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A summary of the oral history transcript of Mr. and Mrs. Henry
Butti in which they discuss how they came to Canada, the
Italian community in Edmonton, and Canada in general.
- Arrived in November of 1914 with her mom and brother. Her father
met them at the CPR station with a horse and buggy.
- She was about six years old at the time.
- Her father had come to Edmonton from Wilmington, Delaware.
- Her brother Raymond worked for the post office in Edmonton
from the age of 13 until his retirement, a record.
- She remembers no Italian churches in Edmonton at the time,
and her father became a Presbyterian. They went to
- She remembers at this time a few Italians went to the Sacred
- Henry came to Canada in January of 1917 from Italy. He and his
mother and sister crossed from Genoa to New York. They
spent 24 days on the boat! This was because at the time
World War 1 was going on and they could not travel at
night. German submarines would shoot at anything in the
water, so the boat had to shut out the lights and turn
off the engine at night.
- They took the train for 5 or 6 days to Calgary. Henry's father was
an electrician in the mines around the Canmore area, and
he met them in Calgary.
- Their house was about a mile away from the town. Henry
remembers it being very cold.
- The family moved to B.C. for a year and a half because his
father thought the weather would be better there. After
that, Henry's father moved around the province working
in the mines at Drumheller and Nordegg.
- The family left Nordegg in 1926, and moved to Edmonton where
they have been ever since.
- Henry met his future wife while in Nordegg, but they were just
friends at this point.
- He describes Nordegg as a beautiful place with wonderful
people, some of whom still travel long distances, for
- Henry didn't want to move to Edmonton because he liked Calgary
more. At this time Calgary was thought of by many people
in Nordegg as a main stopping, meeting, and holiday
place. His father wanted to establish an electrical
contracting business in Edmonton, so that is where they
- Not too many Italians established in Edmonton at this time. He
remembers the Biollo grocery store on 96th Street and some other
Italians; D'Appolonia family, two eldest became Jesuit
priests, father was baker at MacDonald Hotel; Alloro
family, miners from Brule in the Coal Branch, also worked
in the MacDonald hotel before moving to Vancouver;
Colbertaldo, watch-maker; Frank Romeo, owned
"Palm" confectionary near the Army & Navy
- Henry and a few of his buddies formed a little club in 1933, but
had to disband it at the outbreak of WWll. John Segatti was
the treasurer for this club, and Henry was the
president. Henry's father was a hothead in a Fascist
organization, but their club was really an excuse to sit
around and drink. Henry didn't join because he didn't
think a group like that (Facist) was necessary in this country.
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