Caboto Club event cancelled after Dino Chiodo refuses to attend

The Italian of the Year gala was cancelled Saturday, after award recipient Dino Chiodo refused to attend the ceremony at the Caboto Club.

'I believe there has been a lot of hurt in our community regarding this topic,' says union leader

Dino Chiodo, former president of Unifor Local 444, says the Caboto Club's men-only membership policy has caused a lot of hurt in the community. (CBC file photo.) (CBC)

The Italian of the Year gala was cancelled Saturday, after award recipient Dino Chiodo refused to attend the ceremony at the Caboto Club.

Chiodo, Unifor Local 444 national auto director and a high-profile member of the area's Italian community, confirmed in a statement to CBC News that he could not attend the event Saturday. 

"Currently we are on different sides of this issue, as difficult as it is," said Chiodo. "I will continue to strive from my personal beliefs for equality for women."

"I believe there has been a lot of hurt in our community regarding this topic, and I know we can come together as the great community we have come to love, continuing to make it better," he added.

The club's nearly century-old policy of not allowing women to be members has been at the centre of controversy since Premier Kathleen Wynne cancelled a town hall event there in February.

Community torn on policy

Debate around the policy at the popular event location has drawn mixed reaction from community members and institutions. The City of Windsor announced it will no longer be hosting events there, but the WESPY awards will be held at the club on March 20.

Ron Moro, general manager, of the club, said the 300-odd members refuse to "kowtow" to public pressure and would only make a change when they're ready.

Boycotting the Caboto Club? GM says that will only hurt the community 0:57

On Tuesday, the Greater Essex County District School Board will discuss whether or not to continue holding events at the club, according to trustee Jessica Sartori, who brought a motion forward calling for the board to stop using the venue until its policy changes.

Online events postings also indicate several women-based gatherings, including the Windsor-Essex Women's Expo, are still scheduled to take place at Caboto this year.