National Pizza Month starts tomorrow, offering consumers the chance to celebrate the role of pizza in society and help sick children at the same time

    TORONTO, Sept. 30 /CNW/ - Canadians are invited to celebrate and learn
more about the world of pizza throughout the month of October, which has been
designated National Pizza Month. Throughout October, Pizza Pizza will be
offering pizza-related trivia on their website and prizing, and calling on
Canadians to help them raise money in support of Children's Miracle Network
hospitals, through a one-day fundraiser called Cheese for Charity on
October 21st.
    National Pizza Month was first designated by the U.S. Congress in 1987
and has been celebrated in Canada since 2005. Pizza first started becoming
popular in North America after World War II, when soldiers returned home from
Italy craving the pie they had come to love overseas. Today, pizza is
deep-rooted in our culture and has even inspired numerous world competitions
that include pizza baking and mesmerizing pizza acrobatics.
    "Pizza has come a long way from since 1830 when it was baked in an oven
lined with volcanic lava rock by the first pizzeria in Port'Alba Naples," said
Ben Campoli, resident pizza historian at Pizza Pizza. "Regardless of pizza's
origins, it has become an important part of our culture, sprouting numerous
creative toppings and can be enjoyed by just about anyone."
    Canada has established a name for itself in the international pizza
community thanks to innovative pioneers like Pizza Pizza and Pizza 73 who have
pushed the envelope on topping selections and menu choices to meet an
increasingly diverse customer base. Although popular toppings like squid in
Japan may not be readily available in Canada, Pizza Pizza does offer a choice
of more than 30 different toppings ranging from classic pepperoni to grilled
zucchini; its new gluten-free dough has garnered worldwide attention.
    In Canada, Pizza Pizza has contributed to a number of historical firsts,
propelling it to the top of Canada's pizza industry in terms of 2007 system
sales. Accomplishments leading to the company's growth include introducing the
country's first one-number telephone ordering system and creation of one of
the most uniquely recognizable advertising jingles in the industry. Pizza
Pizza was also the first pizzeria in Canada to sell pizza by the slice and the
first to establish its own training centre, the Pizza Pizza University, which
trains more than 3,500 students every year.

    Celebrating Pizza Month with fundraiser

    On October 21st, participating Pizza Pizza restaurants will be hosting a
Cheese for Charity Day as part of its Slices for Smiles Foundation that will
provide customers the opportunity to purchase discounted cheese slices or
medium cheese or pepperoni pizzas. A portion of the proceeds will be donated
to Children's Miracle Network.
    In October 2007, Pizza Pizza raised more than $75,000 for Big Brothers
and Big Sisters through its Slices for Smiles fundraising efforts and hopes to
meet or exceed this goal for this October's campaign. To achieve this, Pizza
Pizza - in addition to hosting its Cheese for Charity Day on October 21st -
will be deploying in-store donation boxes at all traditional restaurant
locations, providing a corporate donation of $12,000 and contributing through
cause promotion.
    "Our Slices for Smiles program is designed to enhance children's quality
of life by supporting education, health, and other social programs," said Pat
Finelli, chief marketing officer for Pizza Pizza. "Our Cheese for Charity Day
is a great time to celebrate pizza with family and friends and support a great
    "We are happy to be working with the Slices for Smiles Foundation again
and are extremely grateful for this partnership with Pizza Pizza," said John
Hartman, chief international officer of Children's Miracle Network. "All funds
raised will go directly to our affiliated hospitals to assist children of all
ages and ailments."
    Children's Miracle Network member hospitals across Canada, the United
States, the United Kingdom and Ireland treat over 17 million children
annually, providing state-of-the-art care, specialized equipment, preventative
education and pediatric research.

    Milestones in pizza history:

    997 -  The first recorded use of the word pizza.

    1889 - The first pizza is delivered by Raffaele Esposito from Naples to
           visiting Queen Margherita Tera Giovanni. Raffaele created a
           custom-made pizza decorated like the Italian flag for the visiting
           Queen and delivered it to her because she did not want to travel
           to the pizzeria to eat it.

    1905 - The first pizzeria opens in North America in New York City.

    1975 - Pizza Pizza introduces one of the most recognizable jingles in the

    2007 - Pizza Pizza becomes Canada's number one pizza chain in terms of

    About Children's Miracle Network

    Children's Miracle Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to
saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children's
hospitals across North America. Each year, the 170 Children's Miracle Network
hospitals - 14 of which are in Canada - provide the finest medical care,
life-saving research and preventive education to help millions of kids
overcome diseases and injuries of every kind. To learn more go to

    About Pizza Pizza

    Founded in 1967, Pizza Pizza is an industry pioneer and Canada's number
one pizza chain. With the 2007 acquisition of Pizza 73, a leader in western
Canada, Pizza Pizza operates more than 600 traditional and non-traditional
restaurants coast to coast. Pizza Pizza has introduced numerous innovations
such as whole-wheat, multi-grain dough, a gluten-free crust and the
elimination of industrially-added trans fats from all menu items. Through the
years, the company has been a loyal supporter of community groups, helping to
organize fundraisers, sponsoring events and supporting local projects at the
corporate and franchise level.

For further information:

For further information: Kristen Luszka, Torchia Communications, Tel.:
(416) 341-9929 Ext 228,; Jason Chapman, Torchia
Communications, Tel.: (416) 341-9929 Ext 224,

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