By: John Symon – mtltimes.ca
Montreal will see its 22nd edition of its Italian Week from August 7—16 this year; a ceremony at Montreal City Hall terrace on August 4 detailed what is in store. Music, gastronomy, sports, art, fashion and many other facets of the Italian culture are all on the agenda. Almost 400,000 attendees are expected at the 2015 edition. Mayor Denis Coderre and Quebec Transport Minister Robert Poeti were among the speakers at this event organized by the National Congress of Italian-Canadians.
Marco Calliari, a Montreal-based singer-songwriter of Italian origin, is the spokesperson of this year’s Italian Week. He took the microphone speaking in French, describing himself as “a child of Law 101” (which forces the children of immigrants to attend French schools). Then he brought out a guitar, claiming he only did so on Mayor Coderre’s request, and began singing in Italian about Quebec. Calliari sang about Quebec’s cold winters, beaches in the Gaspé, and riding Bixi bikes.
“Denizio” Coderre, as the mayor was jokingly refereed to, began speaking in Italian before switching to French. He spoke about the great contribution that the Italian community has made to Montreal. He talked about this being “on all levels: professional, blue collar, in the arts, etc.” He also praised the 300,000 strong Italian community in Quebec “for not forgetting its roots.” Coderre later told The Times that he understands Italian well, but only speaks a little of it.
“Roberto” Poeti (the MNA for Marguerite-Bourgeoys) mentioned how his grandfather in Italy had chosen the name “Robert” for him because it works in Italian, French, and English. Poeti also revealed that Quebec and Italy are about to sign an agreement on the reciprocity of driver’s licenses. He was joined at the podium by another Liberal MNA, FilomenaRotiroti (MNA for Jeanne-Mance–Viger).
Also present were: PinoAsaro, President of the National Congress of Italian-Canadians and Alessandra Tropeano, MC of the press conference, among others. Many speakers praised Josie Verrillo, director of the National Congress of Italian-Canadians who has organized the Italian Week now for 16 years. Thanks was also given to the Italian Week’s many sponsors, including The Montreal Times.
This year’s show highlights the southern Italian region of Campania. Major events include the outdoor presentation of “The Barber of Seville,” a popular opera (by an Italian); a fashion show entitled “Moda Scotto de Stella”; Italian film screenings; a dessert contest; musical performances; Fiat car demonstrations; etc.
The venues include: Riviere des Prairies & the Boulevard Shopping Centre (Aug. 7—9); Centre Leonardo da Vinci & Casa d’Italia for film screenings (Aug. 7—14); Georges-St-Pierre Park in NDG (Aug. 8); Ouellette Park in LaSalle (Aug. 9—10); Cinema Beaubien& Cinema du Parc for film screenings (Aug. 12—13); Park WilfridBastien in St. Leonard (Aug. 13); and in Little Italy (Aug. 14—16). All of the above events are free of charge.
There will also be walking tours offered from the Casa d’Italia designed to give an historical introduction about the Italian community in Montreal. These will be conducted on Saturday, Aug. 16 in French and on Sunday, Aug. 17 in English. Fees apply; call 514.272.7049 for more information.
The McCord Museum will also soon open a new temporary exhibit entitled “Montreal through the eyes of Vittorio.” This exhibit, starting on Sept. 25, highlights the art of Vittorio Fiorucci, an Italian immigrant to Montreal who eventually became an internationally celebrated poster artist. www.mccord–museum.qc.ca
Picture Above: From left: PinoAsaro, Robert Poëti, FilomenaRotiroti, Zoya Di Gioacchino (winner of a contest in the 10-12 years old category), Denis Coderre, Marco Calliari, and Alessandra Tropeano ©John Symon