“Italians in Toronto Events”, a party lasting ten years

TORONTO – Italy of the future is here. A multi-ethnic, multicultural Italy which struggles to emerge in the “Belpaese” but has found its ideal, natural dimension in Toronto. The proof is the group “Italians in Toronto Events” (Italiani a Toronto Eventi) which for a decade has been a reality made up of meetings and events for young Italians in Toronto. 

The group gathered last Saturday at Kramer’s on Yonge Street to celebrate its tenth anniversary. More than eighty were present, amidst typically Italian cheerfulness and the desire to share new experiences and old memories (in the photo above, by Olmo Fattorini, some of the participants).

“Ten years ago, at the first meeting, there were eight of us” explains the organizer Josephine Stanley, “heart” and driving force of the group. “We have come a long way. Today we are so many and the best thing is that in recent years the new ‘face’ of Italy has emerged in our community. Many young people who are joining the group are in fact young Italians born in Italy to parents who immigrated from Eastern Europe, South America, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, or people from other countries who lived in Italy for a period, for study or work, before moving to Canada. These kids feel Italian, they are Italian: even those who have only been passing through Italy, they look for the Italian community because they love our culture and our hospitality. Because we are a big Italian family without borders”, underlines Josephine.

She herself is a Palermitan originally from Sri Lanka and arrived in Canada in 1996 with her parents and sister: a real “pioneer” of multi-ethnic Italy in Toronto, therefore.

Thanks to her commitment and that of other Italians such as Leonardo Capillo, present with her at the first meeting of the group on February 25, 2013, “Italiani a Toronto Eventi” has become a point of reference for those arriving here by emigrating from Italy. And the most beautiful thing is that “friendships are born that go beyond the group. And then with us the Italians feel at home. They fill the void of nostalgia”.

“Toronto National Team” (la Nazionale a Toronto)

Not only that: there are also those who have decided to recreate the Italian football atmosphere here. Five years ago Giovanni Palanza inherited the “Toronto National Team” (la Nazionale a Toronto) from Simone D’Urso: it’s a 7-a-side football team that participates in all the tournaments in the city. “We haven’t won a tournament yet, but at the table we are the world champions!” Giovanni jokingly says referring to the dinners organized with his teammates. In short: with “Italiani a Toronto Eventi” it’s always a party. A party that has lasted for ten years. One hundred of these days, paisà!

Josephine: “Our goal is to make newcomers feel at home”

TORONTO – In a long post on Facebook, published after the party for ten years of “Italians in Toronto Events”, Josephine Stanley (in the photo above) thanks her travel companions by sharing some memories of the beautiful adventure.

“First of all, I would like to thank – Josephine writes – Aurelia Massara, Luisa Ulloa Severino, Enrico Pulsar Aprea, Olmo Fattorini, Ciro De Angelis, Rosaria and Giuseppe Quartarone of SweetSicily and Kramer’s for helping me organize the meeting on Saturday evening. I also address a special thanks to Gio Palanza and La Nazionale in Toronto for their support and love. The party was a great success and I am delighted to have been able to celebrate this important anniversary with you. Above all, I would like to thank all the guys who attended on Saturday evening and in general all the guys in the group who actively participate in the meetings and word of mouth which makes this group grow more and more. The group would not exist without you! I have always said over the years that the group is not mine but yours/ours and I still think it today. I would like to thank all the friends of the group who managed to dedicate a minute of their time to record a video message of good wishes the”.

“Ten years ago Leonardo Capillo and I were among the 8 people sitting at the first meeting and since then we have seen the group grow exponentially. Over the course of these ten years, the group has seen hundreds of people pass by; over time these people established in and around Toronto while others for various circumstances have returned to Italy or moved to other countries including France, Germany, Spain, England, Denmark, Australia or whoever is currently traveling around the world alone. the fact is that through the group everyone has managed to find a little piece of Italy outside Italy. According to some of our friends abroad, the other groups of ‘Italians in…’ are not as special as this one. Making sure you feel at home it has become an important reason for organizing meetings. On Saturday I spoke to a 19-year-old boy who had been in the city for a month and, looking around, told me ‘I was missing this’ and there I was convinced even more ù that the group is useful for something, not only for an exchange of information but also for sharing light-hearted moments in the way only we know how to do”.

“Saturday evening I saw a group of friends. The group also works because the acquaintances of an evening are taken outside the group and turn into true friendships and groups (as far as they can be in a Canadian context) so we bonds even more and certain friendships become like second families. Many can testify that your family members in Italy know their friends from here as if they were at home. I hope this group is special for you too and that you have met many beautiful people and created so many good memories. I hope that in my small way I was able to give you something that I was missing when I arrived in Canada”. And she concludes: “Thank you very much again for your presence, your enthusiasm and your affection! See you next time!”.