line was Stanislaw, of the Junosza clan. Kazimierz's father spent some time in Petersburg as an officer in the Russian Imperial Guard. There, on June 15, 1813, Kazimierz was born. The constructor-to-be began his education at the age of ten to finish it in 1830, just before the outbreak of the Polish Revolt of 1830. In the expectation that the eldest son would also follow a military career, he was sent away at the age of ten to a famous preparatory school, the Lyceum of Krzemieniec. He actively participated in the Revolt of 1830 (at the time Gzowski2a.gif (45325 bytes)of its outbreak he was in Warsaw), in which he was wounded and afterwards interned. While escorted with other insurgents, he took control of the ship and made his way to New York.
   He arrived there at the end of 1834. After a short stay on the east coast, he moved to Pittsfield. His charm, gentility and the fact that he was a Polish insurgent allowed him to adapt to the new environment very quickly.
   When in Pittsfield he applied to a renowned legal practice. Simultaneously, he studied English intensely. In spring 1837 he passed legal studies exam with flying colours. Then he moved to Pennsylvania and settled in Erie, where he married a daughter of a local doctor. After a while he moved to Ontario in Canada, where he started a career in the Department of Public Works.
   In the United States and later in Canada he had a brilliant career. He supervised building a part of the railroad connecting New York and the Great Lakes. He designed and built many water and land routes in the upper Canada. He was the creator of the International Bridge for rail traffic over the Niagara River between Fort Erie and Buffalo. Under his supervision, 600 miles of highways, 6 bridges and harbours were completed. The first railroad he was in charge of was the line linking Montreal with American border. He also took part in developing the Montreal port and in deepening the Saint Lawrence River. In 1853 Gzowski went to live in Toronto. The greatest achievement of the company, Gzowski and Co., he set up was the 172 mile railroad connecting Toronto with Ontario. Nevertheless, he gained the fame as the constructor of the railroad between Canada and the USA over the Niagara bridge, ever since he was called the tamer of Niagara. Moreover, Americans and Canadians owe Gzowski the world-famous park system on the Canadian side of the Niagara River. Gzowski also made a contribution to the Canadian defensive system. He was awarded a lieutenant colonel of militia rank for his accomplishments in this area. In 1890 the English Queen knighted Gzowski. He was also interested in education and ecology. Ornithological collections he gathered supplied the stock of biological museum in Toronto.
  In the second half of 1897 he fell seriously sick. He died in his house in Toronto. He was buried in the local cemetery on 24.VIII.1898.
    Engineering, military, education and industry - every of these branches was in the scope of interest of Kazimierz Gzowski. His career makes a unique bond between Poland and Canada, of which our school is the material proof since it was built owing to the help of Polish Canadians.