Newsletter - June 2020

Welcome to the first edition of the Mississauga Italfest newsletter. Last month we made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel Mississauga Italfest 2020 to fight against the spread of COVID-19. However, to stay engaged with our community and continue to support and celebrate our Italian culture, we decided to put together a newsletter highlighting current events and featuring some of our favourite Italian traditions, recipes, fun facts and historical tidbits.

Italian Heritage Month Events

June 1 marks the beginning of Italian Heritage Month in Canada, where we honour and celebrate the exceptional contributions of Canadians of Italian origin in shaping our society. It also marks the 10th anniversary of Bill 103, enacted by the Province of Ontario to proclaim the month of June, Italian Heritage Month. This is a time to recognize and showcase the rich culture and heritage of Italian Canadians, as well as their ongoing contributions to building a stronger, vibrant and more inclusive Canada. Below are just some of the events taking place this month in recognition of Italian Heritage Month.

My Secret Venice with Sebastiano Bazzichetto

Episode 1 Available Now

Villa Charities presents “My Secret Venice with Sebastiano Bazzichetto,” a new four-part video series that will take viewers on a cultural and visual journey to explore secret spots in Venice. Travel to grand Venetian houses, museums, and lesser-known enchanting places of Venice that will be sure to leave you spellbound.


Wish You Were Here (Vorrei Fossi Qui)

June 12

To celebrate Italian Heritage Month 2020, an online tribute concert will take place on June 12 via the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto’s YouTube Channel. Vorrei fossi qui – Wish you were here will feature some of the best local Italian Canadian musical talent, performing a variety of genres and styles. The concert will feature a line-up of all-female artists.


Immersive Van Gogh

Opening June 18

The monumental exhibition, Immersive Van Gogh, was set to make its world premiere in Toronto this week to welcome audiences to a 600,000 cubic ft. immersive digital art experience featuring a curated selection of imagery from van Gogh’s 2000+ catalogue of masterpieces. As a result of the restrictions on large public gatherings, the co-producers of Lighthouse Immersive, have boldly innovated a drive-in concept that offers a visually striking immersive art experience, while maintaining public safety.

Congratulations to Roberta Battaglia on her recent performance on "America's Got Talent". The young singer has graced the stage at Mississauga Italfest many times and on this season of AGT, scored the Golden Buzzer from AGT judge, Sofia Vergara.
Watch Roberta sing a lovely rendition of "Shallow" by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

Heritage & History

The Cooksville Brickyard

In July of 1913, the brickyard turned out its first shipment of brick. At its height, the brickyard could produce 300,000 bricks every 10 hours. By the 1930s the brickyard was one of historic Mississauga’s (formerly Toronto Township) major industries, employing about 400 men. Employees worked six days per week, and an average of 13 hours per day. Brickyard employees earned from 25 to 45 cents per hour. By the 1940s the brickyard was the largest supplier of brick in Canada.

The Village

In the summer of 1913, the brickyard company began building 15 dwellings for employees. The houses had no running water but were wired for electricity. Rent ranged from $11 to $15 per month. By 1924 there were 35 families living at the brickyard, and single male workers lived in a large boarding house. The Brickyard employed and housed many new Italian immigrants. The largest portion of the work force was Italian with some Croatian, Irish, Polish, and Ukrainian workers. During the Second World War the brickyard housed German prisoners of war who enjoyed a great deal of freedom even participating in many Italian social and recreational activities within the brickyard and surrounding communities. The Village was gradually closed in the 1950’s.


A little known fact about early Italian immigration to Toronto in the mid 1800’s is that most landed in a cultural melting pot called “The Ward”, on property owned by Thornton and Lucie Blackburn, two runaway slaves who traveled to Canada through the Underground Railroad.  Watch "Five Minutes of Italian Canadiana - 'The Ward, Toronto's First Little Italy'" for more.

Featured Recipe:

Canned Tomatoes


  • 1 bushel ripe plum tomatoes
  • fresh basil leaves


Wash the tomatoes well under cold water.

Remove the head  and any slight black spots from the tomato.

Cut the tomatoes in four parts and put them in mason jars (1 Qt. or 1 Pt. as you prefer)

With a wooden spoon squeeze the tomatoes in the jar as much as possible until the entire jar is full and without air pockets.

Optionally you can also add a leaf or two of fresh basil.

Close the mason jars with the lids that came with the jars. One bushel will give produce 23-24 quarts of tomatoes.

Once you have finished processing the entire bushel and you have closed all the jars, place the jars in a large pot and fill the pot with water to cover all the jars.

Bring the water to a boil and once it starts boiling let it boil for 45 minutes.

Shut the flame, remove all the jars from the hot water and  let them  cool off. Store all the jars in a cool and dry place. They will stay fresh for the entire year and certainly until you make a new batch the following year.

visit Cooking With Nonna
Community Corner

Palma Pasta Daily Specials

FRIDAY:  FREE Half Garlic Bread Loaf

  • With the purchase of a cold fresh prepared entrée
  • While quantities last
  • One per customer

In The Community

Villa Forum which is home to many Italian seniors in Mississauga, both in retirement living and longterm care, has shared some positive news this month. They are clear of COVID-19 for the third week. The pandemic has shattered our communities confining those in our senior population to isolation. Heritage month is filled with a street festival put on by MICBA. Although the decorations portray a festive Italian flare, this year there will be no street party for seniors due to the pandemic.

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