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    Mr. and Mrs. Enrico Butti > Oral History Transcript Summary

    Mr. and Mrs. Enrico Butti: Oral History Transcript Summary

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Raffaele Albi

Mr. and Mrs.
Enrico Butti

Mr. & Mrs.
Domenico Chiarello
(Nella Anselmo)

Gus & Assunta Dotto
(Emilia Raffin)

 Attilio & Stella Gatto

Gus Lavorato

Giovanni Paron

Louie Protti

Mr. & Mrs. Sartor

Sam Scrivano

Silvio Tona

Paolo Veltri

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  • Talks of war-time experience and Fascism in Edmonton and issue of citizenship. He was investigated because he was President of the Italian Society. He is told that he cannot leave town but points out that his work requires him to do so. Returns to this subject later and talks about three or four Italian men who came to live in Edmonton during the war because of the requirement that people without citizenship had to live away from the coast (he mentions specifically a carpenter called Scala who was a friend of Luigi Biamonte and another individual called Carbone, who played guitar in Biamonte's band.
  • Talks of the formation of the Cristofero Colombo soccer club; meeting in the basement of Sacred Heart Church; talk of building a clubhouse; decide instead to see about building a church to serve the Italian community in view of the large amount of money required. Negotiated the purchase of land through Mayor William Hawrelak. Planning of the Church involved Peter Batoni, Angelo Biasutto, Pat Giannone, Jimmy Anselmo and others. They then identified the Scalabrini Fathers, based in Chicago, and they found a priest to send. The Soccer Club was eventually started and involved Giovanni Boratto, Fidenzio Pasqua and Cece [spelling not certain]. The intent from the beginning was to not only have the church but also to have a recreation component. The first Italian club begun after W.W. II was thus one related to sport.
  • Asked about the early Italian community in Edmonton (1916-17) and notes that it comprised mostly retired miners; mentions the Consular Agent Felice De Angelis, who started the settlement in Venice.
  • Talks of the education level of early immigrants and the fact that they needed help in writing letters, conducting business; he speaks of helping them himself but also of the Consular Agents and how they helped (mentions that they were not paid for by the Italian government but by the immigrants who needed help). Talks of the formation of the Italian-Canadian Society/Italo-Canadian Society prior to W.W. II and that they used to meet in the German Hall off 92nd Street; they had bingos and dances; with the outbreak of the war, the German Hall was closed. They then met in the room above Domenico Chiarello's store on 96th or 95th Street.
  • Talks about of the society known as the Figli d'Italia [Sons of Italy], which originated in the U.S. in New York but also had branches in Canada; these were called in the West, the Fiori d'Italia [Flowers of Italy]; this society was headquartered in Ferni, B.C. and provided insurance coverage; he was corresponding secretary of the Cesare Battisti Society in Nordegg, and also of the Grand Lodge of Ferni. He also mentions a society in Saunders Creek and the Vittorio Emanuele Society in Calgary, as well as societies in Lethbridge and the Crowsnest Pass. They helped people who were sick and members contributed funds. They met about once a month and also helped Italian workers who were exploited and woo could not speak for themselves.
  • Talks about the Edmonton economy in war-time and the impetus provided by the building of the Alaska highway and the development of the Norman Wells; he notes that it was the Norman Wells refinery that was dismantled and re-built in Edmonton.
  • Speaks of the Hillcrest Mine explosion in 1914, one of the biggest in Canada; his Father was the electrician at the Bellevue Mine and his Father was one of the first to arrive to help. It blew up at 10 am and the whole morning shift was there. Of the 189 killed, 28 of them were Italian. In about 1980, he and his wife Myra went to visit friends in Kelowna and stopped to visit the cemetery, which he found in a state of disrepair. On his return, he wrote a letter to The Edmonton Journal and spoke to someone at the Provincial Museum about doing some work on the cemetery. He also contacted the Crowsnest Historical Society. As a result of this initiative, repairs were made.
  • Notes that there were few Italians in Alberta before W.W. I; those who came were mostly agricultural workers, who chose to work in the mines rather than farming because you could make more money than working in the city.
  • Talks of the role of Santa Maria Goretti Parish in the life of the community as an integrating force.

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