Italian Heritage Month is recognized proudly during the month of June at the Toronto District School Board. The TDSB passed a motion to recognize Heritage Month in June in May 2012 and is also joined by the Province of Ontario in celebrating Heritage Month since June 2010 when the Italian Heritage Month Act was passed. As stated in the Heritage Act, 2010, “Ontario is home to more than 1,350,000 Canadians. Since the 1880s, the Italian Canadian community has made and continues to make significant contributions to the growth and prosperity of the Province of Ontario.”
Italian traditions are shared throughout the City of Toronto and enjoyed by our students, staff, TDSB communities and beyond. Italian cuisine is one custom that is appreciated around the globe. There are infinite recipes that are enjoyed by many, from signature tomato sauces with pasta, to various meat and fish specialties, and let us not forget the amazing desserts!
David Rocco is a well-known chef recognized for his Italian style of cooking. His parents emigrated from Italy in the 1950’s and raised David with traditional Italian cooking flare. David’s interest in food and his Italian roots contributed to his success as author of numerous cookbooks such as Dolce Famiglia, (Harper Collins; November 2016), and Made In Italy (Clarkson Potter, Harper Collins, October 2011). He is also a celebrity chef and host of several internationally syndicated television series promoting Italian cuisine.
Multicultural broadcasting in Canada was founded by Johnny Lombardi (CHIN Radio, 1966 and CHIN-FM, 1967), son of Italian immigrants. Johnny’s passion for celebrating the Italian language expanded to recognizing multiculturalism in Toronto. A bench honouring his accomplishments is located near College Street and Grace Street.
Dina Pugliese is also a Canadian television personality of Italian immigrants. She is currently the co-host of Breakfast Television and she grew up in the Greater Toronto Area enjoying Italian customs. She provides insight into Italian family life in this past Chatelaine article.
People from around the world travel to Italy, and many decide to make this country their home. This year, as the world marks the 75th Liberation anniversary , it is interesting to note that there has been a large Jewish population in Italy since ancient Roman times. A museum called, National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah (MEIS) is currently being built in Ferrara, Italy, with an anticipated completion date in late 2020. Early in 2018 their inaugural exhibition was called “Jews, an Italian Story: The First Thousand Years”, that illustrates the history of Jewish presence in Italy from ancient Roman times until the Middle Ages.