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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 Guggio-He operated a grocery store on 97th street near 106th Avenue (near where the Italian Bakery is today), and then moved to Vancouver.
  • Giacobbo- [first name unknown] Known to be a terrazzo worker, cement, etc.
  • Giacomo Iuliano-Giacomo was a painter.
  • Antonio Leanza-He was a barber working near the MacDonald Hotel.
  • Bruno Lavorato-Bruno worked as a barber.
  • Giuseppe and Theresa Lavorato-Giuseppe was born in 1884, in the province of Cosenza, and came to Canada in 1898 at the age of 14. His wife (Theresa) was born in 1888 and came over in 1919. Giuseppe arrived in Montreal, Quebec, and found work in Hull as a waterboy for a construction crew building a bridge. He then worked his way west through the United States on the railway. He  moved to the Edmonton area in 1905. He worked on the railway (C.N.R.) in Edmonton for one dollar a day, and also gave dance lessons to people to supplement his income. He eventually became a foreman for the railroad, and worked at it until his retirement in 1948.
  • Gus Lavorato-Mr. and Mrs. Gus Lavorato at their wedding reception in Edmonton.  Photo courtesy of the Lavorato family and the Italians Settle in Edmonton Oral History Project and booklet of the same nameGus was born in Edmonton in 1922. His brother Frank was born in 1925. He went to school at Queens Avenue and had friends of all different nationalities. He made it to grade 10 at Foothills high school. His favorite subjects were math and history. He also took Italian courses by correspondence. He worked in an Safeway bakery for awhile, earning $14.00 per week until he turned 18, then he joined the Air Force. He was gone for five years during the war. He learned to fix planes. When he came back to Canada he went to an apprentice school for carpentry, and then worked for Northwest Industries in 1946-47. Gus and his wife married in 1950. They have three children. Victor Losa.  Photo courtesy of Glenbow Archives.
  • Vittorio (Victor) Losa-Victor was born in Turin, Italy in 1905 where he trained as a watchmaker.  His skills brought him to Edmonton in 1920 where he worked in a jewelry store and became the owner.  He was the Italian Consul in the 1920s and during the depression years of the 1930s.  Although he married a non-Italian, he maintained an excellent command of the Italian language.
    Ralph Maio in front of his restaurant Sceppa's. Photo courtesy of Il Congresso newspaper
  • Ralph Maio-Ralph came to Canada with his Mother Evelina, and brother Mario. He set up several popular restaurants (Sceppa's and Il Forno).
  • Giuseppe Marino-He worked as a contractor, and is now retired.
  • Pietro Miami-Pietro was a greengrocer, selling ice cream and fruit where the City Centre Shopping Mall is now.
  • Montalbetti-This pastamaker and former railroad man  retired to Blockton (?), and set up a creamery. He was a Consular Agent as well.
  • Sister Angel Morino-She was religious.
  • Giuseppe Naccarato-He was a miner who moved to Edmonton.
  • Carlino Nicola-Carlino married Mrs. Butti's sister. He and his brother had two International trucks and used them to sell coal in the winter. They bought coal in Ellerslie and at Black Diamond where the refineries are today. There were coal mines near the Dawson Bridge.
  • Bill Nigro, 2002.  Photo from video taken by William Pearson, courtesy of the Nigro-Pearson family.Antonio Nigro-Antonio came from Italy to New York in 1885. He worked in Montana and Spokane, and was joined in 1897 by his son Fedele (Felix). Then worked in railroad construction from eastern Canada to British Columbia. In 1913, Fedele married Amelia Anselmo in Italy and returned to Canada, where they lived in Winnipeg and then moved to Clyde, Alberta, near Edmonton. They farmed and raised heavy horses for construction work. He became partner with James Anselmo and started New West Construction Company; son Joseph Antonio Maria (Bill) Nigro joined his Father in the family business.
    Watch Bill Nigro's Oral History Interview!

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