As leap years go 2020 will remain unforgettable in the history of the 21st century. Our world remains in the grips of the Coronavirus 19 pandemic, but with rays of hope on the horizon. As of December 9, Canada joined the UK and Bahrain as among the first countries to approve the trail-blazing Pfizer vaccine and cleared the way for initial vaccinations to begin on December 15. We, at ICAP, are hopeful that Canada’s rollout plan, which foresees 100% of our population to be vaccinated by Fall 2021 can be met and that, once again, we’ll be able to meet in person, not just for our annual AGM, but, more significantly, to hold what was to be our 10th anniversary September Showcase conference.
As many individuals, groups and associations have had to do and among the many lessons learned during COVID, ICAP has been meeting via ZOOM and on August 27th we held our 10th annual AGM, with members connecting from across Canada. While not meeting in person is disappointing—nothing replaces the gift of being in the physical presence of one another—ICAP, whose mandate and mission are pan-Canadian, did discover that a video conferencing resource such as Zoom allowed us to bridge Canada’s enormous distances and offered us the ability to invite as many members as possible based on the most preferred timeslot. It has emerged as an efficient and cost-saving solution. In fact, moving forward, many similar groups will most likely move to a permanent hybrid meeting model, mixing both in-person meetings with the remote link-up options.
I began by noting that this year has been unforgettable across the globe. Closer to home and hitting at the very heart of our ICAP family, this year brought great sadness and tragedy, the untimely passing of Dr. Gabriele Scardellato, mastermind of ICAP and outgoing holder of The Mariano A. Elia Chair in Italian-Canadian Studies at York University. As those in the field are aware and as described on our ABOUT US page, ICAP was born of an initiative organized by Dr. Scardellato, the ground-breaking workshop taking place in Thunder Bay on October 1-3, 2010. Those involved had unanimously agreed that there was need for an Italian-Canadian archives project with a national scope. As a result, the Italian-Canadian Archives Project (ICAP) officially began with a framework document in 2011, was then officially incorporated in 2013 and in 2016 became a Canadian registered charity. In 2010, ICAP established an online presence and, as a registered charity, also has a site on CanadaHelps.org.
Now in its 10th year, ICAP’s website operates in 3 languages (EN, FR, IT) and incorporates a sister site hosted by the University of Guelph whose purpose is not only to showcase ICAP’s completed projects, but also to provide ‘how-to’ tools for those interested in undertaking projects. Born of an initiative in 2019 under the guidance and support of ICAP, ICNSpresents examples of differentways in which public and privately held materials—writings, photos, newspaper articles, business ledgers, documents, musical instruments, clothing, etc.– can be used to share the Italian-Canadian contribution to Canada’s evolving narrative, past and present. Projects reflect Italian-Canadian experiences from across Canada and they are meant to spark ideas for how public and personal materials can be shared with Canadians and the world. The Showcase is a platform for communities, academics and individuals to focus and present how they are using their curated Italian-Canadian materials to increase knowledge and understanding in other communities, to draw experiences between multi-generations and families, to teach students and to alert researchers to the wealth of experiences that reside in Canada.
For those new to ICAP, here’s a recap of the year’s announcements and most recent events:
- December 6, 2020. Dr. Nancy Spina, ICAP member and academic from PEI announces the completion of her video, Coming to Canada, with the stories of Italian immigrant women in Halifax. ICAP plans to feature it on its sister site, ICNS in the new year.
- December 2, 2020.ICAP member, Dr. Teresa Russo and the Italian Studies program from the Modern Language, Literatures, and Cultures (MLLC) at Brock University hosted top-ranked former junior tennis player of Team Ontario and Tennis Canada, Gianluca Agostinelli on “Starting at love: (Re)discovering tennis as a lifelong sport” and growing up in an Italian family of athletes; the second of two university lectures in anticipation of The Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games. The webinar was supported by the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) and sponsored by the Brock Canada Games-Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant
- October 28, 2020. ICAP member, Dr. Teresa Russo and the Italian Studies program from the Modern Language, Literatures, and Cultures (MLLC) at Brock University hosted a webinar on “Soccer in Ontario”, interviewing Italian Canadian athletes, Paul Stalteri, professional-international player, and Bronze Olympic medalist Carmelina Moscato, both former members of the National soccer team and currently coaches in Ontario; the first of two university lectures in anticipation of The Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games (originally scheduled for August 6 – 21, 2021, postponed to 2022) in collaboration with the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) and sponsored by the Brock Canada Games-Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant.
- October 20, 2020. A ZOOM talk by ICAP Board Member, Dr. Konrad Eisenbichler (University of Toronto), on Forgotten Italians: The Julian-Dalmatian Community in Canada. Organized by the Italian Studies program in the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures, University of Calgary, as part of the XX settimana della lingua italiana / 20th Week of the Italian Language in the World, October 19 to 25, 2020. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1DI9GKo52k&feature=youtu.be
- September 24, 2020. ICAP announces a new publication, Italian Foodways Worldwide: The Dispersal of Italian Cuisine(s) (Soleil Publishing, 2020), co-edited by Roberta Iannacito-Provenzano who currently serves as Vice President of ICAP and the late Gabriele Scardellato.
- September 16, 2020. ICAP announces Patterns of Nostos in Italian Canadian Narratives, a special edition of Italian Canadiana edited by Dr. Gabriel Niccoli (ICAP Board Member, ICAP Waterloo), with contributions by Dr. Konrad Eisenbichler (ICAP Board Member), Dr. Sam Migliore (former ICAP Board Member) and Ray Culos (ICAP 5th conference presenter, Vancouver).
- September 11, 2020. ICAP receives news from the federal government Young Canada Works program (an announcement delayed and restricted due to Covid) that one of its projects was approved. This allowed ICAP to proceed with hiring a student to work from home on digital materials linked to the ICNS site.
- August 28, 2020. ICAP Waterloo is formed, led by ICAP Board Member, Gabriel Niccoli. For a full list of existing ICAP Committees, please see https://icap.ca/communities/.
- August 27, 2020. ICAP’s tribute to Gabriele Scardellato (1959-2020), which not only features a brief overview of his life (by R. Perin and G. Colussi Arthur), but also two important interviews that Dr. Scardellato gave in recent years: one during a course lecture on Italians in North America at York University and the other to Heritage Toronto on the Italian Experience in which he describes his experiences as a young immigrant to British Columbia.
- July 17, 2020. ICAP announces the Zoom AGM only and postponement of its Showcase Conference originally scheduled for September 11-12, 2020.
- May 1, 2020. ICAP launches its sister site, Italian-Canadian Narratives Showcase (ICNS), hosted by the University of Guelph and overseen by one of ICAP’s most active Board Members, Dr. Sandra Parmegiani and her close collaborator, Sharon Findlay.
On behalf of the Executive, may I wish everyone Happy Holidays—Joyeuses fêtes—Buone feste. May peace and serenity fill our hearts and may 2021 move us as quickly and as safely as possible, towards a Covid-free environment.