Italian Cultural Centre Vancouver
The Italian Cultural Centre (Il Centro) is located at 3075 Slocan Street, in East Vancouver, Canada, on Slocan Street at Grandview Highway. The centre is noted to host a bar, multiple classrooms and various groups. Anna Foschi Ciampolini, as the coordinator, organized the conference at the centre that founded the Association of Italian-Canadian Writers. At its gate is a welded sculpture called Pagan by Italian sculptor Severino Trinca.
The Italian Cultural Centre's beginnings are in 1974 when the Consul General of Italy, Giovanni Germano, met with the Premier of British Columbia, Dave Barret. In the Provincial Legislature the Premier represented the riding of Vancouver-Hastings, an area heavily inhabited by Canadians of Italian origin. The Premier was well aware of the wish of the Italian community and he therefore challenged Consul Germano to find the support and turn the dream into a reality. Premier Barret assured Consul Germano that a grant from the B.C. Government would be available. At Vancouver City Hall, Mayor Art Phillips, also well aware of the wish of the Italian community, indicated to Consul Germano the possibility of obtaining city land at a special price. The land had already been chosen: an 8-acre (32,000 m2) city dump in the heart of Vancouver East.
Both the Provincial Government and the City of Vancouver kept their promise. In order to draw a wider participation of members, a Federation of Italian Associations was formed on a Canadian legal basis: the Italian Folk Society, later to become the Italian Cultural Centre Society. The original societies pertaining to the Federation were the following: Associazione Nazionale Alpini, Circolo Abruzzese, Coro Italiano della British Columbia, Famee Furlane, Famiglia Bagnolese, Italian Canadian Rod & Gun Club, Italian Mutual Aid Society, Molisana Society, Selva del Montello, Sicilian Club, Società Culturale Vicentini, St. Jude Italian Society and Tuscany Cultural Society. These 13 were the founding societies. Today there are 37 societies affiliated to the Italian Cultural Centre.
On September 25, 1977, the Italian Cultural Centre officially opened its doors. The former city dump became an address in Vancouver where the Italian community could gather with the aim to preserve, develop and express Italian culture and language.
Il Centro functions as an orientation and service centre for incoming Italian immigrants as well as a community centre for the Italian-Canadian community.
The centre's services are a restaurant, museum, library, banquet hall, daycare centre, television production centre and an indoor bocce court. Every summer in June the centre hosts a week-long Italian festival called Italian Week.
As part of their initiatives to preserve Italian Culture for not only the Italian community, but to promote Italian culture in Vancouver. This is done through offering Italian language classes for young and old, fine art exhibitions, wine tastings, cooking classes, Literary events, and the organization of Italia day on Commercial Drive and Il Mercato in order to showcase Italian culture and Italian business in Vancouver.
In 1977 "The Drive" (Commercial Drive) between Venables and 12th Avenue was very much a "Little Italy" with mainly Italian cafes and restaurants. By 1997 it was noted that the area had become ethnically more diverse though The Italian Cultural Centre was still the hub of a thriving Italian community.
Adjoining the main building, the centre has an indoor bocce court.
According to Boccemon Tom McNutt "The Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia has one of the finest bocce facilities on the continent. It is a great institution and every culture would be proud to have such a treasure."
The Italian Cultural Centre, Vancouver also houses a museum called Il Museo. The mission of Il Museo is to be a living narrative of the contributions of pioneer and contemporary Italians and their institutions in Vancouver and beyond. Il Museo at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver tells the varied and vibrant stories of Italians in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia from 1890 to the present day. The Museum's curator is Angela Clarke.
Redevelopment proposal 2017
Leading up to 2017 a redevelopment was proposed where three new buildings would be connected through piazzas and atriums, replacing the parking lot with underground parking. The proposal is still in discussion.
- Wood, Patricia K. (2004). Nationalism from the Margins: Italians in Alberta and British Columbia. McGill-Queen's Press.
- Pivato, Joseph (1998). The Anthology of Italian-Canadian Writing. Guernica Editions.
- Steil, John (2004). Public Art in Vancouver: Angels Among Lions. TouchWood Editions.
- Raymond Culos Vancouver's Society of Italians 1998 - Volume 1 -p 184 1550171887 "In 1977, this group of Italians, made up primarily of post-war immigrants under the leadership of Giovanni Germano, the Italian consul, succeeded in building the Italian Cultural Centre at 3075 Slocan Street, Vancouver. "
- Jansen, Clifford J. (Clifford John) The Italians of Vancouver: A Case Study of Internal Differentiation . 1981 "IL CENTRO An attempt at reconstructing events Without a doubt, the Italian centre has been the focal point of community ... Historically, the most important Italo-Canadian organization existing in"
- Germano, Giovanni Gli Italiani del Canada Occidentale : come nasce un centro comunitario = The Italians of western Canada : how a community centre is born. Florence 1977
- Kasey Wilson Vancouver Best Places - The Most Discriminating Guide to Vancouver's Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, Nightlife, Arts, Sights, and Outings 1570610916 1997 "The Italian Cultural Centre is the hub of the still-thriving Italian community, but many other Latin, Caribbean, and Asian peoples live in the area, and the stores along "the Drive" reflect this diversity"
- Italian Cultural Centre - Vancouver, Bocce
- Big plans proposed for Italian Cultural Centre