Welcome - President's Message

I was born in Montreal of Gildonese origin in 1958. I am also the current president of the Montreal Gildonese association of which it has 400 members. My mother immigrated from Gildone in 1954 and my father in 1955. They met and married in Montreal in 1958. My wife was also born in Montreal of Gildonese origin in 1960. Her father arrived here when he was 15, he had earned some money and went back to Gildone, there he got married and went back to Montreal.

This is a typical example of most of the Gildonese immigrants who arrived in Montreal after World War II.

Currently our Montreal Gildonese community is made up of approximately 3,500, of which nearly 5 times the current Gildone population. We have now arrived at the 4th generation of Gildonese origin. The majority, we are second generation Gildonesi, born in Montreal.

So, it all started 70 years ago, in 1950. The first families to arrive in Montreal were the pioneers, then the majority arrived from 1955 to 1960. Times were tough. Immigrating to a country, not knowing the language and culture, was not easy and it took courage. They were united and worked to adapt to Canadian culture while maintaining their Gildonese traditions and customs.

In 1965, the Montreal Gildonese Association was founded by Giuseppe Di Lillo to further unite the Montreal Gildonese community. Over the years, parties have been organized, such as Mothers' Day, Scuffolata, Christmas Party, New Year's Party, Valentine's Day and other sports activities such as football, bowls and skiing. With all these events, every year our Madonna Maria S delle Grazie was celebrated with a procession in August.

For all of us who were born in Canada, our language at birth was not Italian, it was the Gildonese dialect. Our parents arrived here very young, most between 18 and 25 years old and had very little education at the time. So we grew up with the Gildonese traditions and culture as it was many years ago.

Today very few know how to speak Italian, but everything when nuy 'spoke in a perfect Gildonese dialect like the ancestors'. Unfortunately, many of the first arrivals are no longer with us, but we continue to maintain the traditions we grew up with and for this we are very lucky and we are grateful to our ancestors.

Today we live a life rich in education and culture and this is priceless.

On behalf of the committee, many greetings to all our members, our villagers in Canada, Italy and all Gildonese in the world!

Giampiero Ricciardi

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