Italian-Canadian contributions to Niagara focus of upcoming conference

Researchers, archivists and community organizers from across Canada will be gathering at Brock University this weekend to share the Italian-Canadian community’s contributions to Canada.

“We are very happy to host the Italian-Canadian Archives Project’s ninth annual conference at Brock,” said Professor Ernesto Virgulti of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures and co-organizer of the panel.

“The project brings together a network of scholars, archivists and community organizers whose aim is to collect and share historical material.”

The focus of this year’s annual conference is the history and contributions of Italian workers to their local communities, particularly in the Niagara region.

In addition to academic papers and discussions, the conference will include an exhibit of artifacts from the Welland Canal and a talk by Donald Ziraldo, Member of the Order of Canada and co-founder of Inniskillin winery. Panels will discuss Italian-Canadian family connections, Italian Canadian Archives Project (ICAP) projects and the commemoration of fallen workers of major industrial projects in Ontario.

ICAP was founded in 2010 and grew out of a growing desire to secure the stories and materials that tell the story of Italian-Canadian contributions to Canada’s evolving narrative. ICAP supports communities and organizations in sharing historical items, such as documents, letters and photographs with local archives and museums across Canada.

In conjunction with the conference, a photographic exhibition by Vincent Pietropaolo titled The Italian Immigrant Experience Revealed is on display at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Art gallery until Sunday, Oct. 27. The exhibition explores the conditions of Italian Canadians working on industrial projects in Canada as well as the heritage and culture of their communities. Pietropaolo will be giving an artist talk Saturday, Oct. 26 at 11 a.m.

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