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Carlo & Lina 

Rudy & Rita 

Mary Biollo Doyle

Tony Falcone

Bill Nigro

 Sabatino Roncucci

Spinelli Family
Alessandro &
Lina Urso

Fiore M. Vecchio


by Mary Doyle

  | Page 2  | 

Mary Biollo, Age 10, 1925In Edmonton on September 16, 1915, a daughter, Mary, was born.  Soon after this event, Mrs. Biollo and the four children went by train to Venice, since the railroad had been completed to Lac La Biche in February 1915.  The two oldest girls, Valentina (7) and Florence (5½), continued on to Lac La Biche to attend Lac La Biche Mission School.  Mrs. Biollo and the two younger children, Mike and Mary, disembarked at Venice.  The family lived in the makeshift lean-to attached to the store.

About 1917, Biollo home in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Photo courtesy of the Biollo-Doyle family. a large, eight-room house was built on the Missiwawi Lake shore.  All the beautiful furniture and possessions Mrs. Biollo had in the Winnipeg home were put to use again.  Although very dilapidated, this house is still standing -- a monument to the past!  During the succeeding years, land was cleared and farming proceeded.

In addition to growing registered grain, the Biollos raised chickens, pigs and cows. Mr. Biollo was a firm supporter of scientific breeding.  He secured pedigreed stock and took advantage of the government's offer to supply pure bread stock for siring pigs and cows. 

In the early years, farming was done with horses.  As times improved over the years, tractors and better machinery took over.  Mr. Biollo owned a threshing machine that went from one farm to another for threshing the grain.  The women prepared large meals for the crew.  Breakfast and dinner would be served in the house, but lunches would be taken to the men in the fields.

Over the years, there were five more children added to the family: Arthur in 1918, Fidelia in 1921, David in 1925, Valentino in 1927 and Gloria in 1932.  Added to the family was a chosen son, Gilbert, who was born in 1922.  The first four children received their early education in the Lac La Biche Mission.  For some inexplicable reason, the children were registered under the surname of "Bellis".

Mr. Biollo was the organizer for forming the Venice School District #4102.  A school was built in 1925 in the centre of the community.  Over the years, besides overseeing many farming activities, Mr. Biollo was busy organizing and building up his various businesses and helping in community affairs.  At intervals, in the first years after arriving in Venice, he made occasional trips to Edmonton, where he still had business connections.  

On September 8, 1916, the first post office opened with Mr. Biollo as the first postmaster.  He held this position until 1940.  At this time, the district was officially named "Venice" in honour of Mr. Biollo's birthplace in Italy.  At some point, he held the titles of Justice of the Peace and Commissioner of Oaths.

In 1921, Mr. Biollo bought a sawmill.  Mr. Jacob Schaub from Plamondon was the operator.  He assisted Mr. Arthur Lemay of Egg Lake.

In 1922, Mr. Alex Fraser had the first grain elevator built called "The Fraser Grain Company".  Mr. Biollo was the first agent.  This elevator burned down in 1923.  Close to the Biollos, a red livery barn was erected to accommodate the horses from Plamondon, Egg Lake, Beaver Lake and Brierville, which had to be sheltered overnight.  Grain hauling was usually carried on during the winter by sleigh.  At the same time, some of the farmers' grain was ground into flour and cereals for personal use.

In 1924, the cornerstone for the Holy Redeemer Church was laid and the basement commenced.  The framework was completed in 1925.  Father Castro Fabris from Rome, Italy was the first pastor.  Eight acres of land were donated by Mr. Biollo for church and parish purposes.  This land was officially registered in 1936.

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Reprinted from "Hylo-Venice Harvest of Memories" by the Hylo-Venice History Book Committee, with permission from the editor.


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