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    Mr. and Mrs. Domenico Chiarello > Oral History Transcript Summary

    Mr. and Mrs. Domenico Chiarello:  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

Year of the Coal Miner September 2003 - 2004


A summary of the oral history transcript of Mr. and Mrs. Domenico Chiarello (Nella Anselmo).

Domenico :

  • He landed in Halifax with his mother on the 17th of May, 1924. They took the train to Edmonton with his mother.
  • Worked in the mines around Edmonton in 1924-25. He landed in Halifax on the 17th of May, 1924.
  • He cleared land of bush to earn some money and was happy to get a bonus of a dollar!
  • He went prospecting for coal with his father in Legal. They found a good coal seam and opened a mine with his uncle and Tony Biamonte. They worked that mine for 25 years.
  • His mother would sell eggs all summer to help out with the money situation.
  • He moved back to Edmonton and bought the store called Venice Grocery. He operated that for 17 years before selling it.
  • The store was located near the immigration hall;  Mr. & Mrs. Chiarello found themselves helping many new Italian immigrants.
  • Before his father came to Canada, he worked the land, and then in 1905 he went to the United States to work. After a year he returned to Italy to get married before once again moving to Canada. Domenico and his mother worked the farm in Italy while his father was in North America working.  
  • Domenico was also an alter boy in Italy.
  • Domenico didn't have much time for recreation with other kids during this time.
  • All they took with them to Canada was food, linen, and their clothes. They left Naples on a ship called "America", landed in Halifax, got on the train, and rode it to Edmonton where they met his father.  They lived in the Old Strathcona area of Edmonton.
  • Even though he was only 15 years old, all Domenico did was work when he got to Canada.
  • While in Legal the family had little contact with other Italians, it was settled mostly by French-speaking people. His mother maintained Italian customs during this time.

Nella (nee Anselmo) Chiarello :

  • She met Domenico on the farm. Her brother was friends with Domenico. They knew each other for 12 years before they got married. Nella came to Canada when she was 19 years old.
  • Her brothers had already came to Canada.
  • She remembers loving Canada as soon as she arrived.
  • She had wanted to join a convent and be a nun.
  • She met Domenico in the Bay and told him that he should come visit, as a friend, but he thought otherwise. He showed up and asked her to marry him.
  • They got married in St. Joseph's Cathedral, and held a small ceremony afterwards.
  • They had a wedding breakfast, she invited few friends, he invited the whole town of Legal!
  • Kids didn't speak much Italian with profanities being the exception.
  • She had a grade three education in Italy.


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