The Polish Gymnastic Association „Sokół Winnipeg” was established on December 3, 1906. It was the first Polish organization on the Canadian prairies. Sokół Winnipeg exists because of the efforts of Stanisław, Kazimierz and Stefan Sielski of Kraków.
The first president of Sokol was Julian Nowacki, a patriotic Galician teacher. Thanks to his ambitions and efforts, The Polish Times („Polski Tygodnik CZAS”), now "Czas-Związkowiec" was created.
By 1914, Sokół's membership surpassed 100 members and the organization moved into its current location at Manitoba Ave. To this day, our headquarters remain in the building built on this site in 1928, with an extension that had been built in 1964. This extension boasted a much larger space with a social hall, board room and stages. Over the years, this building has hosted meetings, performances and the bingo games which help support its upkeep.
From 1914, The Sokół Choir has functioned without interruption and from it grew the Sokół Polish Folk Ensemble, Sokół School of Dance and our Polish Library. Soccer has been an integral part of Sokół for many years. The Sokół Winnipeg Soccer Team, consisting of athletes of Polish descent, has won multiple provincial championships as well as fourth place at the national level.
Starting in 1973, Sokół participated in Winnipeg's Folklorama multicultural festival. It hosted the Kraków, Poland Pavilion for over 30 years. Sokół then began hosting "Dni Sokóła - Polish Fest" in 2008. This festival has for over 10 years attracted people from Polonia and Winnipeg at large with presentation of Polish culture, song, dance, traditions, and delicious food. In the spirit of Winnipeg's multiculturalism, the festival has invited performers from various cultural groups to showcase their talent.
The Polish Gymnastic Association Sokół Winnipeg is the largest Polish organization in Manitoba. Recently, Sokół has been experiencing a sort of renaissance among youth in the Polish community. This new generation is dedicated, active and well-educated; they are strengthening the ranks of this organization and are being elected to leadership roles in our executive council.
The Sokół Folk Ensemble nurtures Polish culture in Winnipeg. The youth involved in the Ensemble and other parts of the organization are keeping alive the traditions and culture of our homeland, Poland. Thanks to them, our community will remain strong, vibrant and proud.