Mapping Italian-Canadian Foodways in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)

Mapping Italian-Canadian Foodways in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)

Mapping Italian-Canadian Foodways in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)

Please join us in welcoming Prof. Teresa Lobalsamo of UTM for a talk about the various aspects of mapping Italian foodways in the GTHA over time and across spaces in this installment of the annual Speaker Series.

This webinar considers the place of food production and consumption in Italian-Canadian culture, examining cuisine as one of the defining traits of cultural identity for Italian immigrants that settled within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) over the past one hundred years. It begins with an overview of the history of Italian immigration to Toronto and key neighbourhoods built and transformed by this diaspora, including the establishment of landmark food businesses that persist to this day. Using a sociocultural, historical lens, the talk further highlights the impact and contributions of the Italian community on Toronto’s food industry, tracing the growth and enduring legacies of restaurants such as Vesuvio and Il Gatto Nero in the face of cultural demographic shifts towards the turn of the century.

During its second half, this webinar will turn its attention to the importance of recognizing and preserving the culinary traditions of diasporas, particularly in times of crises that impact local businesses and threaten to erase the cultural footprint of immigrant communities. In an effort to preserve Italian-Canadian culinary traditions, as well as to deploy them in service of foreign language acquisition, Prof. Lobalsamo oversees a student-led research initiative centred on identifying, analyzing, and archiving culinary artifacts (such as menus and advertisements) from historically significant Italian-Canadian eateries in the GTA. Students enrolled in Cucina italiana (UTM) have the opportunity to participate in a community-engaged field experience in which they visit (in-person or remotely) Toronto’s Italian eateries, interview proprietors, and identify culinary artifacts for preservation in a new digital archive being developed at UTM. To help ensure that the diaspora mark, success, and memory will not simply fade away, researchers Samantha Arpas, Adriano Pasquali, and Dellania Segreti (UTM) will discuss the collection of those artifacts, as webinar participants consider the factors that have changed the perception of Italian food over time and examine the current landscape of food establishments.



Teresa Lobalsamo is an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Department of Language Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga, where she has taught courses in Italian language, culture, and cinema for over a decade. She serves as Undergraduate Coordinator for Italian Studies and has been a major proponent for integrating experiential learning and high-impact practices into foreign language pedagogy. She currently sits as the Canadian Representative on the Association of American Teachers of Italian (AATI) Executive Committee and received the UTM Teaching Excellence Award for Junior Faculty for 2017-18.


Date and Time: -
Location: Webinar