Silvio was born in Villa di Tirano [province, Sondrio;
region, Lombardia] on the 27th of June, 1900. Silvio was the
second oldest of four brothers. His mother died in 1903 when he
was just three years old. After his mother died an aunt took
care of him until his father remarried. Silvio worked on the
family farm and attended school until he was 14 years old. He
served in the army from 23rd of March 1918, until February of
1919 when he was discharged. Then he joined the 'costume guards'
for the next 3 years. The first time Silvio heard about Canada
was the 2nd of May, 1924. He had a relative who lived in Rimbey
who operated a farm. He was told that he could have a job if he
came over, so he went. He took the train with his cousin to
Genoa, and then took a boat for 10 days to New York. Once he got
to New York, he boarded a train to Calgary, and then to Rimbey.
Silvio spent about 25 years working the coal mines in British
Columbia and Alberta before developing a lung condition known as
silicosis. In 1955 he took a job as a handyman in a hotel at
Edson. Over the years Silvio returned to the old country
numerous times to visit. He never married, and spends his time
reading books at the library or visiting old friends.
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.
Oral History Excerpts
Mr. Tona compares his wine-making in Italy to that in
Click here to listen!