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
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
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
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.
Paron: Oral History Excerpts
Not only Mr. Paron's mail order bride came special delivery!
Click here to listen!