Hoping for a better life outside of Italy, Alfredo Arnone immigrated to Canada in 1951 at age 20. He worked at various jobs in Toronto while simultaneously establishing and operating a small Italian importing company to supplement his income. He started modestly – the Arnone family garage served as the company warehouse with a family friend’s car serving as the delivery truck for many years.
In early 1966, his importing business had outgrown the family garage and Alfredo purchased a commercial building on Toryork Drive. It turned out that storing the inventory in the warehouse left significant room to spare. Spotting the opportunity in this unused space, it was decided to use this area to wholesale non-imported Italian food products.
The company began simply by purchasing Italian foods in bulk from manufacturers and distributing them throughout the growing city of Toronto. Deli meats, cheese, coffee, pasta, and antipasto were all sold and shipped out of the Toryork warehouse. The deli meats, in particular, were packaged and sold under the “Bona” private label. Bona Foods was born.
Encouraged by its success, the company began to experiment with producing, in-house, the same type of meats it was already distributing. With the proper salami specialists, Bona refined the process to produce Italian sausage products. Industrial-scale processing equipment was imported from Europe. Brick ovens, were constructed for producing cooked products like mortadella, capocolli, and pepperoni. Large drying rooms were built to hang and dry cure various meats. Bona achieved a federal operating licence and began selling across Canada.
In 1970, the Toryork plant was expanded to about double its original size and underwent major construction to increase production capacity.
Now in 2011, over 40 years later, Bona Foods is again undergoing large-scale plant renovations to improve the facility and product flows, and to increase efficiency.
The unique flavour and quality of Bona Foods’ products has endured throughout the years.
The business has remained family owned and operated since 1966. Bona Foods is proud to employ second and third generation members of the Arnone family – all with the same commitment to quality and values as Alfredo.
At the 2011 Ontario Finest Meat Competition Bona Foods took home four awards. The Paisanella Hot Salami and the Capocollo (hot) each won Platinum. The Prosciutto and Casalingo Sausages were each awarded Silver. Rino Arnone accepted on behalf of the company knowing how proud his late father, Alfredo, would have been to see the success of his life labours.