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Wednesday, September 18, 2019
 
 
  1924 – A small group of visionary Italian immigrants began what has become the Giovanni Caboto Club. The goal of this group was to help new immigrants adapt to Canada and become model citizens, while still holding on to their rich Italian culture.

Over the years, the Caboto Club has
  provided funds, goods and services worth millions of dollars to Windsor
 

charities of all types, including Youth Recreation and scholarship programs. The Caboto Club is one of the largest, most successful and influential clubs in North America.

It was during the Club’s humble beginnings, in a rented school's gym facility, on the corner of Niagara Street and Marion Avenue, where meetings, dances and banquets were held, that the Club’s basic philosophy of “what can I do to help” was established. To this day, that philosophy is all that’s required to become an honourable member of the Club.

 
P10781 - Giovanni Caboto Club, Courtesy of the Caboto Club
 
P10592 - 60th  Anniversary celebrations, Caboto Italian Women’s Club


P10781 - Giovanni Caboto Club
Courtesy of the Caboto Club,

 

P10592 - 60th Anniversary celebrations, Caboto Italian Women’s Club, 1990.
Courtesy of the Caboto Italian Women’s Club
 
1925   On the 24th of January, the first elections of the Border Cities Italian Club were held, and Mr. Mariano Meconi was voted president.
     
1925 – 1927   These were the most eventful years in the Club’s history. The Club quickly grew to become a focal point of the Italian community of the Windsor area. Club members and friends flocked to the weekly dances held at the school and family picnics.
     
1926   On September 1st, the Club established a mutual fund to assist members in the event sickness prevented them from working. In these early years, the fund was supported on a voluntary basis by Club members.
     
1927   On April 1st, The Border Cities Italian Club was incorporated, and on the 28th of May, the club banner was officially unveiled in City Hall Square. The club was later renamed the Giovanni Caboto Club in honour of the explorer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot).
     
1930   The Italian Women’s Club was established, and Mrs. Teresa Oldani was elected its first president. It quickly became an integral part of the main Club.
     
1933   The Mutual Benefit Society of the Caboto Club was officially registered with the Ontario Department of Insurance and, today, is only one of a handful left in Ontario and one of the most financially sound.
     
1934   The Club activities had become so numerous that a permanent location became necessary. So, even in the middle of the Depression, the Club members raised $5,000.00 and purchased property at 966 Wyandotte Street East.
 
P9396 - First Anniversary of incorporation of the Caboto Club, April 1928
 
P10790 - Clarinet  players from the 1st Caboto Club band, 1930

P9396 - First Anniversary of incorporation of the Caboto Club, April 1928.
Courtesy of the Caboto Club
 

P10790 - Clarinet players from the 1st Caboto Club band, 1930.
Courtesy of the Caboto Club,
 

During the Second World War, the club’s membership played an active role in supporting various War Charities, including the Smoke Fund and the Red Cross.

After the War, with new immigrants swelling the membership rolls, it was decided to purchase a large piece of land and build a modern club with the best facilities.

 
1949   Under the leadership of President Angelo Zamparo, the land on which the present building sits was purchased and construction began at 2175 Parent Ave.
     
1950   The official opening, on the 3rd of April, was a joyous occasion that celebrated all the hard work that had gone into the planning and execution of the project. The Ladies Auxiliary supplied the kitchen equipment and window drapes, to make the facilities complete. The finished building was an inviting place for both members and the general public.
     
1971   Under the Presidency of Dominic Cantagallo, a major expansion of the Club property and facilities was undertaken.
     
1972   The official opening of the new facilities saw the club grow to more than twice its previous size. Saverio Galli added the finishing touch with the two spectacular historical murals that stretched over a whole wall in each of the new halls. The paintings depicted the Italian contribution in areas such as the Arts, Sciences, Literature and Law.
     
1986   The latest and most ambitious expansion took place in that year. Under the leadership of the President Ron Moro, a $5 million renovation was initiated, once again doubling the Club’s size and bringing its facilities to a world-class level. The Club’s impressive beauty and atmosphere of understated elegance have helped make the many affairs it has hosted over the years all the more memorable.
1990 Caboto Folklore Dancers
 
P9394 - Laying the cornerstone, 1949. Courtesy of the Windsor Star

1990 Caboto Folklore Dancers
 

P9394 - Laying the cornerstone, 1949. Courtesy of the Windsor Star
 

Patrons and visitors alike marvel at the craftsmanship of the woodwork, terrazzo, marble, and overall décor. Many remark that the Caboto Club must have hired hundreds of artists over the years to accomplish its present state of magnificence. They are genuinely surprised to learn that almost all of the work was done by volunteer artisans in their spare time.

Today, as in the beginning, members of the Giovanni Caboto Club continually recommit themselves to doing their share to improve the entire community demonstrating their deep pride in being part of Canadian society.
Numerous Caboto Club members are leaders in many civic and charitable endeavours, a reflection of the enduring attitude of “what can I do to help?” originated by the Club’s founding fathers. Through the generations, this simple yet invaluable principle has been passed on and strengthened from father to son to grandson.

As Southwestern Ontario’s largest and oldest Italian club, the Caboto Club is also a premier facility for many special events and occasions in the Windsor-Essex County Region. The Caboto Club offers its facilities to serve the general public with a capacity to cater up to 3000 people at any given time. The club takes great pride in the fact that it has never accepted, nor requested any grants from the government to offset the costs of any of their events. It has also donated millions of dollars to many Windsor charities.

 
The Women's Auxiliary Club
 
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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

 

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