Sunday, September 2, 2012

Welcome back to the CCR: a look at last season as we head into the new

Here we are again! We hope you've all had a wonderful summer, whether you spent time catching up with loved ones in Canada, visiting exotic destinations or indulging in a "staycation" in Rome. We can't wait to hear your summer stories in person at the Canadian Club of Rome's 2012-2013 season opening events.

The opportunities to socialize, have fun and learn abounded in the 2011-2012 club year. Canadian Ambassador to Italy, James Fox, and his consort, Mrs Nurys Estrella Fox, once again generously opened their residence to CCR members and friends as we officially inaugurated the club season on the 29th of September, 2011.

CCR 2011-2012 Season Opening: Ambassador James Fox, CCR President Diana Szyszka Pompei, Ambassador Anne Leahy and CCR Vice-President Peter McKellar

The opening event was the first to collect funds for the CCR's chosen charity for 2011-2012, FIAG Onlus "Federazione Italiana Amici della Guinea" working in West Africa to improve the health and education of children and their families.

CCR 2011-2012 Season Opening, September 2012

Our ever-popular historic walking tours with Olivia Ercoli continued throughout the year...

CCR Walks with Olivia - at the Sancta Sanctorum, March 2012 (photo thanks to Ed Shen) addition to a number of exceptional visits for CCR members, including sites that require special permits. Thanks our Ambassador to the Holy See, Anne Leahy, we were able roam through the Via Triumphalis archeological site within the Vatican City.

CCR Via Triumphalis tour participants, January 2012, in front of the plaque recognizing the contribution of Canadian donors in the recovery and restoration of this well-preserved ancient Roman burial ground now within the territory of the Vatican City

Another unique visit took us back to Vatican City on a special bus tour of its gardens and precious historic monuments.

Admiring the lush greenery of the gardens within the Vatican City, November 2012

And who said the Vatican was staid and stuffy? We certainly added our dose of fun.

CCR Members Leslie Scott & Cindi Emond bring a smile to the Swiss Guards

We expanded our knowledge of Italian art history during an appointment-only visit to the Giorgio De Chirico House Museum, whch holds both a very personal collection of his later paintings and exquisite objets d'art, along with the artist's own studio space.

One of the spectacular views from Giorgio De Chirico's last home in Rome

We continued to expand our culinary horizons in the most practical and enjoyable way during the "Now You're Cooking" series, which included South Indian, pressure cooker recipes and Ukrainian food. These hands-on classes are conducted by a different CCR member each time and they obviously conclude with a scrumptious meal. If you'd like to lead one of these classes yourself, please come forward and we'll welcome you with open arms and empty stomachs!

The Now You're Cooking South Indian class, led by Neeya Jacob in November 2011, shows off its delicious handiwork

Our holiday lunches and dinners allowed us to keep up the customs of home. In October, our Canadian Thanksgiving lunch welcomed many non-Canadians to this time-honoured traditional event.

CCR VP Peter McKellar carves the turkey, Canadian Thanksgiving, October 2011

Our Holiday Follies party included a delicious meal, live entertainment and dancing in the grand chancery of the Canadian Embassy.

Holiday Follies party, December 2011

Leading up to the holiday season we also went on a special shopping tour of the Trionfale flower market and nearby shops selling Christmas decorations.

Holiday shopping, December 2011

CCR's beloved sommelier, Daniele Maestri, continued teaching us to taste the exquisite range of wines he gathers from the best Italian vintners. Also as per CCR tradition, our cheerful flights through seven or eight wines per class are followed by a lovely meal contributed by volunteers.

CCR Wine-tasting Coordinators Linda Champoux and Paul Ares along with master sommelier Daniele Maestri, March 2012

Adding to the quirky Canadian list, the 2011-2012 season included a dancing tram party...

Retro Funky Tram, April 2012

...and another visit to the ice bar.

Ice bar photo thanks to Inta!

Our evergreen book club continued its customary novel-of-the-month discussions followed by sumptuous potluck dinners in the homes of CCR members. Cynthia (Cindi) Emond, who founded the book club in 2005 and has coordinated it since then, will be returning to Canada with her family in autumn 2012. Our truly heartfelt thank-you to Cindi for having contributed so much to the CWAR and CCR over the years.

CCR book club discussing "The Other Side Of The Bridge" by Canadian author Mary Lawson, December 2011 (photo thanks to Cindi)

The closing of our Canadian Club of Rome 2011-2012 season brought us back to the beautiful official residence of Ambassador Anne Leahy.

"Welcome Summer" season closing cocktail party, 30 May, 2012

We would like to extend a special thank-you to Ambassador Leahy, who has come to the end of her stay as Canada's envoy to the Holy See. She has been not only a great patron but also a true friend and enthusiastic participant for the CCR over the years.

Cindi Emond presenting Amb. Anne Leahy with a goodbye thank-you gift on the part of the CCR, 30 May 2012

Go to our Photo Gallery to peruse all the photos from our past events!

The new season also promises to be just as packed with great opportunities. Never forget that the Canadian Club of Rome is an exclusively volunteer organization and depends on your direct participation at all times. Please come forward with your ideas and organizational skills. You could start by taking on the responsibility of a single event or simply lending a hand at one of our tours or special events. This club is made by us all!

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