Q&A: Ilaria Baldan of the Italian Chamber of Commerce – West on keeping Italy alive and well in British Columbia

The Executive Director of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West, Ilaria Baldan, sits down with BCBusiness to discuss the Chamber’s role in connecting Western Canadians with authentic Italian brands and artisans.

The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada – West has operated since 1992 as a private, non-profit, membership organization with the mandate of promoting and enhancing business, trade and investment exchanges between Italy and Western Canada.

Obituary Paolo Rosazza Pela

The very sad news of the death of the Founding President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Vancouver, Paolo Pela, brings to the fore his enormous contribution towards creating a dynamic, flourishing entrepreneurial business organization linking Italy and Western Canada. However, it took time for the association to reach “flying quota”, as Paolo defined it, and the years leading up to the formal recognition of the Italian Chamber of Commerce of British Columbia in 1992 were full of drama and struggles, with the role played by Paolo being decisive and perhaps not very well known.

At the time, both the already established Italian Chambers in Toronto and Montreal each had ambitions to create their own branch office in Vancouver. I had been engaged to assist the Montreal Chamber in the organization of the grand launch in Vancouver of Fiera Milano in Canada and the Toronto Chamber had a local representative recruiting members on their behalf. However, ultimately, both Chambers renounced their territorial ambitions leaving the fledgling Vancouver organization to sink or swim, after which the two branches amalgamated and Paolo became the first and founding President.

The kernel of the organization was just beginning: armed with a list of 30 or so companies doing business with Italy provided by Tom Santosham, head of the Europe desk at BCTrade, I began to try and recruit members and found varying degrees of receptivity. I also sought support from  Italians who had settled in Vancouver and started successful businesses but, discouragingly, a recurrent refrain seemed to be “I made it on my own – why should I help anyone else?”

However, Tom encouraged me to contact the Pela brothers at Novam Development, whom he described as low-profile entrepreneurs of impeccable reputation. Paolo agreed to meet me and, despite what I am sure was initial bemusement at the entire enterprise, he decided to become involved and began almost two decades of dedicated engagement that fundamentally shaped the Chamber as it is today.

As the founding President, Paolo understood the pivotal role of the Chambers in Italy and from the start was insistent on creating his vision for a Vancouver chamber, without the “folkloristic” components of “pizza e tarantella”, as he termed it. He saw it as a means of linking the country of his birth and his adopted home and as a way to represent the very best of Italian business : its entrepreneurial spirit, its drive to achieve excellence, harnessing leading edge technology with centuries of artisan expertise, the aesthetic imperative of even the humblest of products. And, of course, Paolo was himself a prime exemplar of Italian entrepreneurial excellence : principled, fiercely intelligent, creative, determined, fair.

Yet, in order to be able promote this vision of Italy, the Chamber needed to be officially recognized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which, in turn, required three years of activity, events, and a substantial membership base in order to demonstrate viability. So without any funding, we set forth on a wing and a prayer with Paolo offering rent-free for several years a small office space in one of Novam’s downtown buildings. Paolo drew on his extensive network of business contacts and friends to boost membership and we organized some glorious events in other Novam properties such as the Birks  building, the setting for fashion shows, wine tastings and operatic evenings. And somehow, Paolo also found the time to take on the thankless task of translating the Chamber’s Constitution and Bylaws from English into Italian as part of the documentation required for the Ministry.

Once recognition was granted, we were on somewhat firmer footing. Paolo continued as President, flanked by Vice-President Franco Anglesio, like Paolo a native of Piedmont, and we started to welcome economic missions and to organize  business matching forums, speaker meetings, gala evenings. At the centre of all these activities was Paolo, with his elegant, patrician bearing and old-world courtesy, his thoughtful  demeanour leavened often by a twinkle in his eye and sometimes a mischievous grin. Yet  despite all his accomplishments, he was a very modest and self-deprecating man and I am sure that it was with some relief, having assured himself that the Chamber was in good hands, that he eventually bowed out of the spotlight and became the elder statesman. Some years later, however, he did not hesitate to step back into a leadership role when the Chamber risked veering into perilous waters, marshalling his keen mind and shrewd strategic instincts to ensure that we got back on course.

The Chamber owes Paolo a huge debt of gratitude – without his vision, dedication, generosity, wisdom and support, the outcome would have been vastly different.

“We shall not look upon his like again”.

5 Businesses that introduce the Italian Aesthetic to Vancouver

For the last few years, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada – West has organized an Italian Design Week in partnership with the Consulate General of Italy in Vancouver that spotlights made-in-Italy fashion and design with speakers, events, and seminars.

This year’s design week takes place from October 27 to November 3 with the theme of regeneration and sustainability. It will welcome major historical design firms from Italy, such as Pininfarina, a car and coachbuilder, which will be showcasing rare vintage cars, in addition to local retailers that are either Italian by nature or celebrate Italian design.

THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING THE PROSCIUTTO DI PARMA MASTERCLASS – SEP 27

PROSCIUTTO DI PARMA MASTERCLASS 2021 Vancouver
 

“Thank you to our invited guests, Consorzio Prosciutto di Parma, Frankie’s Italian Kitchen, Chef Roberto Fracchioni, Revelry Imports, Stile Brands, CoBees Enterprise, Crush Imports, and Cioffi’s.”

The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West would like to THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AT THE PROSCIUTTO DI PARMA MASTERCLASS Monday, September 27, 2021.

We really hope you had fun, enjoyed the Prosciutto di Parma themed finely paired authentic Italian launch and wine pairing and that the event increased your knowledge and understanding of the Prosciutto di Parma.

Special thanks to Frankie’s Italian Kitchen for hosting the masterclass and their authentic and delicious Italian lunch.

Thank you Revelry Imports, Stile Brands, CoBees Enterprise and Crush Imports for offering wines that paired perfectly with Prosciutto di Parma, and thank you Cioffi’s Meat Market & Deli for supplying the prosciutto di Parma for this event.

Chef Roberto Fracchioni thank you for your interesting and insightful lecture.

Last but not least, heartfelt thanks to Consorzio Prosciutto di Parma for supporting this by-invitation only initiative and the participants.

We look forward to meeting you again at our upcoming event!
 

This Masterclass is organized within the True Italian Taste Project, a project aimed at promoting authentic Italian food and wine products worldwide.

PROSCIUTTO DI PARMA MASTERCLASS SEP 27

CILS Exam Consultation and Private Lessons

Get Ready for Your CILS Exam!

While preparing for a CILS exam, you will also have the opportunity to simulate an exam session using old CILS exam papers. This will help you get used to the exam, its sequence, and the amount of time provided during testing. Furthermore, your score can also be checked easily.

Private Lessons

Private lessons to prepare for CILS exams are available. Lessons will be tailored to your needs. Our instructors are trained by the CILS Centre and the test commission and they have extensive knowledge of the test format and they can provide a solid background to achieve the best result.

Complimentary Consultation

We offer FREE CILS Consultation where one of our instructors can help you choose the learning path that best suits your needs in preparing for the CILS exam. We will then help you understand if you just need a refresher or if you are still far from the level you would like to be and therefore need a more intensive course.

To book your consultation, please email us at school@iccbc.com and one of our instructors will help you choose the learning path that best suits your needs in preparing for your CILS exam.


CILS – Italian Certificate as a Foreign Language- Vancouver

The Vancouver Italian Language School has been officially accredited as an authorized examination centre for the CILS exams (Certification of Italian as a Second Language). 

The accreditation has entered among the University for Foreigners of Siena with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and our School.

The CILS certification is a qualification which declares the level of linguistic and communicative competences in Italian as a foreign language. The exams are designed to assess how learners use Italian to communicate in real-life situations.

CILS is the first certification of Italian as foreign language to have adopted the system of six levels of linguistic and communicative competence proposed by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

For candidates who require certification for citizenship purposes (whether they are married to an Italian or are resident in Italy) CILS B1 Citizenship/ B1 Cittadinanza is the examination intended for them.

Exam Fee

The cost for CILS B1 Citizenship will be 180$ + GST. This price includes the 150$ enrollment fee (147 Euros + fluctuation) that will be paid directly to the University for Foreigners of Siena. In addition to this fee, we charge an additional 48$ for admin fee. Please contact us for payment instructions.

About our CILS Test

More info about the test:

  • The exam will be activated with a minimum of 8 candidates for all levels.
  • The exams will be in person in a test center located in Vancouver downtown.
  • Our exam administrators and teachers are trained by the CILS Centre.

CILS is a founding member of CLIQ (Italian Certification of Quality) and a member of EALTA (European Association for Language Testing and Assessment), the European association that aims to promote knowledge of testing and language assessment in Europe. In this way, the CILS Centre is committed to ensure the ethical management of the evaluation process.

Certification Processing

Please notice that it will take up to 60 days (CILS B1 Cittadinanza) to get the exam results and that we are not able to post certificates. Certificates have to be collected by yourself in person or by someone on your behalf with a copy of your ID and an authorization approval form. Certificates will arrive about 3/4 months after the results.

Questions?

For more info please send an email to school@iccbc.com or call our office 604.682.1410 (M – F, 10am – 4pm)


THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING THE PROSECCO DOC ROSE’ MASTERCLASS – JULY 14

Prosecco DOC Rose Masterclass Vancouver Canada True Italian Taste Italian Chamber Of Commerce
 

Thank you to our invited guests, wine educator Jenna Briscoe, BiBo Pizzeria con Cucina, D’oro Gelato e Caffe, and the Consorzio of Prosecco.

The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West would like to THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AT THE PROSECCO DOC ROSE’ MASTERCLASS Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

We really hope you had fun, enjoyed the Prosecco DOC Rose’ wines and the finely paired authentic Italian launch and that the event increased your knowledge and understanding of the Prosecco DOC Rose’.

Special thanks to BiBo Pizzeria con Cucina for hosting the masterclass and their authentic and delicious Italian lunch.

Thank you D’oro Gelato e Caffe for your tasty gelato to accompany the desert.

Jenna Briscoe from Medina Café, thank you for being such an awesome speaker and instructor for this Masterclass.

Last but not least, heartfelt thanks to Consorzio of Prosecco for supporting this by-invitation only initiative and the participants.

pastedGraphic.png

We look foward to meeting within the True Italian Taste Project, a project aimed at promoting authentic italian food and wine products world wide

THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING THE ITALIAN DESIGN DAY 2021 – July 08

Italian Design Day Italian Car Design

Thank you to our guests, keynote speaker Arch. Luisa Bocchietto, Consulate General of Italy in Vancouver, Consul General of Italy Fabio Messineo, President of the Chamber Celso Boscariol, and the incredible team of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada West.

The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West would like to THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AT THE ITALIAN DESIGN DAY 2021 Thursday, July 09, 2021.

We really hope you had fun, enjoyed exploring a new design approach with us and that the event increased your knowledge and understanding of the Italian Design.

Special thanks to our esteemed keynote speaker, Arch. Luisa Bocchietto, for her interesting and insightful presentation.  

Thank you Consul General Fabio Messineo and the Consulate General of Italy in Vancouver for organizing this successful edition of IDD with us.

Last but not least, thanks to our president, Celso Boscariol, our interim GM, Alex Martyniak, our project Manager, Stefano Dal Farra and the rest of our incredible team at the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada West for their continuous hard work and dedication.

See you in the fall for the third edition of the Italian Design Days to keep celebrating the Italian design and Made in Italy & we look forward to meeting you again at our upcoming event

THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING EYE GLOBAL PROJECT LAUNCH June 30

Thank you to our guests, organizers, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Germany, Eye Global participants Orietta Crispino and Katharina, the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce, and the incredible team of Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada West

The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West would like to THANK YOU FOR JOINING US FOR EYE GLOBAL PROJECT LAUNCH Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

We really hope that the webinar increased your knowledge and understanding of the EYE Global program, its benefits for Canadian entrepreneurs and answered your questions about this project.

Thank you Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs program for providing this business opportunity to entrepreneurs in Canada and in the EU.

Heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our special speakers, exchange program participants, Orietta Crispino and Katharina. Thank you for accepting our invitation and for sharing with us your insightful stories and experiences.

The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Germany, we highly appreciate your great support and help in organizing this event.

Linda Schmittmann of Itkam, big thanks for your presentation and constant help.
 Raffaella Saviori of Itkam, thank you for your support.

The Italy-America Chamber of Commerce, we loved having you with us.

Alice Biagini of the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce in New York thank you for your interesting presentation.

Last but not least, special thanks to our hard working team at the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada West and the European Chamber of Commerce in Canada West.

Sincere thanks to our president Celso Boscariol.
Big thanks to the Managing Director of the European Chamber of Commerce in Canada West and the Interim Managing Director of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada West Alex Martyniak.
Special thanks to our project manager Stefano Dal Farra.
.
We hope you enjoyed the event and that the event answered your questions about the opportunities provided by EYE Global for Canadian entrepreneurs. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Looking forward to meeting you again at our upcoming event

THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING A TAVOLA! the Authentic Italian Table Cooking Event – June 03

The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West would like to THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AT A TAVOLA! The Authentic Italian Table 2021 Thursday, June 03, 2021.

Thank you to our guests, suppliers, Dirty Apron Cooking School, Chef David, and the incredible team of Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada West

We really hope you had fun, enjoyed the cooking experience and the authentic Italian food you cooked and that the event increased your knowledge and understanding of the authentic Italian food products and cuisine.

Special thanks to our suppliers, our esteemed members, Bosa, Cioffi’s Group, Papooch, Domenica Fiore, and Vino Allegro for supplying such top quality ingredients and food products.  

Last but not least, thanks to Casereccio, D’Oro Gelato, Bibo, Cappelleria Bertacchi, Italian Girl Bijoux, and Il Covo for adding to our guests Italian experience with their coupon/gift cards and discount codes.

Looking forward to meeting you again at our upcoming event