[Re]Connected Seniors Program Wraps Up Digital Literacy Workshops
[Re]Connected Seniors Project recently concluded their digital literacy workshops that taught seniors how to stay connected to their friends and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project was created by Villa Charities and funded in part by the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Emergency Community Support Fund, with funds administered by United Way of Greater Toronto.
The workshops were available to the residents in our independent seniors’ apartments and were held from October 2020 to March 2021, following all the required COVID-19 protocols. These digital literacy workshops taught seniors valuable skills such as how to create an email address, how to use videoconferencing apps and shop online. The program also gave seniors the opportunity to borrow a free iPad to discover new ways of staying in touch, learning and socializing.
Overall, the program and workshops were a huge success. Thanks to partners like United Way of Greater Toronto, Rogers and TechServeTO, our seniors can now feel more confident about connecting to the outside world through technology. Daniel and David Marrello, Founders of TechServeTO, also expressed their praise for the partnership and the project, saying “TechServeTO’s mission is to help teach older adults technology skills to help them fully function as members of the digital community. Villa Charities’ [Re)Connected Seniors has been instrumental in teaching crucial skills such as video chatting, social media, business productivity, and more.”

Check out testimonials of how the [Re]Connected Seniors Project positively impacted the participants:
"Thanks to Sara and Matteo's workshops for introducing me to Zoom, I could attend a virtual meeting at the French Embassy in Ottawa and a family birthday out of the country. I also enrolled in the French-speaking "Groupe de lecture" at the Toronto Public Library. [Re]Connected Seniors dramatically improved the quality of my social life during the pandemic!"
- Aline, Casa Del Zotto resident
"Thanks to [Re]Connected Seniors, I have become more confident in using technology. After following the workshops with Sara and Mohammad, I can use a tablet, send an email, use social media like Facebook and watch videos on YouTube! I had a wonderful time attending the online workshops, and I appreciated the time the volunteers and the instructors spent with me. I would like to thank all of them for their enthusiasm and the quality of their instructions. [Re]Connected Seniors made my life more meaningful and less lonely during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
- Bach, Caboto Terrace Resident
Watch the highlight video above that features some of the program participants!
Thank You for Celebrating our 50th Anniversary with Us!
On April 15th, Villa Charities proudly celebrated its 50th Anniversary! Thanks to everyone in the community for showing your support and participating through our virtual initiatives and programming. From the commemorative lightings of the CN Tower and the TORONTO sign to the congratulatory messages and commemorative videos by TLN Media Group, it was a truly remarkable day for our organization. We’ll continue to celebrate throughout the year - here's to the next 50 years of celebrating Italian culture and heritage!
Share Your Family’s Connection to the CN Tower
On April 15th, the CN Tower was lit up in the colours of the Italian flag, to commemorate Villa Charities’ 50th anniversary, symbolizing the importance of our organization to Italian-Canadians in the GTA. We’d like to know if members of our Villa Charities community were involved with the construction of this iconic Toronto landmark during the 1970s. Share your stories with us using #VCI50 on social media or send us an email!

Special Presentation on Indigenous & Italian-Canadian Connections
Join us virtually for the special presentation, “Indigenous & Italian-Canadian Connections,” on Tuesday, May 11 at 7:00pm. Dr. Angela Nardozi and Dr. Paolo Frascà will explore the history of Indigenous-Italian-Canadian interactions and discuss current issues around reconciliation, cross-cultural relationships, and building solidarity with Indigenous movements. The event is free, but you must register.
Villa Charities Supports Fourth Annual Toronto Italian Book Festival
Librissimi Toronto Italian Book Festival” is a celebration of Italian-Canadian writing and culture in all its forms, language and dialects. Each year the festival showcases the finest and latest in Italian-Canadian writing and builds cultural bridges with Italian partners. Villa Charities has been proudly supporting this festival since its founding year in 2018. This year, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, VCI will be sponsoring a special panel of five young talented writers and storytellers in our community.
Enjoy the “Toronto Salutes Dante” Presentations
Villa Charities is proud to sponsor “Toronto Salutes Dante”, which commemorates the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, and features more than thirty Canada-based guests who will read Dante’s “Inferno” in various languages, several for the first time. In addition to ten different Italian dialects, eighteen other languages are represented. In 15-minute clips, well-known personalities of Canadian public and cultural life, professors and students at the University of Toronto,
and members of the Italo-Canadian community share their voices and fresh memories of the most important Italian author in world literature. Listen to Dante’s “Inferno” as you have never heard it before on the Department of Italian Studies’ YouTube channel, now through June 2021.
"Racconti In Italiano" Continues Through May
With a focus on learning new Italian vocabulary, the “Racconti in Italiano” online book club offers adult students at any level the opportunity to discuss contemporary short stories in both Italian and English. A variety of literary themes and styles are covered including stories by established literary figures, as well as a new generation of writers, with stories that explore aspects of Italian life. The next workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, May 26 at 1:00pm.
May's Book Club Selection, "Morte a Firenze/ Death in Florence" is Here
Our online book club is an opportunity to explore and discuss contemporary
Italian literature while learning Italian. Join us for our May session, where
we will embark on literary adventures with extraordinary works by acclaimed prize-
winning authors. The next workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, May 26 at 7:00pm as we read "Morte a Firenze/ Death in Florence" by Marco Vichi.

The Latest Art News and Events Discussed with “Art & Aperitivo”
Join us virtually, enjoy a drink, and master the Italian language with the "Art & Aperitivo" classes! “Art & Aperitivo” is an opportunity to talk about art in a relaxed environment, while enjoying your favourite drink together virtually. In this online interactive workshop, we will discuss the most significant art news and events from around the world, using Italian magazines and newspapers. We invite you to practice your Italian while expressing your views. We hope to see you next Thursday, May 6 at 7:00pm!
Escape to Italy with our “Travel Through Italy” Online Series
Take a virtual journey through the beautiful regions and cities of Italy! From North to South, get inspired by landscapes, recipes, small towns, poems, art, literature masterpieces and local tales. Whether you are sharing your Italian origins with your classmates or simply your love for this country, you will get to know lots of new Italian words, customs and friends! Don't miss the spring term workshops starting Monday, May 3 at 6:30pm for the English-speaking class and 7:45pm for the Italian-speaking class.
Book Your Virtual One-on-One Meeting for Friday Chats with the CEO
You can have a virtual meeting with Marco DeVuono, Acting President and CEO of Villa Charities Inc., for a one-on-one conversation to answer any questions or to share your thoughts on our programs and services. These informal chats with Marco will be held using GoToMeeting on the 2nd Friday of every month, from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Appointments are 20 minutes each and must be scheduled in advance. The next Friday Chats is scheduled for Friday, May 7. Contact us today to schedule your virtual meeting – call 416-789-7011 ext. 240 or email csimpson@villacharities.com.
On-Site Operations for Villa Charities and Columbus Centre Remain Suspended
Please be advised that as per the direction from the Ontario government and local public health authorities, under current the provincewide Stay-at-Home order guidelines, on-site operations for Villa Charities and the Columbus Centre remain suspended. Online programs and services continue to be offered. Stay tuned for any updates and visit our COVID-19 Updates page for full details.
Save the Date for The Ital-Canadian Golf Open at Eagles Nest Golf Club
Join us for the inaugural Ital-Canadian Golf Open on Monday, August 30, 2021. The CIBPA Toronto, ICCO Canada and Villa Charities Foundation are coming together to celebrate our community and give back in a meaningful way. Proceeds from the Golf Open will support programs provided by CIBPA Toronto, ICCO Canada and Villa Charities, as well as scholarships and bursaries for students across the country.
Virtual Group Fitness Classes Continue at the Columbus Centre
The Columbus Centre Athletic Club continues to offer Live Virtual Group Fitness classes. Our certified instructors are offering courses six days a week! Check out Monday's class – Gentle Fitness. Gentle Fitness classes are designed for people just starting a physical fitness routine, returning to a regular physical fitness routine, or rehabilitating after an injury or illness. Slow to moderately-paced exercises focusing on functional movements, fall prevention, muscle strength and aerobic endurance. Seated and standing components. Monthly membership fees are only $24.99 + HST and include access to our full fitness class video library. For more information, visit our website and register today.
Pantry Lawrence West Now Open in the Columbus Centre
With the opening of Pantry Lawrence West inside the Columbus Centre, we are bringing our tried and true quick-service restaurant directly to you, with a variety of homemade dishes that are healthy, affordable, and customizable to your tastes. Our Scratch to Go Fridge will feature a new line of Italian-themed dishes including traditional pastry options.
Please enjoy our offer of 10% off all Pantry purchases for VCI and Columbus Centre patrons. Simply use the promo code MEMBER10 when ordering online from our website.

Pantry Lawrence West is open seven days a week from 9:00am to 7:00pm for pick-up and delivery service. Dine-in service to be introduced according to public health and safety standards.