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     Community ProjectAlessandro & Lina Urso > Oral History Transcript Summary

     Alessandro and Lina Urso: Oral History Transcript Summary 

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Carlo & Lina 

Rudy & Rita 

Mary Biollo Doyle

Tony Falcone

Bill Nigro

 Sabatino Roncucci

Spinelli Family
Alessandro &
Lina Urso

Fiore M. Vecchio


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  • Settled near Clarke Stadium-no car, walked to Sacred Heart Parish to hear Italian Mass

  • Their Father then sponsored his brothers and sisters; their house was open to not only their blood kin but also other immigrants; house always full

  • Alessandro-worked in an English-speaking lab in Montreal where the rest of the staff spoke French; a co-worker, Manuel, of Spanish origin went to work in Edmonton and Fort McMurray and recommended it; he decided to try it out; a year after his arrival in Canada he came to Edmonton

  • For the young Italian men, the Italian Centre Shop owned by Franco Spinelli was the destination; as well, the Italian Gardens Restaurant started by Salvatore Prete; used to cook for single men for a monthly fee

  • Alessandro came from Genoa, a city of 800,000 people; loved the excitement of Montreal; was there when Charles de Gaulle shouted "Vive le Québéc Libre"; Emdonton in 1967 was a small town in comparison; Italian Centre Shop was open every day until 9 p.m.; it was a gathering place-met Carlo and Lina Amodio there and others

  • Went to the Catholic Youth Organization of the Santa Maria Goretti Parish; met Lina through her brother-in-law who he had met at the Italian Centre Shop; parents, who did not allow their daughters to date, allowed them to go to the Youth Organization meetings and dances; felt daughters were safe because of church connection; most young couples of their generation met their future partners there

  • With respect to community work, Alessandro became involved with the Società Italiana di Edmonton, which organized dances; it eventually vanished; next became involved with Heritage Days through Carlo Amodio; then the same group set up the National Congress of Italian-Canadians, Edmonton District where he served as the Secretary; at that point was transferred to Vegreville for two years; on his return, rejoined the NCIC and pushed them in the direction of a newspaper; already had radio programs but felt that they needed a newspaper

  • In 1984, he founded Il Congresso under the auspices of the NCIC; for 9 months they were subsidized by them; for the 2nd or 3rd number, Carlo Amodio joined and then Rudy Cavaliere; they've been together ever since (19 years); Sab Roncucci also joined them as a columnist; paper started as a non-profit and then became a commercial entity-had commitments to printer, advertisers; had to be run as a business to meet those obligations; still struggling on a month-to-month basis to make ends meets; still all have full-time jobs; do it in evenings and weekends; wanted to provide the Italian community with continuity; have tried publishing monthly and every 2-3 weeks but mostly every month; there are about 20-25,000 people of Italian descent in Edmonton; maybe 3,000 read the newspaper; maybe 200 are actively working in community organizations; wants to reach them all; when delivered to the newsstand at the Italian Centre Shop people are waiting for it; likes to see the excitement; also have regular content contributors from Calgary

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