A Summer of Celebrations

Montreal - Little Italy

As this issue goes to press, summer has finally arrived, the school year is over, and everyone is thinking about the coming holidays. If you got this magazine at home or at the office, it means that the postal strike is finally over, which is one more reason to celebrate.

In keeping with the celebratory mood, the Ontario and British Columbia provincial governments, at the behest of the National Congress of Italian Canadians and its new president Michael Tibollo, have proclaimed June Italian Heritage Month. A wide variety of activities and events were organized in cities and towns in the two provinces throughout the month to mark the occasion – seeitalianheritagecanada.ca. The hope is that this initiative will soon be recognized by all provincial governments as well as the federal government, making next year’s celebration even bigger.

Other festivities with an Italian flair and flavour will take place throughout the summer. Join us for Montreal’s Italian Week, which is on from August 5 to 14 in various spots throughout the city – see www.semaineitalienne.ca/en. Accenti Magazine is pleased to be a part of the celebration, by having its very own kiosk on St. Laurent Street in Little Italy, August 12 to 14. So, come and see us, and pick up the new 2012 Accenti calendar containing the best photos from the Accenti “Capture an Italian Moment” Photo Contest.

This issue of Accenti coincides with the launch of a special project of which Accenti is honoured to be a part. The Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP) was instituted by the Canadian Government to acknowledge and commemorate a dark period in Canadian history involving the Italian Community.

On June 10, 1940, Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King invoked the War Measures Act and ordered the arrest of thousands of Italian Canadians that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police identified as “enemy aliens.” Italy had declared war on Britain and the authorities feared that Italians living in Canada might sabotage Canada’s war effort. While no one was ever formally charged, and everyone was eventually released, about 600 men were interned in concentration camps, some for up to four years. Thousands more had to report to the RCMP every week.

The Association of Italian Canadian Writers, in partnership with Guernica Editions and Accenti Magazine, is producing two books, one of creative works and another of scholarly articles, to commemorate the internment of Italian Canadians. Submissions are being solicited from the public at large – see page 31 for details. Some of the selected articles will also appear in forthcoming issues of Accenti and in Accenti Online at www.accenti.ca. Other Italian Canadian organizations across the country have received funding to develop a variety of projects on the theme of the internment that include, among others, the production of a play, a coffee table book of photographs, and an archive centre.

And in keeping with the celebratory mood of this editorial, the 6th annual Accenti Magazine Awards were held on April 30 during the Blue Met Festival to honour the winners of the Accenti Photo and Writing Contests. Our congratulations to Elizabeth Cinello from Toronto for winning first prize in the Writing Contest with “Food Companion Wanted” (see page 8). Congratulations, as well, to Marcel van Balken from Amstelveen (The Netherlands) for his first place finish in the Accenti Photo Contest with “Fiat Garage, Rome,” which graces the cover of this issue, and whose description is found on page 27. See page 28 for the complete list of winners and how you can enter this year’s Accenti contests. Happy reading and have a wonderful summer!

Licia Canton

First published in Accenti Magazine Issue 22, Summer 2011.

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