The Italian Cultural Institute was founded by Antonio D’Andrea, former Head of the Department of Italian at McGill University, in 1962. A distinguished italianist, D’Andrea was also the founder, together with Dante della Terza, of The Yearbook of Italian Studies . He believed that the aim both of the journal and of the Institute was to build a cultural bridge between Italy and Canada and in particular between Italy and both the anglophone and the francophone communities.
Located on Doctor Penfield Avenue, next to the Italian Consulate General, in the heart of Montreal’s Golden Square Mile, the Institute has been host through the years to a number of cultural events and to a number of cultural personalities such as Umberto Eco, Alessandro Baricco, Francesco Rosi etc.
The Institute is a centre for cultural and academic activities, a school of Italian language and civilization, a source of information about contemporary European Union, Italy, its regions and its multilayered cultural heritage as well as a venue for art exhibitions, lectures, films, and video screenings.
In addition, the Institute provides the opportunity for cultural collaboration between Italian and Canadian organizations and individuals, in order to facilitate exchange in the field of theatre, music and cinema. It offers information and logistical support to both Italian and foreign public and private operators interested in Italian cultural events in Canada. The Institute supports initiatives which favour intercultural and multilateral dialogue based on the principles of democracy, reciprocal respect and international solidarity. The ICI in Montreal was a founding member of EUNIC Canada cluster and it is often involved in events organized by other cultural offices of the EU countries active in Quebec and the rest of Canada.
Supported mainly by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Italian Cultural Institutes are 83 worldwide; in Canada they are in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The jurisdiction of the Institute in Montreal covers Quebec and eastern Canada.
The Institute building belongs to the Italian Government. The current premises have a historical value, they belong to the Italian Government and are located near the campus of the University of Mc Gill, on Doctor Penfield Avenue, next to the Italian Consulate General, in the heart of Montreal’s Golden Square Mile. The premises allow class activities (3 small classrooms) and larger meetings (1 large hall). Office activity is conducted in 6 office rooms.
Since its foundation, the directors of the Institute have been the following:
- Sandro Cappelli
- Francesco D’Arelli
- Martin Stiglio
- Angelo Mazzone
- Giovanna Jatropelli
- Elio Traina
- Lucia Cenerini
- Gianfranco Silvestro
- Guido Bistolfi
- Giovanni Battaglia
- Vittorio Politi
- Maria Fortunata
- Antonio D’Andrea