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     Mr. and Mrs. John Segatti:  Oral History Transcript Summary

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Louis (Luigi)
Biamonte

Mike Biollo

Father Giovanni
Bonelli

Camillo Bridarolli

Mr. & Mrs. Henry
Butti

John Camarta

Domenico Chiarello

Joe Fabbri

Mario Grassi

Victor Losa

Filomena Michetti

Mrs. Mamie Meardi

Tony Nimis

Giorgio W. &
Norma Pocaterra

Mr. & Mrs. John
Segatti

Romano Tedesco &
Mrs. Irma Giacobbo

Angelo Toppano


A summary of the oral history transcript of Mr. and Mrs. John Segatti who are very well known in the Edmonton Italian community. They both comment on how they came to live in Canada and the Italian communities they were a part of growing up.

Mrs. Segatti [nee Pavan}:

  • Mrs. Segatti's mother and father emigrated from Italy just before the first great war. They came to Lethbridge, in 1912, where she was born. Her father worked in the coal mines in the Lethbridge area.
     

  • She went to St. Basil's school in Lethbridge until they shut the mines down, and then moved to Coalhurst. She says there were many Italians in southern Alberta in those days.
     

  • Other large European groups in the area included the Ukrainians and the Polish. She says that discrimination between Catholic and Protestant people in those days was worse than today.
     

  • Her father lost his life in 1930 due to complications after getting a broken leg as a result of a Coalhurst mine a cave-in. He survived the cave-in but died after several months in the hospital.
     

  • Her uncle was one of the very few miners who survived the methane gas explosion that shut down the Coalhurst mine in 1935.
     

  • The Italian community was quite active holding dances and picnics. Sometimes benefit dances were held for the widows and families of miners who lost their life on the job.
     

  • Italians didn't get involved in politics and church was mostly for the younger people. She says that there was no cultural movements in those days.
     

  • She says her childhood was a happy one and that she thinks that Canada is the best country to live in.
     

  • She moved to Edmonton with her mother in 1932 after her father died. It was there that she met her husband John.
     

  • She says that she has tried to keep the Italian community alive and well in Edmonton.
     

Mr. Segatti:

  • John left Italy on the tenth of December, 1926. He arrived in Edmonton on the 15th of February. It took so long because he stopped many places on the way. He was 17 years old at the time. His father already lived in Edmonton.
     

  • John found a job in a sawmill near Lac La Biche, but it only lasted a couple of weeks because the mill shut down. He then returned to Edmonton and found work at the MacDonald Hotel. After a couple of years he became a waiter there and went to night school to learn the language better. He worked there for 15 years.
     

  • Life in Edmonton as an Italian was pretty good during the 1930's. John felt that he was not discriminated against. Although there was a depression going on, he was doing alright.
     

  • John says that by the time the second world war started he went into business for himself doing construction work. At the time of this interview (1973/74) the business was still operating.
     

  • He helped build a church and hall for the Italian community in Edmonton.

 

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