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  Calgary:  Italian Pioneers

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Year of the Coal Miner September 2003 - 2004

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  • Gene Cioni, Calgary, Alberta.  c.1953.  Photo courtesy of Glenbow Archives.Genesio (Gene) and son Gary Cioni—Gene owned and operated "La Villa," one of Calgary's first Italian restaurants. His son, Gary, is a provincial court judge.

  • David Colonna—He worked in the tailor shop of the Hudson's Bay department store even though he had a diploma in fashion design from the Istituto Salesiano Milano (Salesian Institute of Milan). Until he could overcome the language barrier, his credentials meant little. 2 

  • Reno Corradetti—A clarinet player in John Pompilio's Italian Boy's Band during the 1920s. He became a photographer and opened a studio on 16th Avenue. This information was taken from David Bly's column in the Calgary Herald on May 3, 2002.

  • Gioacchino and Luigia De Marchi—They were married in a double-wedding ceremony in Calgary in 1957, where they resided. They were childhood sweethearts in Fonzaso (Veneto), Italy.
            Group of Italian emigrants from Fonzaso, Belluno, Italy, July 1957. Photograph taken before many of the boarded the Cristoforo Colombo for Canada. Photographed in Genova, Italy. L-R back row: unknown; unknown; unknown; Giovanni Giacomin; unknown; unknown; Angelo Giacomin; Valentina Da Barp; unknown; unknown; unknown. Giovanni and Angelo were brothers headed for Calgary, Alberta. Angelo sent for Valentina a year later, they were married in 1958 in Calgary, Alberta. Residents of Fonzaso, Belluno, Italy, 1956. Having their photograph taken before they emigrated to Canada. L-R back row: Giovanna Vieceli, emigrated to Calgary, Alberta; Tano Corso; Vittorino Colao; Domenico Giacomin; Gino Domenegati; Reverend Angelo Zanella; Paolo Zucco; Silvano Muliner; unknown; Maria De Vene; Mr. Minella, mayor of Fonzaso. L-R front row: Walter Bozzola; Corrado Torresan; Gioacchino De Marchi, emigrated to Calgary, Alberta; unknown; Vittorino Zucco; Mr. Tofal; Don Bruno Capellano.Luigia (Luisa) & Gioacchino De Marchi on their wedding day, July 13, 1957, Calgary, Alberta.  Photo courtesy of Glenbow Archives.
    Luigia (Luisa) De Marchi, Calgary, Alberta, July 1957.  Photograph taken on street in Victoria Park area where the De Marchis lived.  Photo courtesy of Glenbow Archives.
  • Interior of Hatchwear Uniforms factory Calgary, Alberta, 1958.Located at 607 - 11th Avenue, SW; later at 707 -14th Street NW. Left, Mrs. Olga Oschipok, later Danowich. Right, Margaret Fry. Hatchwear Uniforms was established by Charles A.S. Hatch in 1924. Cesira Di Paolo—She worked as a furrier with another lady by the name of Angelina Rebaudengo in the 1920s.

  • Victor Fornara—Owner of the New Hatchwear Uniform company.

  • Forzani Family—The Forzani family is an important Calgary pioneer family originating in Borgomanero in the Piemonte Region of northern Italy.  Mother Audrey Forzani was employed by the Hudson's Bay company at the outbreak of World War ll. Brothers Joe, John and Tom Forzani played for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. In 1974, they set up their first Forzani sporting goods store in Calgary.  The Forzani Group Ltd. (FGL) has grown through strategic acquisitions to become a billion dollar business.  FGL operates more than 200 stores carrying a variety of labels including Sport Chek, Forzani's, Sport mart and Coast Mountain Sports catering to mid and high-end consumers.  It also wholesales to more than 160 franchisees. The firm anticipated the growth in the leisure market and positioned their enterprises to take advantage of this trend.  They have also moved into the area of web sales through the Sportchek.ca website. The family supports a range of community activities and set up the annual Mother's Day Run and Walk to support local charities.  In 2000, they established the Forzani Group Foundation to fund health, wellness and sports projects.  John Forzani, Chairman and CEO, was named Alberta Venture Business Person of the Year, 2002.

  • Gallo Family—Known to reside in the area during the 1920s. No other information available.

  • Bill Galiardi—He grew up along the north bank of the Bow River during the late 1920s, early 1930s. Bill was born in Carbon, east of Drumheller, where his father worked in the coal mines. He decided that coal mining was a tough way to earn a living, and moved to Calgary, where he was employed with the P. Burns Meat Company. Bill, an exceptional accordian  player, still performs. He has received a 50 year pin from the musicians union. This information was taken from David Bly's column in the Calgary Herald on May 3, 2002.

  • Giulia and Nick Gallelli—Giulia and Nick Gallelli started Gallelli Construction. Giulia Gallelli (née Cicconi) arrived from Antrodoco in 1908 to join her father, who was already established in the construction industry. Nick Gallelli was from Albi (Calabria). Their company provided many Italian immigrants with their first job in Calgary. 3

  • Domenico Gasbari [Gasberri]—Domenico Gasbari was a shoemaker in his native Abruzzi and had worked in the stone quarries of the United States. He arrived in Calgary in 1909 and later opened Roma Grocery. 4

  • Bruno and Massimo Geremia—The brothers were professional athletes who played for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

  • Domenico and Clara Giacomin
    Bellunesi di Calgary Association group, Calgary, Alberta, 1971. Dining on polenta and small fowl at Domenico Giacomin's house, a social activity of Bellunesi di Calgary Association. L-R: Giuseppe Giacomin; Francesco Marin; Gildo De Zorzi; Gioacchino De Marchi; Angelo Cambruzzi; Domenico Giacomin. Residents of Fonzaso, Belluno, Italy in 1956. Having their photograph taken before they emigrated to Canada. L-R back row: unknown; Corrado Torresan; Vittorino Zucco; Silvano Muliner; Tano Corso; Gioacchino De Marchi, emigrated to Calgary, Alberta; Gino Domenegato; unknown; Paolo Zucco; Giovannina Faoro, emigrated to Calgary, Alberta.L-R front row: Don Bruno Capellano; Domenico Giacomin, emigrated to Calgary, Alberta; Walter Bozzola; Reverend Angelo Zanella; Mario De Venz.Wedding of Clara and Domenico Giacomin, Calgary, Alberta, December 1962. The wedding took place at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Catholic Church, Calgary, Alberta. Luigia (Luisa) De Marchi; Roberto Giacomin; Vana De Marchi; Valentina Giacomin, Calgary, Alberta, December 5, 1962. On a train to Montreal, Quebec, to take flight to visit Italy.
    They were married at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Calgary, in December, 1962.

  • Italian band, Shouldice Park, Calgary, Alberta, 1921. Back row L-R: J.M. De Paoli, with drum; G. Terzi; R. Laudadio; E. DiPaolo; Charles Garossino; Conrad Lagger; H. Manzara; G. Corradetti; ---?; S. Ciuffa. Front row, seated L-R: L. Marocco; ---?; F. Corradetti; E. Marocco; --- Feletti, conductor; M. Grassi. Mario Grassi—Worked as an assistant maître d' at the Palliser Hotel , Calgary, in the 1920s.

  • Sal Lovecchio—Sal is a Queen's Bench court judge.

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