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Angelo Toppano arrived in Coleman (via New York and Montreal) on May 9, 1913, from the province of Udine in northern Italy.
Angelo was 15 at the time, and joined his father who had
come to Coleman in 1906 to make enough money to return home and
provide a better standard of living for his family.
Although Angelo was 15 years old, in school he was placed in grade 3
with 8 year olds - and felt very out of place! Despite
his father's wish for a good education, Angelo decided to
work picking rock on the coal mine tipple, but to please his
dad he also attended school at night. Angelo worked in the
mines for awhile and eventually opened and operated a
general store in Coleman. He believed that small independent
businesses were the "backbone of the nation".
The interview was conducted by Giancarlo Grelli for the Dante Alighieri Oral History Project in 1973.
This oral history project was initiated by Sabatino
Roncucci, a founder of the Dante Alighieri Society, for the
purpose of documenting immigration history so that it
could be shared not only with the Italian community but also
the community at large.