Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Nancy B. Bouchier
This study explores the relationship between soccer and Toronto’s Italian immigrants throughout the 1970s to the now-mythical 1982 celebration of the Italian team’s FIFA World Cup victory on Toronto’s Corso Italia. The celebration’s location in a distinctly ethnic neighbourhood is linked to concepts of ‘place’ and ‘identity’ which made it central to the construction of an Italian-Canadian identity during the era of Multiculturalism policies. Toronto’s Italian-Canadians used the victory as a way of recognizing their own worth to society and to proudly and publicly solidify their integration into the Canadian multicultural landscape. Soccer helped them create and maintain a multi-dimensional transnational identity that reinforced the importance of their ethnic community. It also provided them with a visual way to relate to the nation. This study shows that this nationalism transcended traditional gender constraints and transformed this sport victory celebration into a family event, which included males and females alike. Eighteen interviews of Italian-Canadians who lived in and around the Toronto area throughout the 1970s and early 1980s reveal what they remember about the soccer-related events of that time period and how they feel about those memories now. This study also examines various Italian, Italian-Canadian, and English-language Canadian newspapers that covered specific sporting events and celebrations from 1978 to 1983, with a particular focus on the 1982 World Cup. It argues that in this case a collective memory has been created and conditioned by the way the media portrayed the event and how Toronto’s Italian-Canadian cultural community sustained it.
Lo Monaco, Riccardo, "SIAMO NUMBER ONE: TORONTO ITALIANS, SOCCER AND IDENTITY, 1982" (2011). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6439.
McMaster University Library