At age 29, Arturo Pellegrini left Castions di Zoppola, Udine, Italy and arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick on February 25, 1933. His occupation is listed as miner. He became employed in a Silver mine in New Denver, B.C. Teresa Scodellaro, from Arzene, Pordenone, Udine, Italy, married Arturo by proxy in March, 1935. She came to Canada in 1939, landing in New York and then by train to Nelson.
Son, Albert, was born in 1940 in New Denver. They moved to Natal, B.C. where Arturo worked in a coal mine. Daughter, Norma, was born in Natal. Shortly after the underground mine shaft collapsed and broke Arturo’s back. After a lengthy rehab they purchased a five acre parcel in Kelowna, B.C. and moved there in November, 1951. They grew vegetables on their farm. Arturo was a musician, playing with a dance band in Natal. He played the violin, accordion and mandolin.
Arturo passed away in 1981 at age 77 and Teresa in 1993 at age 80. They are both at rest in Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery. Albert, part owner of White Stag Autobody, had five children: Debbie (Dean Nielsen), Danny, Tracey, Sandy and Nicole (Dean Gawdun). Norma (Dierk), has two children: Jody (Jason Tidsbury) and Casey (Matt Nye).
Norma Pellegrini Dierk, West Kelowna BC
Giuseppe Antonio (Tony) Borgnetta arrived in Canada on March 27, 1927. Tony was the youngest child of Antonio Borgnetta and Severina Varesio from Bricco Borgnetta, a community area of Frinco, Asti, Piemonte, Italy. He landed in Halifax with his destination of Kelowna, BC, at the invitation of his sister, Giuseppina Borgnetta Rampone, who with her husband Domenico had started farming in Kelowna in 1926. Tony helped work the farm for several years, growing crops including onions, melons and tobacco. In 1937, be came a Canadian citizen, applied for a passport and made a return trip to Italy. On June 9, 1938 he married Agostina (Tina) Cantino, daughter of Giuseppe Cantino and Teresa Barrera.
In 1938, Tony and Tina travelled from the Port of Genoa, Italy arriving in New York on August 4. From here they made their way to Kelowna. Once here, Tony began work at Springdale Farms (KLO and Spiers Road), that was operated by his nephew, Camillo Rampone. When it came to farming, Tony was of many skills. He was responsible for many aspects of the fruit growing business, bringing with him many European methods of pruning and cultivation. Tina helped with many of the manual jobs on the farm. She prided herself on gardening, cooking, baking and preserving food.
Tony and Tina had three children. The oldest, Rinaldo, died at age 17. Their only daughter, Rita, married Wayne Klassen. Youngest son, Carlo, married Evon Bowser and they had four girls: April, Tracy, Tina and Carla. Tony passed away in 2001 at the age of 98 and Tina in 2005 at age 89. They are both at rest in the Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery.
Angelo (Nemi) Martinelli immigrated from Tuscany, Italy in 1925. Born in Lucca Tuscany in 1896, he was the son of Paolo Martinelli and Assunta Giannotti. He married Clelia Turri, from Lucca, Tuscany, Italy. Clelia was the daughter of Olinto Turri and Isolina Valdrighi. Clelia’s 1925 manifest record shows she was 31 when she made the journey from her town of Pontecosi, Italy to Bordeaux France, landing at Halifax on Feb 2, 1925. Her destination is listed as friend, Cesare Bertucci, Kelowna, BC travelling by the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Angelo and Clelia had no children but they did have a lot of Turri family with them in Kelowna including brothers Samuele and Pietro Turri and sister Rosa Lunatici. Clelia also had siblings Aurelio, Esterina, Amerisa, Annina and Caterina in Italy. Angelo was a plasterer working for Josi Rossi and later Emilio Guidi. Clelia worked for Canadian Canners (earlier Rowcliffe Canning). In the 50s they sponsored Angelo’s nephew Luigi Guidi (Lou Guidi Construction) and Pietro and Rosa Turri and families to join them in Kelowna. Angelo passed away in 1970 at age 74. Clelia passed away in 1986 at the age of 92. They are laid to rest in the Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery.
Gino Bazzana came to Kelowna in 1924. His brother Giovanni came in 1926 with Gino’s wife. She was married to Gino by proxy. In 1929 Giovanni died in an accident at the sawmill in Gallagher’s canyon. Gino and Olivia had one baby girl, Gertie, but she did not live very long. They worked at many jobs in Kelowna including farming, fruit and tobacco growing, and the sawmill. They were also very involved with the building and maintenance of the church nunnery and the Okanagan Neurological Association.
Cestilia Bazzana also came to Canada in the early 1920s, after Gino and Giovanni were here. She met Mattia Culos and were married. Together they had five children: Antonia, Rino, Luigi, Gertie and Lina.
Brothers Giovanni and Celeste came to Canada in 1950 and 1953. They were sons of Valentino and Santina, the parents did not come to Canada to stay, only for visit in 1970. Giovanni was born in 1930, left Italy in 1950 to work in Alberta in a coal mine. He moved to Kelowna, BC, shortly after but work was not easy to find, so he went to Calgary, Alberta, to a good job in construction. Giovanni was married to Rosie Romanzin. Together they had three girls: Patricia, Angela and Jenna. Celeste was born in 1935 and came to Alberta in 1953, He moved to Kelowna in the spring of 1954. Celeste found work in a machine shop and worked as a machinist for the next 45 years. Married to Jean Schneider and had three sons: Dale, Kevin and Gordon.
Brother Luigi, and sister Teresina Scodelaro, came to Kelowna in the fifties after spending some time in Prince Rupert, BC. Luigi, with wife Gina, worked for The Canadian National Railway, The fisheries, the plywood plant and the packing house until their retirement. They had one boy, Jerry, and two girls Mary and Nives. They were both founding members of the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club. Arturo, and wife Desolina, came to Kelowna in the seventies. Arturo for a distillery and did many other jobs in the area. They have two girls.
Sister Teresina and Adelchi Scodelaro. He was a carpenter and worked many years in construction to build the Capri Hotel and part of the mall. Teresina worked in the fruit and vegetable industry picking grapes for the wineries. One sister, Lucia, immigrated to Argentina.
Another Porco family (not known to be related) had family living in Kelowna at the same time. There are, however, connections between the two. Giovanni Porco from Aprigliano, Consenza, Calabria, Italy married Luisa Altamare. They had eight children: Raffaelle (Ralph), Alberto (Albert), Pietro (Peter), Oscar, Fiorina, Agata, Assunta and Ida.
Ralph was born May 8, 1900 in Cellara, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy and arrived in Natal, BC, in 1922. His Natal contact was his uncle, Vincenzo Altamare. He had married Rosa Altamare in Italy. She died in childbirth of daughter Louisa. Louisa remained in Italy, in the care of her grandparents, until 1938 when an order in council was made to have her brought to Canada. Ralph worked at the local mine until the 1950s, when he bought the Sulphur Springs Ranch in the Elk Valley. He passed away in Michel, BC in 1952.
Albert was born in 1905, also in Aprigliano, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy and arrived in Canada in 1923, with his destination listed as Natal. He was a miner in Michel, when he married Giovannina (Jennie) Pugliese. Later, Albert and his brother, Ralph, operated a guiding and hunting business in the Natal-Michel area. Albert and Jennie moved to Kelowna in the 50s, where he worked as a custodian for School District #23.
Peter was born on June 28, 1914, also in Aprigliano. He was married to Assunta Martino. Peter died in 1976 in Fernie and Assunta in Kelowna in 1977.
Oscar made the trek to Natal in the early 1950s. He married Francesca (Chechina) Spadafore. Oscar started working in the mine before employment as a hunting guide. The family moved to Kelowna where he obtained a job with the school district. He died in 1990 at age 65. Francesca passed away in 2008 at age 82.
Fiorina married Giuseppe Carpino. They arrived in Canada in 1951 and made their home in Ontario. Agata, Assunta and Ida remained in Italy.
Giulio Menta was born in Supino, Frosinone in the Lazio region of Italy in 1906. He was the third of eight children of Domenico Menta and Maria Foggia. First to leave, in 1921, was the second brother, Cataldo Menta. He went to the United States and eventually settled in New Jersey where he married Matilda. They had three Children, Dennis, Lois, and Catherine.
In 1923, the eldest brother, 23 year old Antonio and 17 year old Giulio, left Italy bound for Vancouver. Antonio married Pietrina Cellini. Pietrina’s father, Luciano Cellini, was already living in Vancouver and was able to help the two young men establish themselves and find jobs mainly in the lumber camps on the coast of British Columbia. Antonio had two children: Eligio and Lina.
Meanwhile the war in Europe had a profound effect on the life of Giulio Menta. Italians, along with Germans and Japanese Residents of Canada were considered enemy aliens and, particularly those living in Canadian Coastal cities were considered a risk to Canadian Security. Therefore, in a particularly dark period of Canadian history, they were taken from their homes and put into internment camps. In 1940, Giulio was sent to one of these “camps”* in Kelowna. He fell in love with Kelowna and never returned to Vancouver except for special family events.
Giulio was alone in Kelowna, without family or friends and was fortunate to make friends with another young man, Mike Favali. The Favali family, generously took Giulio in until he was able to establish a home for himself. Giulio eventually started working at Calona Wines and was able to purchase a small house on Richter Street. He passed his time working at the winery, tending to a garden in his back yard and reading. He was an avid reader and especially loved geographical and historical works. His other pleasure was his nightly walk to Okanagan Lake for an evening swim.
In 1954 he returned to Italy for the first time. He met a young woman in Celano in the province of Abruzzo, named Giovanna Fellini. They were married and returned to Canada together. Giulio passed away in Kelowna in 2002 and Giovanna in 2018. Both are interred at Lakeview Memorial Gardens.
Grace Boni, grand daughter of Antonio Menta.
* Editorial Note: There wasn't an actual Italian Internment camp in Kelowna. The nearest camp was in the Kanaskis region of Alberta, close to Banff. However, there are anecdotal accounts of Italians being asked to move from the lower Mainland to the Interior to remove them from influences that were sympathetic to Mussolini. It is likely that Menta may have been one of these. There were a number of Italians from the Vancouver area that were sent to Internment camps in Kanaskis and, later, Petawawa, Ontario. For more about this, see our resource page from our presentation on this chapter of Canadian-Italian history last November: Between Neighbours.
Antonio Russo was from Giardini, Cosenza, a small village in Calabria, Italy. He had three sons: Luigi, Geniale and Annunziato. Luigi got married to Cintia Rossi. They had twenty-one children but only six survived: three daughters and three sons. The daughters are: Rosina, Teresa and Antonia. The sons are: Antonio, Eugenio, and Giovanni.
Giovanni Russo was born on June 5, 1902 in Cleto. In 1920, he ventured out to the US, landing at New York to be with his brother Antonio. They spent part of the next year making their way across the continent to California. By 1923 Giovanni had made his way back to Cleto, Italy, where he married Genoveffa Pucci. Two children were born in Italy: Ida and Erza (Elsie). At age 23, Giovanni returned to America, travelling from France and landing in Quebec on June 18, 1927.
He spent some time mining in Ontario before making his way to Field, BC, again taking up mining. After a few years, Giovanni staked a homestead in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, near Golden. He became involved with logging, supplying railway ties for the Canadian Pacific Railway. On May 25, 1938 Genoveffa and daughters, Ida and Ezra, made the journey from Italy, travelling from Naples to New York and then on to Golden. Two more children, Luigi (Louie) and Cintia (Cynthia), were born in Golden.
In 1945, they moved to Winfield where they operated a small orchard. A couple of years later, they moved to an orchard in the Ellison area. Giovanni continued with the railway tie business, logging in the McCulloch area with nephews Gary and Geneale Russo. A small sawmill was soon established on their farm.
Daughter, Ida married Albert Vecchio and together they operated Al’s Cafe in Winfied. Ida took an active part in the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club, teaching and organizing many cultural events. Daughter, Elsie married Valentino Rampone. Valentino worked in the Kelowna postoffice and was elected to the regional district board. Erza and Valentino built and operated Valentino’s Villa on Lakeshore Road.
Son, Louie married Marisa Verna. They took over operation of the orchard and sawmill in Ellison. Daughter, Cynthia met and married Edward Kenney while they were in teacher training in Victoria. They made their home in Terrace. Cynthia was tragically killed in a car accident in 1970 at thirty years of age.
Angelo Martin was born on July 18, 1887 in Casarsa, Pordenone, Udine, Italy to parents Francesco Martin and Giuseppina Chiese. Teresa Quarin, daughter of Luigi Quarin and Marianna Boscariol, was born on June 5, 1890 in San Vito, Tagliamento, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy. Angelo and Teresa were married on December 9, 1911. Angelo immigrated to Canada in 1914, landing at New York, moving on to Toronto and then to Kelowna. In Kelowna, he helped with the construction of the Kettle Valley Railway from 1914 to 1917. He returned to Italy where daughter, Frances, was born before Angelo returned to Canada.
Teresa, and daughter Francesca, made their journey to Canada in 1921. They landed at St John, New Brunswick, with their destination listed as Kelowna. Angelo and Teresa established a small farm (KLO and Gordon Road), starting out in a small two room house. From 1930 - 1942 Angelo worked as a plasterer for Jose Rossi. In his later years, he was the water bailiff for the Mission Creek Water Users farming community.
Four more children were born in Kelowna: Ida (Edith), Mary, Angelina (Angie) and Reginald (Reg). Frances married Albert Daniel, a Kelowna farm machinery contractor, who helped the farmers with jobs like threshing. Edith married Robert (Bob) Harbricht, a carpenter. Mary married Don Fleming, an air conditioner installer. Angie married Ernest Busch, who started OK Builders. Reg, known as the Galloping Ghost in his lacrosse days, married Helen Heinzman. Reg worked for the department of highways. Angelo passed away in 1968 and Teresa in 1982. Both are laid to rest at the Immaculate Conception Cemetery on Casorso Road.
Filicaia, Tuscany, was the place of birth of the early Guidi family. It is located north of Lucca in a valley between the Appenimes and the Italian Alps along the beautiful Serchio Ribver. Ferruccio Pietro Guidi, the son of Enrico Guidi and Maria Rossi, was born in 1888. He met and married Maria Umile Coli in January 1911, in Filicaia. In 1912, after the birth of their daughter Isabella, Ferruccio left for Canada. In 1914, Umile joined her husband in Kelowna, leaving Isabella with her parents in Italy. In 1921, Umile and Ferruccio with their son Enrico (born in Kelowna in 1917) returned to Italy to establish a business. Renato (1923) and Lorenzo (1926) were added to their family. Due to the the political situation in Italy, Ferruccio sold his business and returned to Kelowna in 1926. His family followed in 1929.
Ferruccio worked for many years for Kelowna Building Supplies.
He had a passion for Opera. In Italy, he would travel to Lucca to see live performances. In Canada, every Saturday he would listen to “Live from the Met” from New York.
Maria Umile was given a lifetime membership in the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club. She was a gourmet cook of Florentine foods. Enrico served in the WW2 in the Ninth Armoured Regiment of the BC Dragoon in Italy and the Netherlands; he was present for the Liberation of the Netherlands. Upon his release he returned to work at Calona Wines and became a blender of wines, until his retirement. He was also a great softball pitcher in the thirties.
Audrey O’Malley, granddaugher of Ferruccio and Umile Guidi.
Antonio Truant, from Pordenone, Friuli, Italy married Maria and together they had four sons: Osvaldo (Oswald), Giuseppe, Leonardo (Leo) and Santo. Oswald was the first to immigrate from Italy, destined for Hosmer, BC in 1913. Leo followed in 1927 (to Cobalt, Ontario), Giuseppe in 1928 (Trail, BC) and Santo in 1948.
At age 24, Leonardo travelled from San Giorgio delta Richinvelda, Udine to Toronto for work. He ended up in Red Lake, Ontario where he worked for twelve years as a miner. He returned to Italy in 1931 to bring his wife, Maddalena (Lena) Angela, whom he had married by proxy, back to Red Lake. In 1941 he moved his family to Kelowna, where they bought a thirteen acre parcel of land on K.L.O. Road. Leo worked at the Simpson Sawmill until his retirement. Lena managed and worked the farm for many years. Two daughters were born: Mary (Brian Volpatti) in 1935 and Vanda in 1938. Leo was a very social person and, along with Lena, belonged to the Italian Club. They spent many evenings playing cards with friends. Leo loved to bowl and did so on a regular basis. The family belonged to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
When Santo arrived in Kelowna, he lived with his brother, Leo and his wife Lena, helping on their farm. Santo was a founding member of the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club and the Kelowna Bocce Club. Santo was a mechanic for the City of Kelowna, maintaining all the service vehicles for them. With this knowledge, he not only built and maintained his home, but was also always willing to give a helping hand to his friends and neighbours, with mechanical services. Santo's wife, Italia, was a great cook. She used all the vegetables and fruit from their garden to make delicious meals. Italia worked in the Packing Houses in Kelowna; it was not an easy job, but she enjoyed the camaraderie she established with her co-workers. Santo and Italia’s children, Yolanda, Mario and Nives, were all married in Kelowna. Yolanda and Nives still reside in town.
Mary Volpatti, Yolanda Wilderman and Nives Zvaniga.