“Italiani a Toronto”, when Italy seems closer
by Sebastiano Bazzichetto
TORONTO - For many years now, younger and older Italians have left the Bel Paese for an experience abroad, either to pursue their studies or to seek their fortune here in Canada. We met with Josephine Stanley, currently the coordinator of the group “Italiani a Toronto”.
A group of friends, a place for gatherings, what exactly is this group?
«It was born as a page on Facebook in 2008/2009 based on an idea by Nino Fanelli. In fact, it was the page for the Italians that were in the city. Over the years, the number of people increased until reaching 2,000 members; more than half are people still in Italy looking for information on how to come to Canada. From that page “Italiani a Toronto events” was born, which includes about half of those people, and a good amount of them is here in the city».
What is the group’s schedule?
«It is a monthly gathering, it is a way to meet, to exchange ideas and experiences. We meet in a different pub every time, sometimes in a pizzeria».
Who participates in the meetings?
«Most of the people is here with the working holiday visa».
What is the goal? What does it represent for you?
«In the last two or three years, I have known every sort of stories: some guys with a working holiday visa come to have a first contact with other Italians, to feel closer to the far motherland. Later on maybe they don’t come any longer, as soon as they have a circle of friends and a job because they want to immerse themselves in the local culture. Coming from the North or from the South does not matter anymore since we are all simply Italian. I have also heard many discussions of all kinds. However, it is very true that an Italian abroad looks at Italy with new eyes, and this new perspective is perhaps one of the most important outcomes. You learn to appreciate more the country that we have left and the country that welcomed us».
How to participate?
«It’s very easy! The group is on Facebook, the events are advertised on the wall. Sometimes there are parallel events: an evening in a pizzeria for 4 might become a table of 10 people or more!»
Why do you care about this group so dearly?
«Because it gives me the chance to promote Toronto, and the cultural events that happen in town. An easy, apparently simple, way to better know and feel part of the city wherein we live, and interact with the others as persons by all means».
(Thursday 6 October 2016)