Canadian studies in Poland have been developing rapidly in the last ten years. Within a relatively short period of time four Canadian Studies Centres were opened in Warsaw, Cracow, Łódz and Toruń. Courses with Canadian content were introduced at other universities across the country. In each case there were individuals, whose enthusiasm and hard work in the entirely new social system contributed, within their local communities, to the rise and then increase of interest in Canada. Research gained impetus together with the establishment of the Polish Association for Canadian Studies back in 1998. PACS came into being at the first conference of Polish Canadianists, which took place at Warsaw University. The First International Canadian Studies Conference to be held in Poland was the highlight of those activities. The conference took place on the 20-22 April 2001 and was hosted by the Department of English and Canadian Resource Centre at the Nicholas Copernicus University, Torun.
The conference theme, like the title of this volume, was Exploring Canadian Identities / Vers I 'exploration des identites canadiennes. It has, no doubt, been one of the most significant issues in research on Canada recently so it evoked enormous interest world wide. The conference attracted over ninety participants from many European countries, as well as from Israel, Japan, Brazil, Canada and the USA. Nearly sixty papers were presented in three main sections: Canadian literature in English; sociology, history & political sciences; Francophone section. The problem of identity became an object of the exchange of ideas between Polish canadianists and foreign participants from various cultural backgrounds. The variety of subjects discussed and the high standards they presented were most admirable. Hence, the final selection of the papers we received for this publication was not an easy task for the reviewers and publishers alike.