Villa Charities Unveils Bold Design for New Columbus Centre
Renewed Columbus Centre and Dante Alighieri Academy to feature dramatic façade, state-of-the-art facilities

Rendering produced by Caramel Inc.

Villa Charities Inc. and the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) have unveiled a bold, modern design proposal for the combined new Columbus Centre and Dante Alighieri Academy Catholic Secondary School.

The design includes a dramatic, three-story glass façade along Lawrence Ave., at the existing Columbus Centre location, with state-of-the-art cultural, athletic, dining, educational and other facilities along with a new performing arts theatre.

The design unveiling follows the joint submission of a Site Plan application to the City of Toronto in early November. The application marks a major milestone in the renaissance of the Columbus Centre, the cultural heart of the GTA's Italian Canadian community.

In the meantime, it is business as usual at the Columbus Centre until late 2017 and approvals are in hand to begin the demolition of the existing facility. Interim facilities will be provided before and during the construction phase. Dante Alighieri Academy will remain open at its current location until the move to the new school.

New Columbus Centre to House Dramatically Enhanced Facilities

The new Columbus Centre will provide fully modernized facilities with programs similar to those provided now as well as new programs. A separate, exclusive-use section for the Columbus Centre will house improved space for Villa Charities' art, dance, music, and culinary programs, fitness facilities, a restaurant and café', new event/banquet space, an art gallery, performing arts theatre and tenant space/administration offices.

Key features include:

• Major upgrades to fine arts, music and dance studios, and dramatically upgraded athletic facilities with state-of-the-art studios for spin, aerobic and other programs.
• A contemporary culinary studio with digital learning technology, enabling live interaction with chef instructors in Italy and all over the world.
• A street presence for Ristorante Boccaccio and the art gallery, which will front onto Lawrence Ave., with an outdoor patio dining area.
• A modern glass façade that will bring natural light into Columbus Centre cultural class rooms, with high ceilings.

Renderings of the proposed Columbus Centre design are available to view online at

Open House

A joint Villa Charities/TCDSB Open House will be held at the Columbus Centre early in the New Year. Details will be announced soon.


Earthquake Fund President Visits Italy to Survey Damage, Assess Needs
Fund Donations Now Surpass $500,000

Eligio Gaudio with the Mayor of Norcia, Nicola Alemanno and the Hon. Renata Polverini, Deputy of the Italian Parliament in Norcia

Eligio Gaudio, President of the Central Italy Earthquake Relief Fund (CIERF) and President and CEO of Villa Charities Inc., toured Italy's earthquake-hit regions from November 17 - 21 to survey the damage and assess the needs. His visit, on behalf of CIERF, included meetings and tours with the Mayors of two of the hardest-hit communities, Amatrice and Norcia.

"Having seen firsthand how deeply these communities have been affected, the need for a significant contribution that will have a lasting, positive and profound impact is more apparent to me than ever," Gaudio said.

Gaudio was accompanied on his trip by the Hon. Renata Polverini, Deputy of the Italian Parliament (and former President of Lazio) and her staff, who were instrumental in providing access to the affected regions. They were also joined by the Mayor of Amatrice, Sergio Pirozzi.

"Our excursion through this destroyed community to witness the tremendous damage to the many historical buildings, homes and businesses up close was truly devastating," Gaudio said.

The following day, the group met with the Mayor of Norcia, Nicola Alemanno, to tour the town of Norcia and see the reconstruction work that is currently underway.

Gaudio remarked, "In the face of such enormous hardship, the residents are resilient and optimistic about the long-term rebuilding efforts.

"Although the earthquakes have ravaged the country, they have not diminished the spirits of our friends and families in these regions. Everyone I spoke with expressed their gratitude for the fundraising efforts of the Central Italy Earthquake Relief Fund and for the solidarity of the Italian Canadian community."

To put the magnitude of the Amatrice earthquake's destruction into perspective, Gaudio noted that the fatalities represent an astounding 11% of the population base, in comparison to 0.4% in the 2009 Abruzzo earthquake. The funds raised by the Abruzzo Earthquake Relief Fund totaled $2.1 million, of which $500,000 was contributed by the Provincial government. Also at that time, an additional $5 million for the construction of Canada House was contributed by the federal government, for which then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper contacted Senator Con Di Nino personally to express his support. So there is much more work to do.

Photos of Gaudio's trip to central Italy, and the extent of the destruction, can be viewed at

$50,000 Donation Takes Relief Fund Total Over $500,000

Cheque presentation by IC Savings at the Lazio Federation of Ontario gala on Nov. 18th. Photo: Gregorio Riccio

A $50,000 donation by IC Savings has edged the Central Italy Earthquake Relief Fund over a half-million dollars in pledged and received donations.

"Our credit union is proud to make this donation on behalf of our more than 14,600 members and employees," said Fausto Gaudio, President and CEO of IC Savings. "We have a long-standing tradition of supporting communities in need, and especially because of our deep roots in the Italian-Canadian community, it was important for us to give."

CIERF's Eligio Gaudio commented, "I want to express my sincere thanks to the organizations and committee members who have worked so hard to raise the significant funds to date for this cause. But I am also mindful that the scale of central Italy's needs is large and much more support is required."

CIERF is actively engaging the community to raise several million dollars to help the hardest-hit communities in Umbria, Lazio and Marche get back on their feet. Villa Charities and other CIERF organizers are reaching out to all Canadians to contribute to a legacy gift that will aid the towns and villages where many lives were lost, families destroyed and streets laid in ruin.

The IC Savings donation followed by about one week a major fundraising event hosted by the Remo Ferri Group at Ferrari of Ontario, where an estimated $400,000 was raised.

Please Donate Today

We urge you to donate online at, or in person at the Columbus Centre, at any branch of IC Savings, or by contacting Jean Jarvis at We also hope you will attend an upcoming fundraising event; listings are posted on the CIERF website.

Follow us on Facebook to show your support and share with others.


A Christmas Tradition Returns to Columbus Centre

The Christmas spirit will once again run through the Columbus Centre with the opening of the annual display of Presepi, traditional Nativity scenes, on Dec. 12.

The exhibit, presented by Centro Scuola e Cultura Italiana, includes more than 35 Presepi of many styles and sizes from all over the world, including Bethlehem, Africa, the Americas and, of course, Italy, where the tradition originated about 700 years ago.

The display, which runs to Jan. 10, attracts many visitors each year including hundreds of Toronto-area students.





Celebrate New Year and the Holidays at Ristorante Boccaccio

Ristorante Boccaccio invites you to join family and friends at a special New Year's Eve dining event, on Dec. 31.

The dinner features a four-course gourmet meal with an appetizer, choice of pasta, choice of main course and molten lava cake for dessert. The full menu is provided below. The meal is priced at just $65 per person, with seatings from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on New Year's Eve.

Call 416-789-5555 to book your table.

Holiday Season Private Dining Events

Ristorante Boccaccio is a popular venue for private Christmas season dining events. Limited bookings are still available for pre-Christmas lunches or dinners.

Call 416-789-5555 to book your event.

Last Call for Truffles

White truffles are on the menu at Ristorante Boccaccio through the first week of December, as the season comes to a close.

Book now for your last chance to enjoy this seasonal delicacy, shaved tableside. White truffle dishes include Risotto di fungi, porcini broth and seasonal mushrooms with a shaving of white truffles, and Pappardelle carbonara with white truffles.

Reserve today by calling 416-789-5555.

Health & Fitness

Healthy, Active Gift Ideas for Christmas

If you are looking for healthy living and reasonably priced gift ideas this Christmas, look no further than Columbus Centre Athletics.

The Athletic Centre is offering four types of gift certificates through the Holiday season, until Dec. 31. There is something for every preference and budget, for both members and non-members.

The choices are as follows:

Membership Gift Certificates

1. Three-month Health Club Membership ..........$245
2. Three-month General Membership ..............$145
3. Three-month Senior or Student General Membership ...$125

Personal Training Gift Certificates

Purchase up to ten, 60-minute personal training sessions for just $65 a session!

Massage Gift Certificates

Gift certificates can be purchased for any type of massage offered at the Athletic Centre, from 30- to 90-minute sessions, at current rates.

Free 12-Day Membership Gift Certificates

Members aged 18 and over will be eligible for two free gift certificates for 12-day memberships, to give to family or friends. Each pass is good for 12 consecutive days in the Centre's General Membership facilities.

Purchase your gift certificates at the Athletic Centre membership office, or call 416-789-7011 for more information.


Register for Winter Term Art and Music Classes

Registration is now open for Winter term art classes and private music lessons at the Columbus Centre.

Winter term music classes will be held Mondays to Saturdays starting the week of Jan. 9. To enroll or for more information, contact or 416-789-7011 ext. 244.

Fall music classes wrap up on Dec. 12.

Also this winter, the Columbus Centre will offer painting, acrylic, charcoal and oil workshops. The 10-class term begins on Jan. 17, with classes every Tuesday at either 1-4 p.m. or 6:30-9:30 p.m.

To enroll or for more information, contact or 416-789-7011 ext. 244.

Boys - Let's Dance!

DanzArts Toronto has 18 boys dancing with the studio this year! If your son is interested in trying dance, please call Kaitlin at 416-789-7011 ext. 250.


Share the Christmas Spirit with Villa Colombo Toronto Residents

Villa Colombo Toronto's annual Giving Tree program is now underway.

Please stop by the Christmas tree on the Concourse Level of Villa Colombo, in front of the Admissions Office, to make your contribution.

Each gift tag on the tree represents a resident in need. Follow these steps to make this Christmas great for every one of them!

1) Take a tag.
2) Purchase the item(s) listed.
3) Wrap the gift in a gift bag, and attach the tag (please no wrapping paper).
4) Return the gift to reception by Dec. 16.

Gifts will be delivered to residents on Dec. 24.

Please contact Justine Dudziak if you have any questions, at 416-789-2113 ext. 2335.


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

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