A book of condolences was set up Monday at the Polish consulate in Edmonton in memory of the victims of a plane crash in Russia Saturday that included the country's president, Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria, along with other senior Polish officials.
"I have to be here to send my condolences," said an emotional Maria Hasek, who was born in Poland and came to Canada as a child in 1962.
"Nothing else I could do right now, but just pray for them," she said.
The book sat in the front of the consulate office on a small table covered with a white cloth. The book was flanked by a framed photograph of Kaczynski and his wife, vases of red and white flowers and a cream-coloured candle.
Millions of Poles around the world are grieving the death of Kaczynski and 95 other members of a delegation who died after the plane taking them to a memorial service marking the 70th anniversary of the 1940 Katyn Forest massacre crashed in western Russia.
The crash has had an impact on Polish people around the world, said Ted Gajewski, who with his wife Anna signed the book at the Polish consulate Monday.
"It's my duty. It's my biggest sorrow, you know, that we lost a president," he said.
People in Edmonton remembered the victims during church services on Sunday as well as during a candlelight vigil later that night. More events are planned for later in the week.