At the end of the Second World War, many Italians chose Canada as their destination to emigrate from Italy but the most significant increase in the number of residents belonging to the Italian community in Canada occurred between the 50s and the 60s, reaching its peak in the 70s.
Canada is one of the most sought-after nations by all expats in the world both for its enviable quality of life and for its many job and study opportunities.
In fact, it is very difficult to find a ranking in which Canada or some cities in this country do not excel. Canada is a country made of great lakes, unspoiled nature and many opportunities for professional and personal growth.
In 1971 Canada was the first country to officially adopt multiculturalism.
The Canadian Heritage Association proudly states that Canada values the dignity of all citizens regardless of their racial or ethnic origins, language or religion and Canada today hosts almost 2 million Italian-Canadians, being the sixth largest community of Italians in the world and the fifth largest ethnic group present in the country after the British, the Irish, the French and the German one.
The Italian community has always had a very important role in Canada, so much so that some years ago the Department of Citizenship and Immigration in Canada announced the launch of a project for elementary and middle schools to promote and recognize the great contribution of Italian-Canadians in the development of the country. The project was called the Italian Heritage in Canada Curriculum.
Some of the main Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal have their own Little Italy and Toronto can even boast two Italian areas: Little Italy on College Street and another one on St. Clair Avenue. Furthermore, entire counties such as Woodbridge, near Toronto, have been nicknamed Città Italiana (Italian town) due to the large number of Italian-Canadians who live there.
The Italian Week remains the most explicit manifestation of the Italian spirit in Montreal, but what it really represents is an Italian culture that has now been revisited, certainly positive and improving, which constitutes the foundations of a new culture, the Italian-Canadian one.
It is a week of celebration dedicated to Italy and in honour of all Italians who have long lived in Montreal. The city, for a week, turns into a real show room with stands displaying the products of Italian cuisine, those that promote Italian fashion and design, home furnishings, but above all Italian cars.
I had the opportunity to participate and I remember there were many stands selling typical Italian sweets: homemade tarts, biscuits, but above all I noticed that the Montrealer population loves Sicilian cannoli which are perhaps the most popular Italian pastry in North America.
In addition, there were old ladies of Sicilian origin who sold tablecloths, centrepieces and lace, all sewn by them. A stand offered sweets and liqueurs typical of the province of Naples, such as the well-known limoncello lemon liquor and the colourful ceramics. Every day you had the opportunity to participate in an event involving music, theatre, cinema or the much-followed parade of Ferrari cars, which with their blazing red and roaring engine.
In the evening there was almost always a musical show held by groups of young Italian Canadian people who alternated between their own songs and the great songs of Italian music, in Italian, French and English.
There were also literary events organized by the National Congress of Italian-Canadians in collaboration with the Association of Italian-Canadian Writers and literary competitions.
Every year there is also a long-awaited bocce tournament, a typical Italian sport activity practised mostly by the elderly.