Without anywhere to dance the tarantella and play the tambourines, some Italians in Scarborough are feeling left out with the lack of Italian festivals in the area.
“Everything is in the west end of the city; everything is in Woodbridge; everything is there and we felt we were the black sheep of the Italian community,” said Roberto Anzivino, West Hill Social Activity Club chair. “We felt there was something we had to do to get Scarborough involved.”
And they did. On Oct.7, local residents came to the Scarborough Civic Centre to celebrate Italian Heritage Day. Sponsored by West Hill Social Activity Club, the event highlighted not only Italian culture, but all cultures in the community.
“[The event] involves the mosaic that we are,” said Anzivino who has been involved with the event for the past three years.
According to the 2001 Census, over 425,000 people identified themselves as being of Italian heritage. And some of those Italians did a double-take when Mayor David Miller stopped by unannounced.
Remembering when he emigrated from England as a boy; Miller recognized the contributions immigrants have made to Toronto.
“We are a city where literally the Italian Canadian community built,” Miller said.
“You’re an Italian Flag”
“Sei una bandiera italiana,” a man said to a woman at the event who was wearing a white shirt, a green sweater and red pants, sporting her green, white and red Italian necklace and flag in hand. Yet, the woman wasn’t the only one showcasing her Italian gear. Men and women from the social club performed traditional dances like the tarantella while wearing traditional costumes. Women’s embroidered shawls twirled and men played the tambourine to the music of Lucio Raggiunti, the accordion king.
The event also showcased Artisti Tricolore (Artists of the three colours). Six artists had the opportunity to display and sell their paintings in the Centre’s gallery. For Giulianna Mariani, the event was her special debut.
“I feel free. I’ve been out of my cage,” said Mariani.
Mariani rekindled her passion for painting when her husband bought her an easel, acrylic paint and some canvas for Christmas one year. A hairdresserby trade, Mariani saiddesigning with hair and colour allowed her to “experience a different kind of art.”
“I guess that’s where it really came and then finally I decided to put it on canvas,” said the artist.
Bringing Scarborough Back to Life
For Anziivino, he said he thinks the event is well accepted and gives opportunity for local residents to come out and mingle with people from other cultures.
“I think it’s a boost to the community … Scarborough is alive as well as vibrant.”
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