Bill Nigro discusses his father moving to
North America, and his family's life in and around the
Bill's father was born in 1882 in
Grimaldi, and came to North America before 1900. His
father was 10 years old when he came with a man named
John Welsh. They went to Port Arthur.
His father got the farm in Clive in
1914. In 1925 the family moved to Edmonton. Bill was 11
years old at this time. He attended school at McKay
Edmonton had about 80 000 people then,
and the west end was 24th street.
When Bill was a kid some of the main
roads were Jasper and Whyte, and some of the main
buildings were the Tegler, MacDonald Hotel, and the
Most immigrants in Edmonton at the time
were a mixture of many races. Bill says that there might
have been only 50 Italians or families in the 30's. He
remembers the Biamonte family being in the city.
After completing grade 8 at McKay
Avenue, he moved to St. Mary's for grade 9. He did his
high school at St. Joe's, and attended the University of
Alberta for one year. He remembers a teacher at McKay
named Mr. Scott, who Bill claims was a "tough
bugger". Father Daly was the principal at St. Joe's
when he was there. He was thrown out of the U of A after
one year, and then moved east in 1936 to attend school
where he was known as the "outlaw from the
west". He didn't return to Edmonton until 1955.
The family farm at Clive was a half a
mile from the school. Some of the farm families he
remembers are the Parents, Patries, and the Williams.
His dad had to clear the land, and also helped build a
road at Nisku around 1925. He remembers life on the farm
as the happiest time of his life. They had nothing but
Bill remembers having great neighbors and being thankful
for what they did have.
Bill remembers eating pasta, pork, and
boiled vegetables all the time while growing up. His
family bought homemade wine off of Angelo Santa Rosa.
Bill says even the police bought wine off of Angelo.
Bill's father never went back to Italy, but his mother
Before Bill's father was married he
worked with the Welsh family clearing land as a blasting
expert. Bill remembers working on the Trans Canada with
his father in 1937. His father could walk ten miles of
road, and then turn around and tell you how much dirt
had to be moved, how much rock had to be moved, and
estimate the cost of building the road there.
Family Timeline: Follow the Nigro family as they emigrate, work, marry
and contribute to the development of western
Chronology: An important chapter in immigration
history is presented through the eyes of Nigro/Veltri/Anselmo
The Diary of
Giovanni Veltri: Join John Welch, his brother
Vincenzo [Vincent] and Antonio [Bill] Nigro as they
leave Grimaldi in 1885 and contribute to Canadian
railroad, road and construction
Watch Bill Nigro's Oral History Interview! | Read