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      June is Italian Heritage Month

      Jun. 1, 2013

      June is the month to celebrate all things Italian Canadian. Across Canada, various groups and organizations are hosting or presenting Italian-themed events, from street fairs, to musical concerts, to exhibitions, literary readings and film screenings.

      In 2010, the Ontario legislature passed a bill to officially declare June Italian Heritage Month. Although the status is technically only recognized in Ontario, over the years, cities all across Canada have unofficially adopted the declaration. Today, there is an event, or two, or even three, in a city near you.

      On Saturday, June 1, from 3:00PM to 10:00PM, Q Space, located at 382 College Street in Toronto, will be the setting for a Literary Marathon. Twenty-eight Italian Canadian writers will take the stage for this unique event. Each hour will feature a different host and four readers. Organizers hope that people will come to hear their favorite authors and poets, and then stick around to listen to a few more. Admission is free and books will be available for sale.

      The Little Italy neighborhoods in both Montreal and Toronto will turn into street fairs for a few days.

      From June 7 to 9, Montreal’s Little Italy will celebrate the city’s Grand Prix. Saint Laurent Boulevard will see tens of thousands of visitors fill its streets to enjoy various entertainments, good food, delicious coffee and the sights of dozens and dozens of Ferraris and Fiats. Visit for details.

      From June 14 to 16, Toronto’s Little Italy turns into a street fair with “Taste of Little Italy.” The festivities on College Street will include music, food, drink and activities for young and old. More information on the street fair is available at

      The Association of Italian Canadian Writers (AICW) is also participating in the month-long festivities with a series of “Books and Biscotti” readings across Canada. On Thursday, June 6 the writers will be at the Caboto Centre in Winnipeg. On Saturday, June 8 the Ciociaro Social Club in Woodbridge will be the setting for readings. On Sunday, June 9, starting at 2:00PM, readings will take place at the Chapters Bookstore in Woodbridge. On Monday, June 10, starting at 7:00PM, a number of Italian Canadian writers will be reading from their work at the Columbus Centre in Toronto. This evening will also be the official Toronto launch of the AICW anthology, Writing Our Way Home. For more details on the “Books and Biscotti” series, please visit

      The second edition of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival will take place in Toronto and Vaughan from June 26 to July 3. Sixty-two Italian and Italian-themed films will screen at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and the Royal Cinema in Toronto, and at AMC Interchange in Vaughan. The line up will include 24 feature film premieres.

      The festival will kick off on June 26 with Benvenuto Presidente, a box office hit directed by Italian filmmaker Riccardo Milani and starring Claudio Bisio. Real Gangsters, a Canadian feature film by Frank D’Angelo, starring Nick Manuso, Michael Paré, Steven Bauer, Robert Loggia, John Savage, and Margot Kidder, will make its Canadian premiere at the festival. Another film that was shot in Toronto’s Little Italy, The Resurrection of Tony Gitone, directed by Jerry Ciccoritti, and starring Alvaro D’Antonio, Louis Di Bianco, John Cassini, Fab Filippo, Ron Lea, Nick Mancuso, Paula Rivera, Michael Miranda, Tony Nappo, and Tony Nardi, will also screen. Three Canadian documentary films are on the roster: Antigone by Antonio D’Alfonso, Letter Two by Toronto actor Tony Nardi, and Zia And Friends by Angela Bianchi.

      In addition, the film festival is expanding to Montreal with a selection of films to screen at the Cinématheque québecoise from June 26 to 30.

      For a detailed film schedule, or to purchase tickets, please visit the Italian Contemporary Film Festival’s website at

      There are countless more activities taking place during Italian Heritage Month. For a complete events listing, please visit

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