KELOWNA —; Celeste Bazzana is taking a trip down memory lane. On Saturday, the 80-year-old Kelowna resident looked back on several photos from decades of events held with an Italian community group he helped found when he was in his early 30’s.
“Italian people, they didn’t come here just to work, they came here to put a foot on the ground and be a part of the community,” says Bazzana.
The Kelowna Canadian Italian Club now has more than 200 members.
It’s a standout year for the club as it’s celebrating a big milestone this year. It’s 50th anniversary is one the current president and many of the founding members didn’t think they’d reach.
“I joined 40 years ago and at the time, nobody thought that the club would last this long and here we are today just as strong as we were in the beginning,” says club president Joe Iafrancesco.
Romi Marcanio was one of the first women to get involved with the club shortly after coming to Canada.
“We all stick together and we have a lot of fun,” says Marcanio.
Marcanio got married in Italy and she recalls the day she left the country with her husband.
In this photo below, taken from the ship she was on with her husband, is an image of the relatives she left on that day, a sight that she says has never left her memory.
“When you leave the country, you’re just standing really close [to relatives] and then all of a sudden you’re slowly drifting away and you feel this ‘oh my gosh’,” says Marcano.
She says this is a nostalgic time for many of the long-term club members who hope to keep it going for many more years to come.
“I hope the name will stay for another 50 years,” says Bazzana.