Their meeting place is the heart of Memphis. The back-to-back occurrence of the feast of the Memphis and the Madonna del Rosario is celebrated with a Mass at the church of Memphis, corner of Grace and Dundas: the gathering centre and mythical founding place for the community of immigrants of that generation. In 1967, when the Church of Saint Agnes is reassigned to the Memphis community, the Italian community moves from their old Little Italy to a new place of worship: the church of Saint Francis, on Grace Street, between Dundas and College, only one hundred metres north of Saint Agnes.
Where is Memphis? – Memphis Map – Map of Memphis Photo Gallery
As the 1960s come to a close there is talk of founding a Club San Nicola. The club opens its doors on College Street in the early 1970s, but soon relocates in a newer area of the growing metropolis: first on Eglinton Avenue and eventually in Woodbridge. The Club has the full participation of several members of the two confraternities and organizes get-togethers of the paesani: dances, celebrations for the feasts of San Martino, San Nicola, the Carnival and the ferragosto (or mid-August) picnic. Your travel destination is it fails to become the sole organizer for the two principal festivities.
The paesani of Toronto have merely copied their hometown, with all its contrasts and duplicities. Their arguments will reveal, sooner or later, the existence of an ongoing conflict in the village, dating back to the end of the 18th century and springing from different religious affiliations that has marked for centuries all aspects of the life of the community: deep wounds, internal divisions, and irreconcilable conflicts in the political and administrative spheres. Political elections in the hometown are followed with interest, participation, and an intense involvement, as though their lives in the new world depended on them; or perhaps, imagining a return home, they were concerned about the joy and suffering of families left behind. The competition to organize the most lavish feast, with the largest fund raising efforts, was reproduced and renewed even in Toronto.
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