Italian Village & Valigio D'Oro
Photo - Italian Village Choir (1978)
The Village Italia has been an active participant in Brantford’s International Villages Festival. The International Villages festival saw its inception in 1974, with the Committee for the Bell Centennial Celebrations searching for a way to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the invention of the telephone. As a result, the committee sought to ask all ethnic groups of Brantford to partake in a two-week exhibition designed to showcase their “cultural, historical, social, artistic, characteristics, and background.” After a brief hiatus, the Village Italia returned to the festival in 2008. This event draws in thousands of visitors each year. This allows the Italian community to share their art, music, and authentic foods with those who visit.
The Valigio D’Oro (Golden Suitcase) is an offshoot of the Village Italia and was established to honour the Italian immigrants who settled in Brantford. The Golden Suitcase festival honours the valour, determination, and sacrifices of the early Italian immigrants who settled in Canada, “Italians with nothing more than ‘suitcase in hand’ came to this new land in search of adventure, employment, and greater opportunities for their children.” The Golden Suitcase Award has been presented to Italian immigrants living in Brantford who had succeeded in or helped to bring families over to Brantford. The event follows the Village Italia with a meal, the introduction of the inductees and the representation of a memorial plaque.