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A summary of the oral history transcript of Tony
Nimis in which he discusses his first impressions of Canada
and Alberta, employment, Italian cultural life, and family.
First Impressions of Canada:
- Tony came to
Canada a few years after the first World War. He landed
in Quebec where he tried to speak the English that he
knew, not realizing that people in Quebec spoke only
- Tony says that
fortunately he knew French so he was able to talk to
people. He learned French while in France from
1921-1926. When someone asked him where he was from and
how he liked Canada he replied "I'm from Paris, and it's a
lot better than what I've seen here so far".
- From Quebec he
came west to Edmonton, where he has been most of the
- He says that at
the time, 1926, Edmonton was mostly mud, and he was
disappointed. After awhile in Edmonton he thought
"What am I doing here and why did I leave
- He served in
the Italian Army for 6 months during World War 1 before coming over. He was disgusted
when he found out that Italy got the short end of the
stick as a result of the Treaty of Versailles.
- He says the
difference between the nightlife in Paris and Edmonton
was comparable to the difference between Heaven and
- 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!
- He worked in
the mine for about a year and six months before the depression hit.
The mines started to close.
- He then came
back to Edmonton to work in a marble and tile company
for about nine years.
- He says that
during the depression he didn't suffer too much because
he claims that he was "an ingenious man" and always tried to make money somehow. The thing that
bothered him the most during that time was lack of wine
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