Italian Club of Copper Cliff marks 85 years
SUDBURY -- It's a landmark institution in the Greater Sudbury community of Copper Cliff, the Italian Club is marking its 85th anniversary this year.
Steeped in tradition, the hall has served thousands of residents over the years and played host to countless events and weddings.
"I'm not originally from this city but I can tell you one thing, just looking around this whole community of Copper Cliff it's absolutely gorgeous," said club president Mauro Greco.
"I've been to a lot of Little Italys throughout North America, Little Italy is truly here in Copper Cliff and just thinking of all the Italian immigrants that helped construct this beautiful building and that we're celebrating 85 years, it's a milestone. It's extraordinary."
Greco has been enthralled listening to some of the older membership and what this club has seen over the years.
"Hearing the stories from around the town and the city of Sudbury, everything that Italians came first right here in Copper Cliff and it's fantastic to hear. Even the houses that you see in this town is all built into the rocks and the cities of Italy, the major cities like Rome, Venice, Milano, Genoa, they're all named off the streets in this little community, it's fantastic," he added.
Built in 1935, according to the club it was originally created by the women, and the men didn't get involved until later.
Events have been planned throughout the year with appearances from comedians and parties to mark this special milestone.
Karla Renelli got married in the club in 1971. She now volunteers and is one of the many who works behind the scenes to help things run smoothly.
"The funny part about that was my husband was working at the university at the time and there was a lot of English people that were there and when we invited them to the wedding, like It was full here, they got their first course which was the pasta and they thought that was it, you know that was their meal and when they brought on more food and more food and more food, they just couldn't get over it," she laughed.
The toughest challenge for the club has been to keep it running, and organizers are now turning their attention to new membership.
"Considering it is the oldest club in Sudbury for the Italian community it has dwindled over the years and we are taking new membership all the time," said Greco.
"We are trying to encourage the growth of the young Italian generation, they may be two, three or four (generations) but we're encouraging them to come back to where their roots began."
He adds that invitation is also extended to those of non-Italian descent.
"Like our mission statement that we just put out, keep our traditions strong but let's move into the future you know and we want to show our traditions to everyone, not just one race," said Greco.