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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Italian Immigration

Frank Spinelli

Frank Spinelli came to Canada from San Pietro, a little town in Naples, in 1951. He began working in mines in the Northwest Territories; however, a back injury forced him to spend over a year in the hospital in Edmonton. He soon began a small grocery store, selling Italian produce. This store developed into the Italian Centre Shop which specializes in imported foods, especially from Europe. Spinelli was also active in the Edmonton Italian community and, among other things, helped to bring Italian entertainers to Edmonton. Both Edmonton’s first driving school and first multicultural radio program were started by Spinelli. The Italian Centre Shop is still thriving, even after his death. The new president of the company is Teressa Spinelli, Frank Spinelli’s daughter.

Michele Ciccaglione

Michele (Mike) Ciccaglione was born in Sessano, Italy. After studying restaurant and business administration in Switzerland, he moved to Calgary in 1962. He opened his first restaurant in 1967 and soon became president, CEO, and owner of El Molino Foods of Canada, Ltd., a food manufacturing company specializing in Latino foods. Ciccaglione has opened numerous restaurants in Calgary specializing in a wide variety of ethnic foods, including Italian and Mexican restaurants and an English pub. Ciccaglione is also the co-owner of the Pied Pickle chain of family restaurants located in downtown Calgary. Ciccaglione is an avid supporter of soccer and cheers for the Italian national team. The Calgary Immigrant Aid Society gave Ciccaglione the Immigrant of Distinction Award. He also volunteers with the Calgary Food Bank and the Multicultural Council of Canada.

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