In celebration of twenty years at Enter Stage Right -- Bionote of Mark Wegierski (Part Two)
By Mark Wegierski
Having successfully completed his studies at UTS, Mark Wegierski was accepted into St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) with distinction, with a double Major in History and English Literature (1979-1983). The degree also included courses in International Relations, Political Science, Philosophy, and Modern Languages. He managed to take two courses with the world-renowned literary critic H. Northrop Frye.
This was followed by a Master of Arts (M.A.) in History (1983-1984), at the University of Toronto, focusing on International Relations, Modern and East-Central Europe, and the History of Ideas. He fondly remembers Professor Peter de B. Brock, the longtime East European studies scholar at the University of Toronto, as well as Professor Modris Eksteins, the cultural historian (author of the highly acclaimed, Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age).
In 1983-1984, Mark Wegierski was a Founding and Executive Member (Cultural Affairs), of the University of Toronto Polish Club, an attempt to establish the presence of a dynamic Polish students’ and faculty organization at the University of Toronto. In 1987 to the 1990s, he continued to serve as an Alumni Member or Adviser, University of Toronto Polish Students’ Club/Association.
After his M.A. in History, Mark Wegierski completed a Master of Library Science (M.L.S.) (1985-1987) at the University of Toronto, focusing on Collection Development in academic, and public reference libraries; Archives; and Rare Books. The degree included core library subjects (reference, cataloguing, and collection development); computer applications; statistics; management studies; analytical/historical bibliography; archival theory; history of books and print; and social/informational environment analysis.
On October 28, 1981, Mark Wegierski published a letter-to-the-editor (“Visa policy.”) on Polish Solidarity refugees, in The Globe and Mail.
Mark Wegierski published two columns and two letters-to-the-editor in The Varsity (the main University of Toronto student newspaper); an article in The University of Toronto Magazine (a brief attempt at a conservative-leaning student newspaper at the University of Toronto); and a review of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) in The Mike (the St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto student newspaper).
A memorable occasion at the University of Toronto was his participation in a model United Nations Assembly, when he powerfully represented the Republic of El Salvador.
In 1981-1985, Mark Wegierski was highly active in a University of Toronto political party association, and was a University of Toronto Model Parliament “Member of Parliament” for four consecutive years.
In the annual Model Parliament election, campus political party associations received seats (out of a total of 100 seats) in a model Canadian House of Commons, or a model Ontario Provincial Parliament (in alternating years), according to the percentage of the student vote received (all University of Toronto students were eligible to vote). Generally, a party’s caucus was selected from the campus association membership by the executive – with the President of the association being the party leader; the Speaker of the Parliament was an actual prominent politician; there were several officers-of-parliament (student volunteers); and the Model Parliament was scheduled to meet for three days at Hart House, typically Friday-Sunday.
In January 1984, Mark Wegierski attended a major campus event, “Debate 1984: Capitalism vs. Socialism, which is the moral system?” held at the University of Toronto, Convocation Hall, with over 1,700 persons in attendance. Several days later, he published a column about it in The Varsity.
In September 1984, Mark Wegierski attended the Meeting of Pope John Paul II with the Polish-Canadian community, at the Canadian National Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. It was a very moving ceremony, despite the chilly day by the lakeshore.
In June 1986, Mark Wegierski travelled by air to Montreal, where he stayed for about three weeks. During that time, he visited the main tourist sites of the city, as well as the Polish Library in Montreal (which was then part of McGill University). He met with Wanda Stachiewicz, who had established the Library many decades earlier. Wanda Stachiewicz (née Abraham) was the widow of General Waclaw Stachiewicz, who had been Chief of Staff, Polish Armed Forces, 1935-1939. They both eventually emigrated to Canada.
In September 1986, Mark Wegierski attended a Libertarian Party event in Toronto, featuring Peter Worthington as the main speaker. Mark Wegierski asked a lot of pertinent questions, and successfully introduced himself to Peter Worthington.
In the November 1986 issue of Peter Worthington’s Influence magazine, Mark Wegierski had a letter-to-the-editor published – “Left in the Dark” – a commentary on the Canadian political scene.
In May 1987, Mark Wegierski attended a Libertarian Party conference in Toronto, where he met with Peter Brimelow (author of the ground-breaking book on Canadian politics, The Patriot Game: National Dreams and Political Realities (1986)).
On November 24, 1987, Mark Wegierski attended the “Canada and NATO: Defending Peace with Freedom” Public Meeting and Dinner with Hon. Perrin Beatty, Minister of National Defence, Canada (Toronto, Royal York Hotel, 100 Front Street West, Concert Hall) sponsored by the Canadian Black Ribbon Day Committee (BRDC).
On November 27-29, 1987 (the American Thanksgiving weekend), Mark Wegierski attended, by special invitation, the Piety Hill Colloquium (“Criticisms of the Constitution”) (chaired by the then-leading traditionalist conservative philosopher in America, Professor Russell Kirk) which took place in Mecosta, Michigan (organized by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI)). Mark Wegierski gave a presentation about the political and cultural situation in Canada at that time, which was taped by the ISI for further use in its programs.
In 1987, Mark Wegierski was the sole major editor of Journey Through History: Memoirs, by Wanda Stachiewicz, published by the Canadian-Polish Research Institute (Toronto, 1987).
On August 29, 1988, Mark Wegierski gave a presentation at “The Canadian Media and National Security” Ginger group meeting at the Mackenzie Institute offices (Toronto, 100 Adelaide Street West, Suite 906) The Mackenzie Institute (Toronto).
On November 5, 1988, Mark Wegierski attended the “Subversion in the 1980s: Myth or Reality?” Conference (speakers included Dr. Zdzislaw M. Rurarz (former Polish Ambassador to Japan; defected to the West in 1981) (Toronto: The Brownstone Hotel, 15 Charles Street East) The Mackenzie Institute (Toronto).
On November 4, 1989, Mark Wegierski attended the Canadian Premiere of Alexander Nevsky (film directed by Sergei Eisenstein, music by Sergei Prokofiev) (1938) with the music played live by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Toronto: Roy Thomson Hall) The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), and the Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies.
On November 18, 1989, Mark Wegierski attended the “Western Security in the Age of Glasnost” Conference (speakers included Stan Levchenko (a leading Soviet defector), former major in the Soviet KGB) (Toronto: The Brownstone Hotel, 15 Charles Street East) The Mackenzie Institute (Toronto).
Mark Wegierski was shortlisted in The World & I Magazine 1989 Article Contest.
In 1989, Mark Wegierski took the course, “Online Information Retrieval: An Introduction” at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Library and Information Science (FLIS), Continuing Education.
To be continued.
Mark Wegierski is a Canadian writer and historical researcher.