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      Venice Hylo:  World War I and Interwar Period

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Early Years

World War I and
Interwar Period

World War II
and After

Cultural Life


Year of the Coal Miner September 2003 - 2004

Page 1  |  2

Grain elevator and cattle stockyards in the agricultural community of Venice, Alberta.  Photo courtesy of the Bonifacio family.'In 1917, an official came to the community to see about obligatory military service but, because the men were busy on the land, they were exempted.  They were assisted in their work by the provision of a wood saw through funding from the Italian Society.  Tony Bonifacio, in his unpublished history Venice Alberta 1914:  The Pioneers and Others That Lived There, notes that, in the early years, many farmers qualified for a $500 loan from the government to purchase cattle.   

The Macor brothers went to the Crowsnest area to work in the coal mines.  Photo courtesy of the Bonifacio family.After World War I, many changes took place in the settlement.  Most of the men were single and slowly began to abandon their homesteads.  Some went to the coal mines, others to the railroads Michetti Sawmill, Mile 101 and still others ventured to other parts of Canada never to be seen or heard from again.  As many left the colony, there were others who came and filed on homesteads that members of the original colony had abandoned.  Angelo Guerra, Angelo Deangeli, Frank Rycroft, Luigi Catalani and a few others came to Venice while Paul Michetti and others arrived in Hylo.  The Joe Michetti family arrived in Hylo in 1917, while Luigi Fabbro came from the mines in British Columbia and took over the homestead abandoned earlier by Angelo Deangeli.

Luigi and Albina Fabbro working hard on their Venice homestead.Conditions were tough and these pioneers had to struggle to make a living.  They had to live in primitive log houses without modern conveniences for many years and the women did a lot of work, raising children without the assistance of doctors.  Lucia Bonifacio and Annie Biollo served as midwives for many years. Faith, hope and determination was their spirit. 

Remains of McArthur Lumber Camp after the 1919 fire.In 1919, a devastating fire swept through the Hylo area fueled by the debris from the local logging operations and fanned by gale winds.  Fortunately, residents of Hylo and Venice escaped the fire as the fire did not engulf their homes.  One good thing the fire did was help to clear the land in the region, but it also spelled the end of logging in the region.


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