The Caboto Centre, located off Wilkes Avenue, received $100,000 from the Government of Canada to improve its long-term sustainability.
Board members of the Italian Canadian League of Manitoba Inc. and the Centro Caboto Centre applied for the grant at the beginning of last year. On June 28, a news release announced that the centre's application was approved.
"The Caboto Centre is a well-known gathering place where Italian culture is promoted through various programs, events, and services. Working alongside our partners, Winnipeggers and visitors will be able to enjoy a revitalized and sustainable Caboto Centre that will be better equipped to showcase the province’s rich diversity and cultural history," says the Honourable Jim Carr, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.
While the Caboto Centre serves as a meeting place to celebrate Italian culture, it also celebrates and welcomes cultures and ethnicities of all kinds.
"We have all kinds of events here, weddings, graduations, our own in-house Cafe 13, we have physiotherapy; we have all kinds of tenants here that we cater to," says Vincenzo Gabriele, Executive Director of Caboto Centre. "We have Russian school on the weekends during the school year. We have prayers done in the large hall. For any time of holiday, we do all multicultural here."
The upgrades to the centre include new HVAC units, switching light fixtures to LED and upgrading bathroom amenities.
Gabriele notes that much of the building is still from the original build in 1998 and that the grant from the government plus the $150,000 that the Italian Canadian League of Manitoba has invested into this project will provide more modern and energy-efficient renovations.
"Centro Caboto Centre is our very own Italian and multi-cultural event centre inviting all diverse World cultures into our facility. Manitoba’s Italian communities have long awaited the Centre’s reopening and since doing so, have seen over 3,000 guests per week in attendance at Centro Caboto. Today’s announcement is incredible news for our Centro and comes at an opportune time where infrastructure, culture, and recreation are so important. Thank you/Mille Grazie to the Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba for your continued support to improve our Centro Caboto Centre," says Gabriele along with the President of the Italian Canadian League of Manitoba Inc., Tony Pesce.
With the upgrades already beginning and planning for the return of the Italian Pavillion at Folklorama, the Caboto Centre has been busy with prep work. The Italian Pavillion will run from August 7-14.
"Everything is in order for Folklorama. We're less than a month away, so we have to make do with what we have currently, and everything seems to be working fine."
Over the last three years, $697,161,556 in federal funding has been approved for 98 infrastructure projects in Manitoba, including 14 community, culture and recreation projects.