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Lethbridge Region's Italian Community

The natural environment of Southern Alberta is largely prairie and it is this land that attracted settlers who came to farm and ranch. A number of factors contributed to making it an attractive destination for settlers:
• land that could be tilled;
• ready availability of water through several river systems including the Milk and Oldman Rivers;
• moderate climate that included Chinook winds bringing warm air over the mountains.

But there were also extensive resources of coal underfoot, which were formed in the Cretaceous period (about 70 million years ago) when that region was the western shoreline of an inland sea that covered central North America. Subtropical plants flourished and it was this rich vegetation that was converted into coal through the passage of time and natural processes.

Italian immigration was directly related to the exploitation of bituminous coal and, in southern Alberta, is similar to the pattern of immigration to the Rockies, Nordegg and the Coal Branch, as well as Edmonton and Calgary. The railways needed fuel to run and coal mines were developed to do this, as well as to meet industrial and domestic needs. The largest deposits are found in Alberta and BC and their exploitation paralleled the settlement of the West.

Southern Alberta’s Italian Community

Southern Alberta’s Italian Community