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Family Unification
and Settlement

Fascist Era
Post World War II
Cultural Life

 by Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D.

  1  |  Page 2

Lumber and railroad industries employed men at Rizzoli's tie camp, Alberta.They worked on the railways, road construction, mines and factories but also went directly to cities and moved into retail. While notions of "Italianitŗ" had been around for a century, in the 1960s, this took on a particular flavour that showcased Italian culture, life style and products. Joint projects between Hollywood and the Italian film industry made available a series of Italian films that exposed North Americans to Italian ways of doing things with humour and charm. Tourism to Italy further exposed visitors to Italian products including wines and cheeses. This created a niche for Italian grocers and wholesalers. As well, Italian vice-consuls and consuls were able in the area of trade and helped to promote Italian products. The result of this was not only the assimilation of a large number of workers and their families through the facilitation of family reunification immigration but also the coming to prominence of Italian culture as expressed through the range of goods, both luxury goods and foodstuffs. 

Italian Bakery, Edmonton, Alberta.  Photo courtesy of 'Il Congresso'.While Italian immigrants prospered in Canada, by the late 1960s, reconstruction of the Italian economy had been sufficiently successful to virtually end the flow of immigrants to Canada. In fact, some reverse migration began to happen through retirement. In terms of oral histories done with immigrants who came to Canada post-1950, the question frequently arises of whether they would have done better by remaining. In terms of the Italian economy, the monies sent back by immigrants to family members was sufficiently important that when it began to decline, the Italian government convened a series of immigration conferences to explore the relationship with Italiani a l'estero [Italians Abroad]. While these immigrants and their children, might no longer be contributing dollars to the Italian economy, with the establishment and entrenchment of the European Economic Market, the reclamation of Italian citizenship by Italians abroad could give the Italian government a population boost that could give it greater clout within Europe. Those of us who have been involved in this process have pondered on the significance of this rapprochement between the Italian government and immigrant communities and there is a range of opinion as to its significance.

Related Link

  • Book Excerpt:  Post-war Migration
    Reprinted from With Heart and Soul: Calgary's Italian Community by Antonella Fanella, with permission from the University of Calgary Press and the author. 


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