Columbus Centre to be Renewed in Joint Project with TCDSB and Villa Charities

Villa Charities Inc. and the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TDCSB) have finalized a land sale agreement that will enable a $60 million joint development project to accommodate a new Columbus Centre and new school for Dante Alighieri Academy within a single complex.

Under the June 12, 2015 agreement, the TDCSB will acquire 3.47 acres of land from Villa Charities at its Lawrence and Dufferin campus, which is adjacent to the existing Dante Alighieri Academy. This, in addition to the 3.15 acres obtained by the TCDSB from the Sisters of the Good Shepherd last month, now completes the amount of land needed to proceed with construction of the joint project.

"We can now proudly say the Renaissance at Lawrence and Dufferin begins today," says Villa Charities Inc. Chair Nina Perfetto. "Villa Charities has been an anchor landmark here for 40 years and this magnificent collaborative project is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invigorate and inspire our organization for the next generation and beyond."

The construction of the planned state-of-the-art multipurpose educational and cultural arts centre is believed to be one of the largest and only co-development projects of this magnitude currently underway in North America. It also provides the much needed capacity to better serve Toronto's burgeoning performing and fine arts community.

The re-envisioned new complex will allow Villa Charities to better assist in serving the cultural, wellness, artistic, and recreational needs and desires of its community.

For Dante Alighieri, the new 1,300 student facility will enable the reunification of the school community under one roof. (Students are currently housed in three different facilities in the area). It will also allow for enhanced programming, with shared use of theatre, dance studios and expanded fitness and music facilities.

A new Dante Alighieri Academy and Columbus Centre for Culture and the Arts is expected be completed by the end of 2018.


More Than 1,500 Students Gather at Columbus Centre for Annual Festa Della Lingua Italiana

On Thursday, Columbus Centre played host to the annual "Festa della lingua italiana", an annual literary competition for students enrolled in Italian language classes.

More than 1,500 students enrolled in Centro Scuola's International Languages Extended Day Program, from the primary grades through secondary school, joined together in the Columbus Centre gardens.

The subject of the literary contest for this year was:

"La tua loquela ti fa manifesto di quella nobil patria natio" (Thy mode of speaking makes thee manifest a native of that noble fatherland).

"Fatti non foste per viver come bruti, ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza" (Ye were not made to live like unto brutes, but for pursuit of virtue and of knowledge).

The winners of the Italian Literary Contest were announced in the presence of Italy's Consul General, Giuseppe Pastorelli, Ms. Angela Gauthier, Director of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, and other special guests.

The event is held annually during Italian Heritage Month, which coincides with La Festa della Repubblica Italiana, the annual celebration of the Italian Republic's birth.

Columbus Centre Summer Day Camps Start June 29: Register Now!

Columbus Centre Summer Day Camps start on June 29 - less than two weeks from today.

Sign up now for the limited spots still available in our specialty camps - Visual Arts & Crafts, Cartoon & Animation, Dance, Rock Band and Kitchen. Or register for one of our sports camps: tennis, karate, soccer, ultimate sports and general camps as well as combo packages.

Summer camps run from June 29-September 4, with offerings for almost any kid aged four to 16 years.

For more information or to register, click here. Or call 416-789-7011 ext. 244/248.


Have Your Recipe Featured in Villa Express!

Recently, Villa Express has featured recipes from Villa Charities staff members. Now it's your turn!

Send in your favourite recipe along with a photo of the dish, and we will share it with readers in an upcoming edition of Villa Express.

Please email your recipe to

Indian Summer Heat Demo Cooking Class

Get ready to have those taste buds sizzle and your tongue tingle at the "Indian Summer Heat Demo Cooking Class" at Columbus Centre on August 18.

The famous naan bread, world-renowned butter chicken and basmati rice with spiced potatoes, and a sensational mango and pistachio kulfi for dessert will be featured in this Indian-themed evening.

Did you know? The word "curry" is an Anglicized version of the Tamil word kari, which means sauce. It is not a spice, but is a common term used by Westerners to describe any dish in Indian cuisine.

"Taste of Tuscany" Cooking Class at Columbus Centre

Enjoy a night of good company and great food at Taste of Tuscany, an interactive cooking class offered at Columbus Centre on August 25 (new date!).

This multi-sensory dinner will provide edible, verbal and visual storytelling of the old world, highlighting Tuscany. Tuscany has a rich culinary heritage, with dishes that are simple to make!

Did you know: Tuscan extra virgin olive oil is world famous for its pungent, bitter, fruity and vegetal flavour. In Tuscany, the harvesting stage occurs in the month of November, the olives are mostly picked by hand and immediately sent to be pressed.

Times: Demo classes are 6.30pm - 8.30pm. Interactive classes are 6.30pm - 9.30pm.

Prices: Demo Classes are $55 + HST/person. Interactive Classes are $65 + HST/person.
Book 2 classes in same month and save $5. (e.g. Book both June classes)

Register in person, via email, or by phone. Contact Daniela, or 416 789 7011 ext. 244.

Refund policy: Refund 5 working days before class starts, less $50 administrative fee. No refund for any missed lessons.

Note: All dishes and wines stated above are examples and the Chef may choose other options. Each lesson includes a complete 3-course meal and beverage. Columbus Centre has the right to cancel classes due to low enrollment.


BMO Employees Celebrate Seniors Month with Villa Colombo Residents

BMO staff members came to Villa Colombo last Wednesday to celebrate Seniors Month, sponsoring a Bingo for Prizes event in Sala Caboto. It was phenomenal to see the BMO employees having fun with the residents, helping them with their bingo cards, celebrating their winnings, and enjoying the day.

Thank you to all the wonderful BMO volunteers!

If you would like to become a volunteer at Villa Colombo, please call 416-789-2113 ext. 2216. We are currently in need of volunteers for Meals on Wheels and dining room assistance.


Summer Music Lessons at Columbus Centre

The Columbus Centre School of Music announces Summer Term music lessons. Sign up for a minimum of 5 lessons, running from July 2 to Sept. 4.

$32x30 minutes Lessons, $160
$42x 45 minutes Lessons, $210
$55x 1 hour Lessons, $275

Discounts (Discounts cannot be combined):
Sibling discount - each additional child is 10% off.
Columbus Centre staff - 10%

Contact us at 416-789-7011 ext. 244/248/250 or Or click here to learn more.


Primavera Workshop: Spring Adult Art Classes at Columbus Centre

Get a fresh start this spring learning effective acrylic or oil painting techniques. Columbus Centre's Primavera Workshop focuses on spring themes like flowers and gardens, for beginner, intermediate or advanced artists.

Students will learn from Sam Paonessa, an experienced artist and instructor, in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

Did you know: In the Columbus Centre Gym there is a large scale replica of Sandro Bottecelli's Primavera?! Come check it out and become inspired!


Tuesdays, now to June 30 6:30-9:30 pm **1 spot left**
Price $151.25 + HST 5 Lessons

Tuesdays, now to June 23 1:00- 4:00 pm **2 spots left**
Price: $121.00 + HST 4 Lessons

Contact Rachel Miller, 416-789-7011 ext. 244/248 for more details.

Materials not included. Register now and get a 15% off DeSerres Coupon. Limited coupons available. Students may bring their own reference materials or choose from the Instructor's photos.

Refund policy:
Refund for full year: Before the Fourth Lesson, a Tiered Refund is allowed less $50 Administrative Fee.
Refund per term: 5 business days before first lesson begins, less $50 Administrative Fee. No refunds once classes begin.

Health & Fitness

Summer Tennis Summer Camps for Kids at Columbus Centre

Columbus Centre Summer Tennis Summer Camps for Kids offer the perfect combination of great instruction and fun.

Certified tennis professionals will guide kids 5 to 16 years old through the Tennis Canada-approved "Progressive Tennis" approach. Originated in Europe, this proven program emphasizes learning based on the theory that the faster your child sees success, the more they will enjoy the sport.

We emphasize the importance of teamwork, competition and, of course, fun!

July through August (half-day)
Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to noon
Ages 5-16
Five sessions: June 22-July 3 (9 days); July 6-17; July 20-31; August 4-14; August 17-28.

10-day sessions: $280
9-day session: $260
1-week session (if available): $175
BONUS: register for two 9 or 10 day camps and get a free week of any other tennis camp available (in the same season).

  • Training drills using the "Progressive Tennis" system
  • Fun tennis games
  • Fitness games and sports to improve agility and coordination
  • Friday tournament and games day
To register or for more information, contact Tennis Pro Joe Novak at or 416-789-7011 ext. 209.


It's Tee Time at Villa Charities Golf Classic

The Villa Charities Golf Classic is underway right now at Copper Creek Golf Club in Kleinburg. The sold out event kicks off with a shotgun start at noon followed by a cocktail reception and dinner. We wish all of our golfers, volunteers and sponsors a great day!


In Bocca

San Valentino Night with Baritone Paolo Busato
Tuesday, February 14
Tickets: $75.00

Celebrating International Women's Day with Gina Valle
Wednesday, March 8
Tickets: $75.00 per person

For Reservations call: 416-789-5555


Christmas Studio Art Exhibit
Works by 14 artists
Now to Jan. 30

Still Waters En Plein Air
Miriam Melamed
Lower Gallery
Now to Feb. 5

In-Between The Lines
Simma Sudaley and Yehuda Lang
Upper Gallery and Atrium A & B
Feb. 1 to March 6

My T.O.
Giancarlo Piccin
Lower Gallery
Feb. 1 to March 6


Adult Art Classes
Spring Term: April 25-June 27
Now accepting registrations

School of Music
Winter Term ends March 27
Registration ongoing

or 416-789-7011 x244

DanzArts Toronto
DanzArts Toronto Company Showcase
Friday, March 10
Contact: 416-789-7011 x250 or


Join for $0 Down/$39 Month
& Free Personal Training Session


March Break Camps
March 13-17 for children ages 4-12
Early Bird Registration ends Jan. 27
with 10% off
Looking for Volunteers and Leaders in Training (ages 13-17)
or 416-789-7011 x244


Fall & Winter program guide
Now available at Columbus Centre

Previous Issues

Support Villa Charities' Programs and Services

Consider volunteering
at Villa Colombo

Please call Domenica Bevacqua:
416-789-2113 ext. 2216

Sign up for Villa Express
Villa Charities' weekly newsletter
Register here


^ Back to Top