By Dawn Storey
(WINDSOR, ON) – Last year around this time, anticipating a trip to Italy to discover my roots, I started trying to learn to speak Italian. My timing couldn’t have been much worse! In addition to my full time job, the majority of my focus in 2011 was on planning and executing our move to Windsor. Unsurprisingly, the distractions involved in selling, buying, and moving took precedence and my Italian learning took a back seat.
One of our reasons for coming to Windsor, though, was that doing so would enable me to reduce my work hours and eliminate my commute, giving me more free time to do fun and interesting things (such as learning a new language!). As I packed my Italian books and resources away back in Victoria, I promised myself that it wouldn’t be forever – that as soon as we were settled into our new home in Windsor I would rekindle my desire to learn to speak Italian.
So I’m here now, settled in and ready to go!
Back when I first started educating myself about my new city-to-be, I discovered that around 10% of Windsor’s population is comprised of Italian-Canadians, making Windsor one of the top three areas in Canada with the highest concentration of Italian-Canadians. Since part of the experience of learning a new language is learning more about the culture, and moving to Italy isn’t exactly feasible, it seems to me as though Windsor would be one of the best places in the country in which to pursue my desire to learn Italian!
With such a significant Italian population in Windsor, it wasn’t surprising to find that the city has several active Italian clubs. My research into local Italian language classes led me to one such organization, Ciociaro Club of Windsor, which offers classes for adults and also for children. I haven’t contacted them yet, but must admit that I’m intrigued to find out more and possibly sign up for a beginner class (because despite my Italian heritage, I am absolutely a beginner – maybe even a pre-beginner! – at speaking the language).
Of course I was delighted when I found out about Windsor’s “Little Italy” (Via Italia) on Erie Street, a whole area full of Italian restaurants and shops. With such an amazing selection of food from which to choose, it’s hard to know just where to begin! And speaking of food, I keep hearing from various sources about something mysteriously called “Windsor-style pizza” which involves, among other things, shredded (rather than sliced) pepperoni and which, according to all sources, I must try at the soonest opportunity.
Now, Windsor Square readers, I need your help! As a newcomer to the city, pretty much all I’ve done so far in my quest for all things Italian in Windsor is the research you see here in this column. Those of you who have lived here much longer than I can probably offer all sorts of recommendations, suggestions, and advice on Windsor’s Italian culture, including things such as…
- Italian language classes and meetups
- Italian clubs and resources
- Your favourite Italian restaurants and shops
- The best Windsor-style pizza
- Italian activities and events
..and so on.
Don’t hold back! I’d love to hear anything from you that would help me pursue my dream of learning more about Italian language and culture while living in Windsor. Please take a minute to comment here or send me an e-mail … and watch this column in future for the results of my Windsor Italian quest!
For more on “Why Windsor…” visit Dawn Storey’s blog.