Our History

History of the CIBPA

The Ottawa chapter of CIBPA was founded in 1961 by Nicholas Di Labio, Amelio Durie and Benny Licari and was originally called the Italian Business and Professional Men's Association. It is one of the oldest Italo-Canadian organizations in the National Capital Region. A Charter, requested by Rosemary Perry, was granted to the Association in 1961; the first Association meeting was held on November 13, 1961 at the Prescott Hotel on Preston Street with 12 members in attendance.

Several years later, the name of the association was changed to Italian Canadian Business and Professional Men's Association. Finally, in the late 1970's, the name was made politically correct by dropping "Men's" from the name and admitting Giuseppina Campolungo as the first female member of the Association. A previous attempt in 1968 to admit women failed by a vote of four. Mrs. Bonnie Favilla was elected the Association's first female Vice President.

The Association, in 1974, under the stewardship of Gino and Italo Tiezzi (father and son), obtained a grant from the Federal Government to launch the Italo Canadian Seniors Group which is still to this day, a very active organization in the Ottawa area.

For over 25 years, the Association organized the Carnevale Italiano, which was first held on February 14, 1965 under the chairmanship of Sal Pantalone. In some years, the Carnevale sold over 6,000 tickets and was the premier winter event in Ottawa. Tony Olivieri, Sam Giamberardino, Franco and Bruno Giammaria, and most of the early Presidents and members of the Association were very active during the Carnevale.

The Association also entered many floats in the annual Central Canada Exhibition parade and won numerous first place prizes with their life-size replicas of famous sites of Italy.

At a national convention in June 1989 in Ottawa, the Association, under the presidency of Giorgio Flumian, became a founding member of the National Federation of Canadian and Italian Business and Professional Associations Inc., which turned out to be a major step in establishing a national voice for CIBPA. At that time, the National Federation included chapters in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor, Sault Ste-Marie and Sudbury. Later, Thunder Bay, Vancouver and Hamilton also joined the Assocation. And more recently, London and Niagra have joined the National Federation.

In 1996, the Association, under the presidency of Franco Falsetto, was the first local Italian association to donate $10,000 towards the construction of Villa Marconi Long Term Care Centre. Under the leadership of Lucio Appolloni (a long time member of the Association), Villa Marconi has become the most ambitious project of the Italian community in Ottawa.

Strong community and family ties and a pride in our heritage have been, and will continue to be, the motivation of our Association. Our members can take pride in the fact that the Italo-Canadians have made, and will continue to make, a very important contribution to the cultural, business, and social facets in Ottawa and Canada for many generations to come.