TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Oct. 1, 2007) – Pizzerias across Canada, October 1, 2007 – When you flip your calendar to October, it conjures up thoughts of harvesting, Thanksgiving, fall foliage, gathering leaves and frost on the pumpkin.

So, why is there a National Pizza Month? Put it this way, if Dean Martin can croon it’s amore when the moon hits your eyes like a pizza pie, there must be a certain mystique about pizza. Maybe that’s why North Americans eat about 100 acres of pizza per day, according to industry statistics.

There are plenty of reasons to venerate the venerable pizza, not the least of which is the fact it’s been around in some shape or form for centuries, eventually making its way to North America in 1905, with the opening of a restaurant named Lombardi’s. In some literary circles, pizza has been referred to as “A Slice of Heaven”. The pizza parlour has been the setting for first dates, family gatherings, victory celebrations, lively conversation, and good, inexpensive eating.

Pizza may have had its origins on another continent, and the first true pizzeria may have been in Naples, but it has become a part of the North American culture. To the point that, 20 years ago, the U.S. Congress declared October as National Pizza Month, and the celebration has extended into Canada.

In fact, this October, Pizza Pizza, the industry leader in Canada for slices sold and delivery, is marking National Pizza Month in a very special way. The company, which plans to open its two first restaurants in Montreal before Christmas, is launching a fund-raising program, Slices for Smiles, in which contributions by Pizza Pizza and public donations will be used to help various children’s causes. The program begins this October with an initial fund-raising goal of $25,000 that will be directed to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and their more than 150 agencies across Canada.

This demonstrates the power of pizza, not only as a force in bringing people together for an experience in eating, but in rallying people behind a cause of common good. That more than justifies pizza’s national-month status.

And, oh yes, one more paean to the versatile pizza: etiquette experts claim its OK to eat pizza with your hands. So, raise your hands in a toast to National Pizza Month!

Fun Pizza Trivia

Pizza is not only one of the favourite foods of millions of North Americans, it is a delicious slice of our pop culture, spawning a host of trivia questions, such as:

– What TV sitcom featured a pizza parlour named Paisanos? (A. Seinfeld)

– What winter event leads to the biggest week of pizza consumption of the year in the United States? (A. The Super Bowl)

– What cartoon character mistakenly believes the Italian landmark is called the Leaning Tower of Pizza? (A. Homer Simpson)

– What movie superhero moonlighted as a pizza delivery person? (A. Spiderman)

– What pizza-related tune climbed to No. 2 on the U.S. music charts in 1953? (A. That’s Amore)

– True or false? Etiquette experts claim it’s OK to eat pizza with your hands? (A. True)

– What pizza topping is preferred by 6 of every 10 consumers? (A. Pepperoni)

Pizza History:

– Pizza, in its rudimentary form, has been around – although maybe not “round” – since pre-historic times, when bread was cooked on hot, flat stones. So, you might say, pizza actually dates back to the “Stone” Age.

– Pizza truly began to evolve in the 1800s, once Europeans realized the tomato wasn’t poisonous and was actually a tasty addition to their bread rounds. The pizza really arrived in 1830, when the first genuine pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba opened in Naples, Italy.

– Pizza gradually made its way to North America, and in 1905, Gennaro Lombardi, who had been selling pizza in his grocery store, opened the first licensed North American pizzeria, in New York City.

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