In the heart of the Italian community in St. Leonard, the Leonardo Da Vinci (LDV) Centre offers more to its members than most people may think. According to Director General Pat Buttino, and Director of Marketing and Sponsorships Frank Sorrentino, there is so much more to this monumental place than meets the eye.

“We’re a community centre but they can’t mix us up with a typical one because we’re so much more,” Sorrentino says. The list of programs offered at the LDV Centre is a lengthy one, to say the least. From language courses and rock band competitions, and culinary classes to comedy shows and art exhibits, the LDV Centre has something for everyone – both old and young.

The third Wednesday of every month, the LDV Centre exhibits artists from across the world, including Canada, the US, Italy, and Mexico. The cost of exhibiting in most art galleries can be quite high according to Sorrentino, but the LDV Centre wants to offer budding artists a fair chance. “We offer them exposure, we help them promote themselves and their work and we do it together.”

The love of the arts doesn’t end there, the LDV Centre is known for hosting concerts, comedy shows, and other events in the Saputo Theatre – including the Women’s Forum, hosted this September by Canadian figure skating champion, Meagan Duhamel.

Buttino explains there are activities for the whole family, as well. “We offer culinary courses, open to children and adults.” There are also language courses available in English, French, Italian, and Spanish for children as well as adults.

The LDV Centre also offers health programs like swimming, nutrition courses, and a readapted gym for anyone recovering from or living with a disability. “The readapted studio, is a room where people who have been hurt, can come for rehabilitation,” explains Buttino. “We have specialized equipment for a readapted room which is located in the gym facility, where people can work with a trainer to get back into their top form. We have specialists on hand for that.” The gym is accessible for individuals in wheelchairs, as well. The highly specialized machinery they have isn’t available anywhere else in the area, making the LDV Centre stand out when it comes to helping members of the community get back on their feet.

What Sorrentino and Buttino are most proud of when it comes to their successful program offerings is how they involved the community in their development process. “Some of the best programs that we’ve developed here, are suggestions that have come in from the communities around us,” Sorrentino says. “Not just the Italian community. We invite all people to tell us what they’d like.” Welcoming different people is what this place is all about. “We see ourselves reaching out to other communities. We’re open to everybody.” Buttino says.

You can visit the LDV Centre for lunch at their downstairs bistro, sign up for seniors programs, cooking classes, language classes, watch a show, or develop your love for the arts. There is no shortage of activities to keep the whole family, from babies to grandparents, entertained, active and enjoying a healthy lifestyle. For more information, visit