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     Tony Nimis:  Oral History Transcript Summary

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Mr. & Mrs. Henry
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Domenico Chiarello

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Tony Nimis

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Angelo Toppano

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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 French.
     
  • 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 time.
     
  • 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 Paris?".
     
  • 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 Hell.

Employment:

  • 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 and beer.

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