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The Immigration Story of Mary Yacano (Italian immigrant)

The Museum reviews and accepts donated personal or family memories and histories into its collection. As a learning institution, the accounts help us understand how individuals recollect, interpret, or construct meaning from lived experiences. The stories are not modified by Museum staff. The point of view expressed is that of the author and not that of the Museum.

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I arrived with my mother Domenica and my two brothers , Biagio and Antonio ,to join our Dad Salvatore, who had emigrated to Canada four years before us.  He came in 1949 after World War II ended.  He left his native land to find work and find better opportunities for all of us.

He was a skilled shoemaker in Italy and so he left with hope and aspiration and his talent.  He made his home in Montreal, Canada. He found work right away and later on was able to open his own shoe shop where he became known as a very skilled shoemaker, who not only made hand made shoes and boots, but also orthopedic shoes.  My parents had three more children in Canada, Charles, Frank and Linda.  They all make their home in Montreal, except for me, I got married to an American and moved to the United States.  My parents are both deceased now, but they left behind a big family of children, 9 grandchildren, and 15 greatgrandchildren.

Canada was part of our greatest journey on this earth, being welcomed in this land gave us the freedom to shape us into individuals that have contributed much,  and so therefore, the sacrifice of leaving our native land, facing many trials and overcoming many hurdles, says it all for us and our posterity.

In 2006 I had the privilege to visit Pier 21, I was moved deeply as I recalled clearly my entry as a young girl of 12 and all the emotions I had experienced on that early day.  My family's name appears on a stone on the wall and I am so proud that I stepped in this land when I did.  I am so greatfull to my parents for their courage and sacrifice.