FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK
Where is the Piazza
by Licia Canton
The profusion of fairs and festivals, fundraising dinners and other events – the “women’s night out,” the spaghettata, the polenta e baccalà, the vendemmia – organized on behalf of this or that good cause, are essentially pretexts to bring people together in their own kind of little piazza, for a weekend or for just one night, the way people have for generations! Yet, as the post-immigration generation, we may be simultaneously attracted and disillusioned by the re-creation of these traditional practices.
We are now in a position to bring people together to discuss such topics as “Italian-Canadian Culture in the New Millennium,” as Paolo Chirumbolo, Franco Gallippi and Vikki Cecchetto did recently at McMaster University in Hamilton. And last October Smaro Kamboureli provided a venue at the University of Guelph to discuss culture in Canada at “TransCanada Two: Literature, Institutions, Citizenship.” It is at gatherings such as these – where ancient and modern cultural practices are discussed and where they often collide – that the seeds of action are planted that will shape our cultural future.
Whereas our ancestors harvested every season, our cultural harvest is decades in the making: future generations will benefit from present-day seeding. We are the makers of tomorrow and, to paraphrase activist and public intellectual Peter Kulchyski – keynote speaker at TransCanada Two – our actions today are our gifts to the generations that follow. We are engaged in a continual process, whether we are aware of it or not, whether we want to or not. We are building a nation. What we produce or buy, what we talk about, what we write about or choose to read, are all small steps in that action of building, of constructing a culture for our children.
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