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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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Giovanni Paron
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Giovanni Paron was born on the 23rd of June, 1892 in Val da Sone, a town in Pordenone province of the Friuli region of Italy. He came to Canada when he was 14 years old to join his brothers who worked the coal mines in Michel, B.C., in the Crowsnest Pass area of the Rockies, just west of the Alberta/B.C. border. One of his brothers came over in 1903 and was a first-hand witness of the famous Frank slide.

Giovanni learned to play trumpet and traveled the countryside with an Italian music band. When the other members of the band decided to go to the States, Giovanni moved to Cutknife, Saskatchewan. From there he sent to his home town in Italy for a 'mail order bride' - based on a picture his sister had sent. They got married in 1921 in Blairmore, Alberta since Cutknife had no church, and spent 40 years together before his wife, Innes, died. They had one son, who Giovanni personally delivered, and one daughter. The first 25 years of their marriage were spent homesteading near Cutknife, where other Italian families settled and where Giovanni helped build an Italian church.

He also helped build another church, Santa Maria Goretti in Edmonton, Alberta. Because of an acquaintanceship with a Mr. Butti in Edmonton, Giovanni and his family moved there, eventually owning and operating the Industrial Machine Shop.

The interview was conducted by Carmela Marino and Anna Bruni for the Italians Settle in Edmonton Project in 1983 resulting in the commemorative booklet of the same name.

This was a 25th anniversary project of the Santa Maria Goretti Parish. A Society was set up and a committee struck to undertake the research. The President was Frank Sdao and the research was led by Dr. Adriana Albi Davies.

Giovanni Paron: Oral History Excerpts

Not only Mr. Paron's mail order bride came special delivery!

Click here to listen!

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