Arrival in Canada

“We were terrified of the cold land and the large amount of snow, where people were different and spoke a foreign language.” (Anonietta Lanni nee Venditti)

Deciding to Leave

”I know that my father loved his family, his home and his country and the experience of leaving it all behind must have been heartbreaking, nonetheless he pressed on towards the Canadian shores to give his family a new lease in life.” (Pietro Di Loia)

“These were very difficult post war years and because of the hardships, it left us with no choice but to sell our small business and leave our beautiful homeland and roots for broader opportunities.” (Rudy Alonzi)

“…Canada was seen as the promise land where opportunity could be found…” (The D’Alessio Family)

“Many times when I questioned them on their decision to emigrate the answer was always the same: to be given the opportunity for a better life was what they desperately wanted and were very thankful when the opportunity arose.” (Pasque and Filomena DeFillippis)

Food Experiences

“…it was nothing like the crusty Italian bread I was accustomed to and I thought to myself this is awful what am I going to do if this is what bread is like in Canada?” (Lucia Luigia Guglietti)

Life in Canada

“My father was very homesick and would often cry at night, missing his wife and child. Trying to learn the language and how to get around in the city was difficult. He told us many times if he had the money to return home at that time, he gladly would have taken the first ship home.” (Pasque and Filomena DeFillippis)

“There were a lot of sacrifices and many tears, but the family was content to have made this big move.” (Panetta Family)

“Alone, isolated and unable to speak the language, this young girl of 21 had enough of Canada, and desperate to run back home to Italy. But the thought of disobeying her eldest brother, and of another sea voyage, tempered her spirit.” (Carmela Citro)

“Even though our life in Canada has not always been easy, with much faith and hard work, today after 45 years I give thanks to this great nation for giving me the possibility of a better life, where we have never been hungry.” (Maria Cescato)

“With hard work, sacrifice and determination, my family was reunited. I always tried to be a good Canadian citizen and have remained faithful to the country whose hospitality I have always appreciated and valued.” (Giuseppe Leone and M. Concetta Rossi)

All Aboard (On the Train)

“It looked like a cattle train (I truly believed it was). It was dirty and very, very uncomfortable. It was the most depressing ride in my life.” (Rudy Alonzi)

“On the train, we were offered pasta, which to our disillusionment turned out to be canned Chef Boyardee.” (Maria Disipio)


“The excitement I felt at the prospect of venturing to a new land, all the way on the other side of the ocean, and my desire for adventure, I was 15, made my goodbyes to my relatives less painful.” (Antonietta Gallelli)

“My mother kept telling me to wave to my grandfather but I couldn’t. I could not see him in the sea of humanity. I remember being very disappointed at not being able to see him.” (Francesco Supino)