Tribute to Gabriele Scardellato

August 27, 2020 at 9:06 pm
  GABRIELE SCARDELLATO 1951-2020 “A generous, welcoming and good-humoured man” “gentle, discreet, and deeply dedicated to his work and family.” These are just two of the testimonials from friends and students to Professor Gabriele Scardellato who died on August 8 after a brief and sudden illness.  Born in Treviso, a city close to Venice, he immigrated as a child with his family to Powell River, a pulp and paper town just north of Vancouver. As many immigrant children who contributed to the family economy, he took a job at age 13 in a bakery and then in grocery store. To pay for his university studies, he worked summers at the pulp mill. He went on to do a Masters at the University of Birmingham and a Doctorate at the University of British Columbia in medieval history.      With a contract from Library and Archives Canada, he compiled an inventory of documents of Canadian interest for the early modern period contained in the Vatican Apostolic Archive in Rome (VAAR). As the VAAR was only open mornings, afternoons were spent at the Canadian Academic Centre in Italy (CACI) and were happily interrupted at 4 PM by a mandatory double espresso break at the local coffee bar. Occasionally there would be time for a meal at Settimio all’Arancio, a family-run trattoria close by Palazzo Cardelli where CACI was housed. It was there that his gradual transformation from a medievalist to an immigration specialist was effected.  Soon Toronto beckoned with a position at the Multicultural History Society of Ontario (MHSO) as resource and publications specialist. In that capacity, he produced two valuable guides, the first to the Society’s oral history collections and the second to works published in the area of Canadian immigration history. He was also a valued member of the editorial board of the MHSO’s Encyclopedia of Canada’s Peoples (UTP, 1999.)  Ever resourceful, when financial exigency forced the Society to scale back radically its operations, he sought and found new opportunities, acting as consultant to national museums and research centres. He also assumed the editorship of Ontario History for which he later received the Cruikshank Medal “presented on rare occasions to individuals who have performed with distinction on behalf of The Ontario Historical Society.” It was then too that he began teaching in the Italian Studies Department, University of Toronto. A talented photographer with impressive IT know-how, he provided the images and designed the website Places of Worship in West Toronto (  The most productive period of his life began in 2008 when he obtained a tenure-track position in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, York University, followed by promotion to Associate Professor three years later. He was finally free to pursue his academic interests unencumbered by outside obligations. As the holder of the Mariano A. Elia Chair in Italian Canadian Studies, he obtained a major grant from the federal government’s Community Historical Recognition Programme to finance a full-length documentary on Canada’s internment of Italians during the Second World War. Entitled The Italian Question, the film premiered at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2012. Two other documentaries on Italian immigrants, Saturnia and Noelle’s Journey, were supported by grants from his Chair. He was the mastermind behind the Italian Canadian Archives Project (, a national network of scholars, archivists and community organizers that collects, stores, and shares historical material through community outreach, education, and annual conferences in different parts of Canada.   He published widely, notably a co-authored book, Lawrence Grassi from Piedmont to the Rocky Mountains (UTP 2015), on the famous mountain climber who opened up trails to nature lovers in the Rockies in the interwar years. To interpret more fully the internment story, he made groundbreaking use of photographs taken at the time in the camps. Italian Foodways Worldwide, which he coedited and has just been published, should tap into the public’s keen interest in Italian cuisine(s).  Left unfinished unfortunately is his most recent research on Charles-Honoré Catelli, the nineteenth-century founder of the Catelli Pasta Company.  Professor Scardellato gave countless papers at conferences in North and South America, as well as Europe. He also organized conferences and community events at York University with a variety of community partners, such as the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, the City of Vaughan, and the Columbus Centre. In teaching, not only was he principal instructor in two cornerstone Italian Canadian Studies courses, namely, “Migration, Immigration and Beyond: Italians in North America” and “Saints' Lives and Black Madonnas: The Literary and Cultural Experience of Italian Canadians”, but he also oversaw important graduate scholarships and supervised graduate students in History. Among members of the scholarly and Italian Canadian community, including the Elia family, he was highly regarded and respected. A man of many skills, he performed with the love and dedication of a true craftsman those of gardener, cabinet maker, cook, copy editor, and typesetter, as well as those mentioned above. He had a loyal following among undergraduate and graduate students who valued his unassuming nature, dry wit, quiet charm, and empathy. He was a devoted husband to Kathy, father to Matteo and Stephanie, and nonno to Rosalie and Camilla. A mensch has left us and we are the poorer for it.  
View Article


July 17, 2020 at 4:17 pm
As announced previously on our 'Save the Date', the 10th anniversary Conference/AGM, Celebration Reception & Showcase has been postponed until September 2021. The ICAP virtual AGM will proceed and will be held on Thursday, August 27th, from 6:00 – 7:00 pm to accommodate our members across Canada. All members in good standing for 2020 are invited to participate. For membership renewal, please go to
View Article


April 28, 2020 at 1:36 pm
Dear ICAP Members and Supporters, Given the uncertainty that the COVID19 pandemic has created, the 10th anniversary Conference Showcase will be postponed until September 2021. However, plans for a virtual AGM are expected to proceed and news will follow. ICAP has endeavored to complete very important work during the last ten years; slowly, but surely. It has brought together communities, individuals, and experts as part of an effort to secure the Italian-Canadian contribution to Canada’s narrative, past and present. Via ICAP’s website (, we continue moving forward with projects in our local ICAP Communities and consolidating our online presence. Moving forward, ICAP is pleased to announce the May 1st launch of our sister site, namely, the Italian-Canadian Narratives Showcase (ICNS), that will be available directly from ICAP’s homepage. This platform will showcase a variety of projects completed by our ICAP communities, collaborators, and members. A few projects will be available for viewing initially and this will grow. For those who wish to undertake new projects, ICAP is currently finalizing all pertinent details for vetting; to be made available by clicking on TOOLKIT. There you will find information on how to collect and organize relevant documents; how to record stories via social media devices and more; then, where to send for final review and approval on the site. The ICNS Advisory Board comprised of ICAP Board Members, affiliated experts, and volunteers will provide feedback concerning submissions. So, please renew or become an ICAP member as soon as possible. During COVID19, undertaking a small project with friends and family or among the members of your ICAP committee will keep you active, invigorate your days and ensure that we keep on course for documenting the Italian-Canadian contribution to Canada’s narrative, past and present. To contact us, please write to ANNOUNCEMENTS & SUCCESSES New publication. Foodways Worldwide: The Dispersal of Italian Cuisine; edited by Roberta Iannacito-Provenzano and Gabriele Scardellato; published by Soleil Publishing (Welland, ON), 2019. ICAP collaborator, Ontario Historical Society launches the Ontario History Journal Digital Archive, the largest collection of articles on Ontario's History.  For information see: For access to back issues, see: From ICAP London. On March 4th, 2020, ICAP London hosted author Nino Ricci, author of award-winning novel The Origin of Species and of the Lives of the Saints trilogy, the latter adapted as a miniseries starring Sophia Loren. To begin proceedings, three local community members spoke briefly, each recounting some interesting episodes of their lives. The author then took the stage and spoke to community members and students about how his trilogy, of which Lives of the Saints is the first volume, was born from a series of meetings and interviews with Italians who had settled in Canada. This event took place as a complement to the "Stories of Italian-Canadians" course at Western University and was the last such student and community event possible prior to the pandemic emergency measures taken in Ontario.
View Article

Happy New Year 2020!

January 13, 2020 at 2:36 pm
Happy New Year 2020! As we recently tweeted, this year marks our 10th anniversary.  PLEASE SAVE THE DATE for our 10th Annual CONFERENCE & AGM that will be divided into two sessions: a Reception & Showcase on Thursday, September 10th and our Conference & AGM on Friday, September 11th.  Full details will be released in spring. Our 9th conference in late October at Brock University, dedicated to the theme of The Italian-Canadian Experience in the Workplace was a rousing success. Featuring the workplace experiences of Italian-Canadian workers from the Niagara Region, with St. Catharines at its center, presentations on the first evening of proceedings included a glimpse into the heart-wrenching stories of the building of The WellandCanal by Arden Phair, retiredCurator of the St. Catharines Museum from his work as co-author of his work titled, Triumph and Tragedy: The Welland Ship Canal; as well as, dramatic stories of those who lost their lives in Canada, the seminal and groundbreaking collection titled the Italian Fallen Workers Memorial Project by Marino Toppan and Paola Breda and presented by Paola Breda. Led by David Sharron, Head of Archives & Special Collections at Brock University, the session shed enormous light on how to deal with the challenges and successes of collecting, working and managing archives and special collections. The dinner speaker was Donald Ziraldo, the Canadian winemaker and businessman; Member of the Order of Canada who donated his personal papers to the Special Collections, Brock University Library Archives. He commented on his immigrant family, farming, and nursery roots in the Niagara region and the events that led to his role as entrepreneur, to eventually evolve into one of the most important figures in Canadian wine history, credited with starting the first winery in Canada since Prohibition with his partner in winemaking, Karl Kaiser and, together, founding Inniskillin Winery in Niagara. On Saturday, our second guest speaker and renowned photographer, Vincenzo Pietropaolo presented his collection The Italian Immigrant Experience Revealed, bringing to a close his two-week exhibition in the MIWSFPA Visual Art Gallery(VISA Gallery), which we all visited. As is ICAP’s usual practice, we heard updates on Models of Community Activity and Support from our board members, Caterina Sotiriadis (Winnipeg) on her team’s progress in collecting oral history recordings and collaborating with the Manitoba Archives; Nancy Marrelli (Montreal) on her latest work, at the Italian-Canadian Archives of Quebec, housed at the Casa d’Italia and assisted by he successful intern from Young Canada Works program; Antonella Fanella (Calgary) on moving forward with the oral history of Gina Attanasio Bloomer and Nancy Spina (P.E.I) on her work in establishing links with the local Italian Canadian Cultural Association (ICCA) established in 1973 and on the success of her Halifax grant on a project titled Italian-Canadian Women’s Voices, a collection of ten stories.  Eminent historian and Professor Emerita, Carmela Patrias, author of Jobs and Justice: Fighting Discrimination in Wartime Canada, 1939-1945, chaired the first afternoon session on Discrimination, Fatal Accidents and Labour Disputes. Matteo Brera, Post-doctoral Fellow presented documents from Il Lavoratore on Mediatizing Worker’Rights, Social Politics and Anti-Fascist Propaganda in Inter-War Canada (1936-1937) using fonds from Clara Thomas Archives,York University; and Gilberto Fernandes, Post-Doctoral Visitor, Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, York University presented Episode 2, “The Jungle” on the Brandon Union Group and Strikesof 1960-1961 taken from his seminal documentaries and website archive titled City Builders, A History of Immigrant Construction Workers in Postwar Toronto. A feature of the afternoon was a round table and book presentation on the most recent publication by Konrad Eisenbichler, one of ICAP’s board members, titled Forgotten Italians: Julian-DalmatianWriters and Artistsin Canada. This collection of articles on the Giuliano-Dalmata community in Canada is published by the University of Toronto Press (2019). After a historical introduction by Eisenbichler on the exile of this community from their native lands in Istria, Fiume/Rijeka, and Dalmatia and a chapter by Rosanna Turcinovich Giuricin on the dynamics between esuli and rimasti, the book presents eleven articles by scholars in Canada, the USA, Italy, and Croatia on various artists and writers from the Giuliano-Dalmata community in Canada such as Mario Duliani, Gianni Angelo Grohovaz, Diego Bastianutti, Caterina Edwards, Vittorio Fiorucci, and Silvia Pecota. For further information, see: ICAP is also pleased to announce that ICAP members and collaborators, Marino Toppan and Paola Breda, co-authors of the Fallen Workers Memorial Project (Monumento ai Caduti; have been awarded a gold medal by the Government of Italy, an award given for the first time ever outside Italy. The Medaglia d'Oro was presented to the Italian Fallen Workers Memorial Project and to Toppan and Breda for their ground-breaking archival research on Italian-Canadian immigration.  Last, but not least, ICAP wishes to remind our readers that a list of collaborations (research projects and the like) may be found on Examples of ICAP’s 2019 successes include: (1) materials now permanently housed at the Clara Thomas Archives at York University, such as the Angelo Principe collection of Italian-Canadian newspapers, just to name one; (2) funding from the federal government (DHCP) for Sarnia-Lampton Archive (ICAP Sarnia); (3) the private donation for the Gianna Antanasio Bloomer oral history (ICAP Calgary); (4) the new collaboration with Manitoba Provincial Archives to house the oral history project underway in Winnipeg (ICAP Manitoba); (5) the OMEKA website platform (hosted by the University of Guelph) to house all ICAP-related projects across Canada (e.g. student oral history projects, local communities’ projects ; teaching materials, and more); (6) the donation of Noelle Elia’s project, the Franco Grosso cart and materials, to the Canadian Museum of History.
View Article
Website proudly created by Simplistics Web Design Inc.