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    Home > People > Oral History Projects > Dante Alighieri Oral History Project
    Mr. and Mrs. Henry Butti> Transcript Summary

    Mr. and Mrs. Henry (Enrico) Butti:  Oral History Transcript Summary

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Louis (Luigi)
Biamonte

Mike Biollo

Father Giovanni
Bonelli

Camillo Bridarolli

Mr. & Mrs. Henry
Butti

John Camarta

Domenico Chiarello

Joe Fabbri

Mario Grassi

Victor Losa

Filomena Michetti

Mrs. Mamie Meardi

Tony Nimis

Giorgio W. &
Norma Pocaterra

Mr. & Mrs. John
Segatti

Romano Tedesco &
Mrs. Irma Giacobbo

Angelo Toppano

Year of the Coal Miner September 2003 - 2004


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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.

Mrs. Butti:

  • 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 church faithfully.

  • She remembers at this time a few Italians went to the Sacred Heart Church.

Mr. Butti:

  • 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 annual reunions.

Edmonton:

  • 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 ended up.

  • 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 store.

  • 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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