by Mary Doyle
Page 2 |
In 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, 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
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
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
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
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
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Reprinted from "Hylo-Venice
Harvest of Memories" by the Hylo-Venice History Book
Committee, with permission
from the editor.