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     Edmonton:  Italian Pioneers

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Introduction

Early Years

 World War I and
Interwar Period

World War II
and After

  Cultural Life

Pioneers

 Population Statistics

 
Year of the Coal Miner September 2003 - 2004

by Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D.

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  • Antonio (Tony) Nimis-Tony Nimis.  Photo courtesy of Rudy Cavaliere.Tony emigrated to France after WW I and then came to Edmonton in 1926. He worked at the mine in Mountain Park by Edson for a few years, and then moved back to Edmonton where he worked in a marble and tile shop for nine years. He also worked in terrazzo, cement and was a sculptor. He tells a funny story about his first job in a mine 200 miles west of Edmonton called Mountain Park. His foreman told him that he had to go to the graveyard that night. So Tony went to the cemetery to wait in -45 degree weather. A pump man from the mine came out and said "What are you doing out here". Tony had actually been moved to the graveyard shift, but he took it literally and went and stood in the graveyard!


  • Giovanni Paron-Giovanni Paron was born on the 23rd of June, 1892 in Val da Sone, a town in Pordenone province of the Friuli region of Italy.  He came to Canada when he was 14 years old to join his brothers who worked the coal mines in Michel, B.C., in the Crowsnest Pass area of the Rockies, just west of the Alberta/B.C. border.  One of his brothers came over in 1903 and was a first-hand witness of the famous Frank slide. Giovanni moved to Cutknife, Saskatchewan.  From there he sent to his home town in Italy for a 'mail order bride' - based on a picture his sister had sent.  They got married in 1921 in Blairmore, Alberta since Cutknife had no church, and spent 40 years together before his wife,  Innes, died.  They had one son, who Giovanni personally delivered, and one daughter.  The first 25 years of their marriage were spent homesteading near Cutknife, where other Italian families settled and where Giovanni helped build an Italian church. He moved to Edmonton and set up an Industrial Machine Shop, and became friends with Mr. Butti.
      
  • Joe Paulo-Joe worked for the CNR but also had a grocery store.
      
  • Giuseppe Peccori-He was a foundling born in Treviso. He came to Edmonton in 1903 and worked in the Edmonton coal mines with Joe Marta and Giovanni Rosso. He also worked at Mountain park and in Edmonton worked for a brewery.
      
  • Luigi Perlorca-He was a grocer who operated a grocery store on 97 Street and 103 Avenue.
      
  • Cosimo Piccarello-No information available.
    Peter Caffaro pictured in 1988 with Emma and Professor Joe Pivato on his appointment as a Queen's Counsel.  Photo courtesy of Il Congresso newspaper
  • Joe Pivato-Joe came to Edmonton from Ontario with his wife Emma and children. He works for Athabasca University, and has published in the area of Canadian literature. He focused on the writing of immigrants and in 1986 was President of the Associazione Scrittori, Scrittrici Italo-Canadesi [Association of Italian Canadian Writers).
      
  • Francesco Pitingolo-He was a miner who also ran a billiards hall.
      
  • Protti-Mr. Protti came to Alberta to work as a timber cutter and returned to Italy. His son, Luigi Protti, remained in Edmonton.  [See oral history of Louis Protti].
      
  • Carmen Rago-He came from Avellino Zungoli in Campania in 1952, and operates a millwork.
      
  • Francesco Romeo-He was from Calabria, and had a confectionery and fruit store on 97th Street and 103 Avenue. He also made ice cream.
      
  • Sabatino and Elena Roncucci celebrate the granting of a community leadership award.  Photo courtesy of the Roncucci familySabatino and Elena Roncucci-Sabatino was born in 1922 in Aschino, Siena, Italy. They came from Milan in 1958 with their daughter. He became a tailor and fashion designer; worked for the Hudson's Bay Company and set up his own tailoring business. Sabitino also set up the Societa Dante Alighieri, which runs the Scuola di Lingua e Cultura Italiana (the Italian Language and Culture School). He also went on to become a leader in the heritage languages and multicultural movements. He has received many awards including honours from the Italian government and civic, provincial and federal Canadian governments.
       
  • Tony Ross [real name Giannone]-Tony sold fruit door-to-door from an old truck that had the original owner's name, Ross Plumbing, on it. He covered the word plumbing and eventually changed his name officially to Ross.
      
  • Rossi [first name unknown]-This individual worked in the Post Office around 1933.  [This may be Julio Rossi, whose brother Jean settled in the Venice-Hylo area of Alberta.]

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Copyright © 2002 Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D. and The Heritage Community Foundation

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