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     Edmonton:  Italian Pioneers

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Early Years

 World War I and
Interwar Period

World War II
and After

  Cultural Life


 Population Statistics


by Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D.

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  • Giuseppe Donis-A miner.
  • Valentino Dotto-Valentino and his wife were from Turiso in northern Italy. They came to the Brulé Mine in 1914; later to Cadomin in 1929; finally to Edmonton. His son Gus was born in Edmonton in 1915. Gus was the oldest (along with twin, now deceased) of a family of 5 boys, 4 girls. Gus remembers collecting coal and firewood with his siblings after school for the family home. They would do this all summer so the family had enough fuel for the winter. The family used to have their own turkeys and chickens, and would also go hunting and fishing. Gus' wife Assunta was born in 1922, in a small place near Valvazone. In 1939 Assunta, her mother, and three of her sisters made the move to Canada. Gus and Assunta got engaged (1942-43) while he was in the army. They married in 1945.
  • Antonio Erasmo-He worked as a restaurant operator and also in automobile sales.
  • Amodeo and Maria Facchinutti (or Facchinetti)-They came before World War I.
  • Antonio (Tony) Falcone-Tony was born in 1935 in Celico, Calabria, Italy and emigrated to Canada in 1959. Tony was a trained teacher (graduated in 1953 from the equivalent of Normal School) who could not obtain work in Italy (taught for a year-and-a-half as a substitute teacher). He also wrote civil service exams to become a courtroom clerk in the Justice Department. He was ranked 550th out of 11,000 individuals who sat the exam; after an oral interview, he was ranked 2,500th and this would have meant a 3-5 year wait to get a job; that's why he came to Canada. He also served in the Italian Army and was attached to NATO doing security checks. He became a well-known teacher and educator in Edmonton and retired in 1999; was the first teacher of the Dante Alighieri Scuola di Lingua e Cultura Italiana.
  • Pietro Falvo-Pietro was a CNR employee.
  • Grand opening of the Italian Bakery, established by Antonio and Aurora Frattin.  Photo courtesy of <i>Il Congresso</i> newspaperAntonio and Aurora (nee Tedesco) Frattin-Antonio came to Canada in July, 1956, and Aurora joined him in December. He worked as a baker for Honeyboy Bakeries and eventually became Superintendent. Antonio began to bake buns for his family and friends, so he and his wife set up the Italian Bakery  at 90th St. and 121 Ave. in 1960. In 1962 they moved to current location at 106th Ave. and 97th Street. 
    Attilio Gatto strolling down Jasper Avenue with his friend Raffaele Albi circa 1950.  Photo courtesy of the Albi family
  • Attilio and Stella Gatto-Attilio came to Canada in 1949. He worked for New West Construction and Imperial Oil. He and Stella had two children, Emilio born in Italy, and Pasquale, born in Canada.
  • Giuseppe (Joe) Gaudio-Joe was a grocer who operated the Venice Grocery on 97th Street. His wife Assunta, was a sister of Sam Scrivano.
  • Pasquale (Pat) Giannone,-Known to work in construction.
  • Antonio and Dominic Giovinazzo-No information available.
  • John Grosso-Joe's parents came to Bankhead near Banff in 1906 with two children, John who was 10 and a baby brother. They moved to Rocky Mountain House in 1914, where John's father worked in the coal mines. John worked at Coalhurst, and eventually he married Yvonne Couteret from France in 1913. They bought a farm from Weber Realty northeast of Spruce Grove, cultivated 65 acres and eventually bought more land. They raised horses, chickens, grain and hay; and sold eggs (information in the Spruce Grove local history As the Roots Grow).

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