This is the largest Istriani community in the world outside of Italy. Thousands of Istriani people migrated to Canada, the United States, South America, and Australia with nothing but their suitcases and a small amount of money in hand. Many of those who came to Canada landed at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and travelled by train to various communities across the country. Most did not speak English fluently, which restricted their employment options to general labour in agriculture.
Remembering all that they left behind, the community worked, saved, and always shared what they had to get through the difficult early years of being in a new country. As a community, the Istriani people have strived to find ways to connect and to share their heritage, culture, and language. Realizing that the need was strong for the Istriana-Italian community, they formed a formal organization in 1988. The club was created by a group of hunters from the Chatham-Kent Istriana community who celebrated their culture by hunting, cooking, and dancing.
The Lega Istriana club is still active with over 200 members including first and second-generation Canadians. Many of the members are working in Chatham-Kent as dentists, doctors, nurses, bricklayers, teachers, and other professions. The local community marked the 50th immigration anniversary with a "Commemorative Rock" in Kingston Park in Chatham. In 2018, the club celebrated their 30th Anniversary as a club with a gala at Club Lentina. The Mayor, Member of Parliament, and Director of "Giuliani nel Mono, Italy" Fabio Ziberna attended and gave special recognition to Mr. Antonio Perini for 25 years of service as president. The club is active year-round, hosting annual activities like the Italian Remembrance Day in February, Lega Istriani picnic in June, and annual Christmas Dance in December.
Lega Istriana Chatham Southwestern Ontario
Contact Person: Angela Rota, President
Phone: 519-351-3033 or 519-809-0155
Address: 519 Sydenham St Dresden ON N0P1M0