Ernesto Bianco was born on January 28, 1887 in Montigrosso, Italy to Guiseppe and Guiseppina Bianco. Sabina Chiola was born on June 3, 1895 in San Stefano Belbo in the province of Cuneo, Italy, to Andrea and Luigia Chiola.
Ernesto came from a family that was well off. They owned a lot of land in Italy. Being one of the younger children, he did not inherit any land, so in 1919, he decided to leave and got a job on a ship. He went through the Panama Canal and headed up to Canada. He got a job working in the mines in Saunder’s Creek, Alberta.
Ernesto wanted a wife, so he went back to Italy in 1915. His marriage to Sabina was arranged. He brought her to Saunder’s Creek. Fred (Federico), Nina (Edzelina), Rudy (Renaldo), Paul (Palmo), Lon (Orlando), and Al (Alberto) were born in Alberta. Joyce and Ernie (Ernesto) were born in Kelowna, BC. While in Saunder’s Creek, the couple owned and ran a small B&B and bar. Sabina cooked while Ernesto worked in the mines, and ran the bar in the evenings. There were no schools in Saunder’s Creek, so all the children of the miners had to be sent to a boarding school, 100 miles away. The Cacchioni family was also here and heard that Kelowna was a place that was rich for farming and on a lake. They wanted their children with them, so the Biancos and Cacchionis all decided to move to Kelowna.
Ernesto bought a twenty-acre farm on Benvoulin Road. They grew grapes, onions, tomatoes, and asparagus and raised chickens, horses, cows and pigs. They had peach trees, pears, apples and cherries. Sabina made butter and sold it. Because it was the Great Depression, the older boys left to work and sent money back home.
Sabina was an exceptional woman with a heart of gold. She was very business savvy and sharp with numbers. She was very resourceful: sewed, baked, preserved, and worked till late at night working the farm and raising her children. Sabina always knew how to make money when times were hard.
Ernesto was not the easiest person to be married to. The early years of their marriage were good, but things became quite difficult when the Depression hit. He really enjoyed prospecting. He discovered oil, but it was too far down to get to. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, and he enjoyed making his own wine.
Both Sabina and Ernesto had beautiful voices and were often asked to sing at various gatherings when they were young. They belong to the Italian Club, and the members all pitched in and built the clubhouse for gatherings and events.
Sabina died on April 16, 1946 at 51 years old. Ernesto died on February 22, 1970 at 83 years old. They were both interned at the Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Kelowna.
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