College Street


147 pages
ISBN 1-55071-217-9
DDC C813'.6





Julie Rekai Rickerd is a Toronto-based broadcaster and public-relations


College Street depicts the very awkward and often embarrassing process
of growing up as second-generation members of ethnic, immigrant families
in Canada’s largest city. The author’s coming of age takes place in
one of Toronto’s downtown Italian neighbourhoods, on College Street,
west of Spadina Avenue. His caricatures of the neighbourhood
shopkeepers, café owners, priests, and the like will conjure up many a
smile on the lips of readers of all ethnic backgrounds who have at one
time or another been mortified by the traditional ways and mores of
their Old World relatives.

Although the nearby Portuguese and Chinese enclaves are mentioned, the
focus is on the author’s Italian-Canadian community. There are
hilarious descriptions of weddings and funerals at which food plays the
central role. The family cast includes an overbearing but loving mother,
a gluttonous father, a vaguely defined brother, and girlfriends of
Italian and non-Italian origins.

Chiocca is clearly nostalgic for the good old days when he was wrapped
in the bosom of his family and their extended friends and acquaintances.
Hyphenated Canadians of any age will identify strongly with the
anecdotes in this book, as will those who have entered their lives and
been exposed to an alien but vastly intriguing lifestyle. College Street
is an entertaining cultural experience for all.


Chiocca, Olindo Romeo., “College Street,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,