In Memory of



Obituary for Giovanna Costanzo

It is with profound sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of our loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister and aunt, Giovanna Costanzo, Friday, November 25, surrounded by family at TBRHSC.

Giovanna was born on August 25,1923 in Borboruso, comune di Pedivigliano Cosenza, Italy to Felice and Luigina Palermo. The eldest of 6 siblings, Giovanna was relied upon to care for her younger brothers and sisters, while helping on the family farm.

In Italy, Giovanna married the love of her life and best friend, Costantino Costanzo, October 8, 1938. Nonno left for Canada in 1951 to find work and send money for Nanna and the girls to join him. Finally in 1957, Giovanna joined her husband Costantino with Concetta 17 and Mary 10. They journeyed to Canada across the Atlantic by boat like so many other Italians. They immigrated to Canada to provide a better life for their children. Giovanna and Costantino were married for over 79 years when he passed away in 2018. Nanna and Nonno were amazing role models for their entire family.

Giovanna worked at Hinsberger Tents and the Landmark Hotel kitchen with many Italian friends including her daughter, Concetta. She left her homeland but never forgot her Italian Heritage. Giovanna was an amazing homemaker, often making fresh bread, grispelle and taralli, homemade sausages and tomato sauce. She was a very accomplished seamstress and loved to knit - her specialty was making tapini for everyone. Nanna cultivated her enormous garden until 2019. There was always a box of Yukon gold potatoes, giant cucuzze, piselli and vaianelle for her family, friends and neighbours.

Her house was always spotless, she took great care in keeping it tidy in case anyone dropped by for a visit. Nanna enjoyed cooking for the family, making many meals with love and pride. Everyone was always welcome in her home.

Throughout her life, both here and in Calabria, Nanna made family her priority. No matter how many hardships she had to endure - there were many over the years. She kept coming back stronger and more determined than ever. Nanna continued to live her life without complaints or bitterness. Nanna lived a simple life and it didn’t take much to make her happy: a phone call, a visit, a hug and a kiss was all she wanted. Giovanna gave with all her heart and asked for nothing in return.

The best memories were when the entire family lived on Crown St. Concetta and family on the main floor, Mary and family upstairs, Zio Natale in the sgabuzzino, and Zio Pietro’s family in the basement for 13 years. She loved being a Nanna to her 5 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Nanna was proud of each and every one.

Nanna and Nonno could often be seen with their shopping cart on Red River Road, walking to shop at Zeller’s or getting groceries at Safeway. They enjoyed taking the bus downtown to doctor’s appointments, work or shopping. They never owned a car or drove one. Later in life, they relied on their daughter Mary to take them wherever they needed to go.

Left to mourn is daughter Mary, grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Luccio Rizzo (Silvanna, Lucas & Darcel, Adrian), Fiorella Nadin (Louis, Dustin, Leah & Domenico), Marina Rizzo, Nina Morrow (Michael, Jonathan & Sarah, Micaela), Danny Ariganello (Michael & Hailey). Giovanna is also survived by her brother Natale and sister Santina and many nieces, nephews and inlaws in Canada, Italy and the United States.

Giovanna was predeceased by husband Costantino, precious daughter Concetta, parents Luigina and Felice Palermo, brother’s Leonardo and Pietro, sister Rosa, and numerous other family members.

The family would like to thank Dr. Jim Scali for his wonderful care of Giovanna - she was one of his first patients; the professional and compassionate paramedics who brought Nanna to the hospital, and the excellent staff of the TBRHSC, especially Nathan, Lauren and the staff on 2B.

A funeral mass for Giovanna will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 1, 2022 at St. Anthony's R.C. Church, 123 Hilldale Road celebrated by Rev. Luigi Filippini. Visitation for family and friends will be held one hour prior to the service. Entombment will be in the family mausoleum, St. Andrew’s Cemetery immediately following the mass. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to St. Anthony's Church and the TBRHSC or a charity of your choice. Online condolences and live streaming of the service are available at

Nanna Giovanna was a genuine, unique, petite woman with a giant heart who left a lasting impression on all of us. We thank her for her humour, compassion, life lessons, love and generosity. She was our Nanna. May she rest in peace.