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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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Angelo Toppano
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Angelo Toppano was born in 1898 in Udine, Italy, and emigrated to Canada in 1913 with his Father. Angelo Toppano arrived in Coleman (via New York and Montreal) on May 9, 1913, from the province of Udine in northern Italy. Angelo was 15 at the time, and joined his father who had come to Coleman in 1906 to make enough money to return home and provide a better standard of living for his family. Although Angelo was 15 years old, in school he was placed in grade 3 with 8 year olds - and felt very out of place! Despite his father's wish for a good education, Angelo decided to work picking rock on the coal mine tipple, but to please his dad he also attended school at night. Angelo worked in the mines for awhile and eventually opened and operated a general store in Coleman. He believed that small independent businesses were the "backbone of the nation".

The interview was conducted by Charles Grelli for the Dante Alighieri Oral History Project in 1973.

This oral history project was initiated by Sabatino Roncucci, a founder of the Dante Alighieri Society, for the purpose of documenting immigration history so that it could be shared not only with the Italian community but also the community at large.

Angelo Toppano: Oral History Excerpts

Angelo Toppano describes east Coleman, or "Bushtown", where he lived when he first arrived in 1913.

Click here to listen!

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