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A summary of the oral history transcript of Mr. and Mrs. John
Segatti who are very well known in the Edmonton Italian
community. They both comment on how they came to live in
Canada and the Italian communities they were a part of
Mrs. Segatti [nee Pavan}:
Mrs. Segatti's mother and father emigrated from Italy just
before the first great war. They came to Lethbridge, in
1912, where she was born. Her father worked in the coal
mines in the Lethbridge area.
went to St. Basil's school in Lethbridge until they
shut the mines down, and then moved to Coalhurst. She
says there were many Italians in southern Alberta in
large European groups in the area included the
Ukrainians and the Polish. She says that discrimination
between Catholic and Protestant people in those days was
worse than today.
father lost his life in 1930 due to complications after
getting a broken leg as a result
of a Coalhurst mine a cave-in. He survived the cave-in but died
after several months in the
uncle was one of the very few miners who survived the
methane gas explosion that shut down the Coalhurst mine
Italian community was quite active holding dances and
picnics. Sometimes benefit dances were held for the
widows and families of miners who lost their life on the
didn't get involved in politics and church was mostly
for the younger people. She says that there was no
cultural movements in those days.
says her childhood was a happy one and that she thinks
that Canada is the best country to live in.
moved to Edmonton with her mother in 1932 after her
father died. It was there that she met her husband John.
says that she has tried to keep the Italian community
alive and well in Edmonton.
left Italy on the tenth of December, 1926. He arrived in
Edmonton on the 15th of February. It took so long
because he stopped many places on the way. He was 17
years old at the time. His father already lived in
found a job in a sawmill near Lac La Biche, but it only
lasted a couple of weeks because the mill shut down. He
then returned to Edmonton and found work at the
Hotel. After a couple of years he became a waiter there
and went to night school to learn the language better.
He worked there for 15 years.
in Edmonton as an Italian was pretty good during the
1930's. John felt that he was not discriminated against.
Although there was a depression going on, he was doing
says that by the time the second world war started he
went into business for himself doing construction work.
At the time of this interview (1973/74) the business was
helped build a church and hall for the Italian community