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An estimated 9.5 million Polish Americans and well over one million Polish Canadians live in the United States and Canada. They represent about 3% of the population in each country.

There are approximately 185,000 Polish-speakers in the Chicago metropolitan area alone, and Buffalo, NY, is seen as Polonia's second city in the US and home to many Polish Americans. Buffalo's steel mills and automobile factories provided jobs for many Polish immigrants in the early 20th century. Buffalo is the only city to have official celebrations inspired by the popular Polish custom of Dyngus Day.

According to the Canada 2016 Census, there are 1,106,585 Polish Canadians. The population is widely dispersed across Canada. The first Polish immigrants came to Canada in the 19th century. One of the largest concentrations of Polish Canadians is in the Roncesvalles area of Toronto. The area holds an annual Polish Festival, Canada's largest.

Many Americans and Canadians with Polish roots grow interested in tracing their family heritage to rediscover their ancestral ties to Poland. This type of travel tends to create a very memorable, emotional, and personal attachment to the country or location. Many first-time heritage-focused visitors are found to be returning to Poland for sentimental reasons or further research. With many resources available, reconnecting with your Polish heritage has never been easier.

While waiting for transatlantic tourism to open again, you can use specific resources and tools to begin tracing your heritage trail. You could start by contacting the Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) for questions and tips. Warsaw's POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews has created a Virtual Shtetl project which can prove invaluable in researching your Jewish ancestry in Poland. One can also explore the history and fates of Polish emigrants at the Emigration Museum in Gdynia. Additionally, the Polish State Archives collect vital information from various sources but unfortunately could prove challenging to navigate for non-Polish speakers.

Even if you have no family connection to this magnificent country, you should still make a point to visit it in the near future and start your European adventure in Poland.

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Polish National Tourist Office
221 River St. 9th floor
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Phone: 1 (551) 344-3057
e-mail: info.na@poland.travel