The story of Walter Ostanek, “Canada’s Polka King”, begins in the small town of Duparquet, Quebec, where he was born Ladislav John Ostanek on April 20, 1935, of Slovenian heritage (descent). Who could have known then, that this young boy would become the world’s polka music ambassador.
When he was four, Walter’s family moved to the St.Catharines, Ontario area, and by the age of nine, Walter began playing polka music on the button diatonic accordion. At age 12, he received his first piano accordion, and only four years later, in 1951, he broadened his horizons and formed his own group, his first Country-Western/Polka Band.
Two years later, he had joined with Abbie Andrews and the Canadian Ranch Boys, and was an instrumental part of their radio show, (three programs per week).
At age 21, Walter Ostanek felt he was ready to proceed further on his own, and on Sunday, January 26, 1957, his new polka band played its first engagement at the German Village in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The day had finally come after 13 years of study, hard work, and determination, Walter’s dream had come true – the Walter Ostanek Band was now a reality, and polka music had a future king.
The next milepost in Walter’s life bears the date February 22, 1957, when he and his bride, Irene, exchanged their vows in marriage. With their two children, they now reside in St.Catharines Ontario, Canada.
In leisure time, Walter favours a quiet evening at home, where he immerses himself in his favorite music including Polka Music and Country. Some of his favourite artists are America’s Polka King, Frankie Yankovic, and Country artists Ray Price, George Strait, Randy Travis, Charlie Pride, George Jones, Alan Jackson, and Clint Black, to name a few.
Some other favourite pastimes are collecting Polka albums, and Polka Videos, in addition to Country LP’s and CD’s, collecting autographs, photography, video, and DVD recordings.
Other than working with the band, Walter owns, “Walter Ostanek Music Centre Ltd.”, at 41 Geneva Street, St.Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
To Walter Ostanek, the title, “Canada’s Polka King” is much more than just a name. It is a special honour that carries with it an obligation to a special dedication and a promise to his fans and followers that wherever and whenever the Walter Ostanek Band appears in public, the band will do their utmost to please the audience and keep them happy.
It is through this special kind of hard work and dedication throughout the 49 years that Walter has managed many memorable accomplishments.
Walter works very hard at his craft and he expects, moreover, he demands that his fellow musicians do likewise… and when performing on stage, the result is a happy blend of enthusiasm and mutual respect.
The obvious love of not only polka music, but good music in general is combined with talent to create a winning combination that has earned Walter Ostanek the title, “Canada’s Polka King”… and has earned the band a devoted audience.