Get to Know the People on Preston

Joe Cotroneo

“I was born and raised down here; 271 Preston, where the Adult High School soccer field is right now. I lived down here until they expropriated in the ‘60s. After that I got into the electrical business. I was a contractor for 20 years. Then I just got tired of it. I’m of Italian background, my wife’s of Irish Background. I had this idea of an Italian pub. I went with it. Pub Italia had a nice ring to it. I trademarked the logo; the green, red and white shamrock. The shamrock’s now Italian in case you’re wondering.”

“I’m vice-chair of the BIA now because I’ve always been hands-on. The mural project under the Queensway, I worked on that for six years with the artist; got the permission from the province. That took two years. Long story short, they recognized us as a cultural district and gave us the permission, which was a bit of a coup.”

“What I’m striving for, especially with all this intensification, is to protect Little Italy. If our festivals disappear I think it’ll be the end of this area as a cultural district. So I’m involved in a lot of that stuff. Our Italian Week is big; it brings people from all over. We do a big Ferrari event. We have the bicycle race. It’s the longest, continuously running criterium [short course bicycle race] in Canada.”


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