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    Home > People > Oral History Projects > Italians Settle in Edmonton Project >
    Mr.and Mrs. Enrico Butti > Oral History Transcript Summary

    Mr. and Mrs. Enrico Butti:  Oral History Transcript Summary

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Raffaele Albi

Mr. and Mrs.
Enrico Butti

Mr. & Mrs.
Domenico Chiarello
(Nella Anselmo)

Gus & Assunta Dotto
(Emilia Raffin)

 Attilio & Stella Gatto

Gus Lavorato

Giovanni Paron

Louie Protti

Mr. & Mrs. Sartor

Sam Scrivano

Silvio Tona

Paolo Veltri

Page 1 |  2  |  3


The discussion centred around Mr. Butti's emigration experience, working life, family and community activities.

  • Talks about his Father's work as a steam engineer in the region in silk weaving in Lombardy; his Father was in charge of the steam engines that operated the mills; their journey in wartime and memories of blackout on the ship.
     
  • On arrival in Canada went to work in the Crowsnest Pass area where he worked at converting the mines from steam to electricity. His last job in Italy was in Isbra on Lago Maggiore where he had converted a silk mills from steam to electricity.
     
  • Sister developed cancer about a year after their arrival; living in Canmore; doctor thought it was indigestion; taken to Calgary in January, 1918 to Holy Cross Hospital and diagnosed a tumour; did surgery but there was no hope; initially felt better but died in August
     
  • Talks about his schooling in Canada and how he did grades 1 to 4 (which he had already done in Italy) and by that time was old enough to start work in the mines.
     
  • Father wanted to leave the mines and they went to Trail but Trail was even worse, so he then moved to Drumheller where some Italians had a lease on a small mine.
     
  • Talks of Mother's life-was born in Trieste and her Father had a store that sold silks; her Father died so her Mother moved to Rome; his ancestors fought in the Italian War of Independence and had a connection with Garibaldi and ended up working in the government service. His Father started work in the Post Office but was mechanically minded and studied to be a steam engineer. 
  • Describes life in Canmore on their arrival-there were about seven families all from Piedmont; also talks about emigration from the different regions including Abbruzzi and Friuli.
     
  • Talks about beginning of his own working history at age 16 running a boiler and hoist in the mines in Nordegg; his Father was injured when he fell from a scaffold and with monies received from the Compensation Board decided to come to Edmonton and set up an electrical shop.
     
  • Talks about meeting his wife, who was also Italian, and who lived in Nordegg; married in Edmonton in 1929; had three children (Peter, Rosemary and Josephine) all of whom were taught Italian; talks of starting an Italian society.
     
  • Talks of his working life: worked for himself from 1925-35; then, as a result of Great Depression, there was little electrical work, so from 1935-42 he worked at fixing refrigerators for Palm Dairies and butcher shops all over Alberta;
     then, from 1942-45 he worked for Progress Electric and Refrigeration and then again on his own until his retirement after a coronary in 1963.
     
  • Talks of recreational activities and mentions the arrival in 1932 at the Municipal Airport of Post and Getty who were doing an around the world tour in eight days; it was raining cats and dogs and the airport was a mudhole; plane came down in the muskeg; also describes the royal visit of 1939 and the re-naming of Portage Avenue as Kingsway.


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