Edward Pasquale opened his shop 100 years ago — today, it's still a family affair

It's pretty rare to find a local business that's been around for one hundred years — but that's just one of the things that makes the Pasquale Brothers business unique.

Edward Pasquale and his brother Panfilo opened Pasquale Brothers near St. Lawrence Market in 1917

Christina Kalcevich, Edward Pasquale's great granddaughter, now runs the family business along with her husband Tony. (CBC)

It's pretty rare to find a local business that's been around for 100 years — but that's just one of the things that makes the Pasquale Brothers business unique.

Pasquale in 1917. (Christina Kalcevich)

Edward Pasquale came to Canada in 1911 at the age of 14.

"He was very dynamic, a perennial student," Christina Kalcevich said about her great-grandfather Edward. "Always studying different things and wanting to learn."

Pasquale would quickly recognize that the city's Italian immigrants craved a taste of home.

He and his brother Panfilo opened Pasquale Brothers on King Street near the St. Lawrence Market in 1917. Since then, the store has grown beyond selling olives and pasta, offering food from all over the world.

Thirteen years ago, the store moved to Etobicoke.

'The glass ceiling ... didn't exist in our house'

Edward's wife, Donna, took care of the store's accounting. It was a major role in the business that would pave the way for the couple's daughter, granddaughter and now great-granddaughter to take over.

Edward and Donna's granddaughter Anna Marie Kalcevich ran the store for 45 years.

"My grandparents were really kind of special people, very forward-thinking," Anna Marie said. "And the same with my father. We didn't understand that expression 'the glass ceiling' because it didn't exist in our house."

Edward and Donna Pasquale in February 1945. (Christina Kalcevich)

Kalcevich still works at the store two days a week. The new boss is Anna Marie's daughter, Christina.

"There's such a sense of history, I mean, there's such a blending of work and family," Christina said. "Someone will walk into the store that I've never met before and they'll say right away, 'You must be Anna Marie's daughter.' And there's a sense of I'm right where I'm supposed to be."

The next generation

Christina's twin girls, Octavia and Beatrice, spend their weekends and spare time at the store. They're following in the footsteps of all the Pasquale children.

Seven-year-old twins Octavia and Beatrice are following in the footsteps of all the Pasquale children. (CBC)

"I want them to grow up like we did," Christina said. "I want them to see that you work for a living and [if] you want nice things, you've got to work. And so we put them to work when they're here."

The girls' favourite products to pitch include ricotta and basil ravioli, amaretti cookies and black truffle potato chips.

So far, it seems like the seven-year-old twins make a formidable sales team. 

About the Author

Marivel Taruc

Host of Our Toronto

Marivel Taruc is an award-winning journalist and weekend anchor of CBC Saturday, and CBC Toronto News at 11 on Sundays. She is also the host of Our Toronto. Marivel graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. She is happiest when she's gathered around the dinner table with her husband and two daughters - and a plateful of Filipino food.