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Venice Hylo Italian Community

The first group of Italian settlers left Edmonton on July 27, 1914 headed for what would become the Venice and Hylo Settlement. The founding six members were Felice De Angelis, Guiseppe Billos [O.J. Biollo], Beniamino Maragno, Pio Bonifacio, Antonio Piemonte and his son Teofilo. Mr. De Angelis was a civil engineer and was the Italian consul in Edmonton at that time. He had the idea of creating an agricultural colony and got the maps, survey blueprints and other documents needed to establish homesteads. The first exploration of the site was done from July 27 to August 3rd.

While Mr. De Angelis was the leader of the expedition, the individual with the most experience, not only of agriculture but also settlement in Canada, was O.J. Biollo. He was born in Campalongo Maggiore, Province of Venice in Italy. He came to Canada in 1902 to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and worked in Winnipeg. He became a successful businessman but because of his health, it was suggested that he move to Edmonton.

With the assistance of the Italian Society of Edmonton (formerly the Venice Club), the settlers were given some tools, a tent for camping and food enough for three weeks. After looking over the area they intended to settle, they decided that it was good for farming. Later, they walked through bush and muskeg to the Lac La Biche Mission where they were to file and register the homesteads.

On August 28, 1914, the second group of 22 left Edmonton by train to go as far as Colinton. Some of the members of this group were Giuseppe Michetti, Augusto Marini, Paolo Morelli, Domenico Morelli, Antonio Lavagnini, Antonio Riva his brother Pietro, Atillio Perini and Giuseppe Baldoni who became the rebel leader. The group left Colinton with horses and wagons on August 29, 1914 and followed the same trail that the first group had made. It took them about four days of terrible travel through mud, rain and waterlogged muskegs, finally arriving at the promised land. They set up their tents as temporary shelter to protect them until they were able to locate homesteads and build shacks before the winter set in.

Venice School

Venice School

Settlers

Settlers