Sunday, October 19, 2014

Andy Donato honoured by dad's Italian hometown

TORONTO - So far-reaching is the popularity of renowned Toronto Sun cartoonist Andy Donato, that he has been made an honorary citizen of his father’s hometown in southern Italy.

Donato, who was inducted into the Toronto-based Italian Walk of Fame earlier this year, is now an honorary citizen of Fardella, a town of around 400 people located in Italy’s southern Basilicata region. It’s a town Donato and his family have visited several times before. His late father, Luciano, was born and raised there before moving to Canada in 1922.

“I was doing one of my vacation painting trips, and my son and daughter went with me ... and my son, he wanted to go and see his grandfather’s hometown,” said Donato, who has done cartoons of Fardella which the town continues to display. “I think it was one of the things that (the town) looked at, that I’d become reasonably well known in Toronto and in Canada in some ways ... and they kind of wanted to honour me in that regard.”

The town will also be holding cartooning contests. Donato may end up being a judge, and first prize will be a scholarship towards a post-secondary art program.

For Donato, the honour is a sentimental one.

He explained that his father originally wanted him to become a doctor, a lawyer or take over the family’s Scarborough grocery store. However, he was supportive — albeit a tough critic — when Donato decided to follow his love of cartooning.

“He said to me, ‘Do you like what you’re doing?’ and I said, ‘I love it.’ He said, ‘Good, I’ll sell the store.’”
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