Franco (Frank) Marcanio was the first son, born in 1937, to parents, Vittoriano Marcanio and Elena Ciaccia, in Celano, Abbruzzo, Italy. He had three sisters; Albina, Mariannina and Italia. They worked the land and kept animals to feed their family. Both of Franco’s grandfathers had travelled to North America to earn extra money to bring back to their families. His maternal grandfather, Angelo Ciaccia, made several trips to New York. Franco’s paternal grandfather travelled to Buffalo, New York. He made his first trip in the early 1900’s and made a second trip in 1914, but unfortunately, met an untimely death with a tragic accident upon his arrival. His wife in Italy passed soon after, leaving three orphaned children.
Franco and his sister, Albina, immigrated to Vancouver, Canada in September of 1956. He started working at various jobs, laying blacktop, working in a plastic factory and working for a tailor, making button holes and delivering coal to homes in Vancouver. Early in 1957, Franco secured a job with the CNR in Blue River, BC. He worked for the CNR for the next three years in various roles: railway maintenance, patrolman and section foreman. At this time, Franco became quite experienced at making tomato sauce and cooking spaghetti, which became his daily meal.
In January of 1960, Franco returned to Italy where he met and married the love of his life, Romilde (Romi) Maria Pantoli. They were married in April of 1960. Upon their arrival in Canada, they travelled to Kelowna, BC to meet Romi’s families (Ciancone and Rantucci).
In Kelowna, Franco began building terrazzo floors before working for Calona Wines. He retired 31 years later as the cellar supervisor, which is where he learned the skills of an excellent wine maker.
In 1967, Franco and Romi purchased a small acreage in the Glenmore Valley of Kelowna, where they raised daughters, Elena and Catia. They kept a garden, grew grapes, kept fruit trees and raised a few cows, horses, goats, turkeys, pigs and chickens.
Franco and Romilde still live in Kelowna today. They remain active members of the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club and the St. Pius X Catholic Church. They enjoy a full life surrounded by their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Elena Marcanio Tostenson
770 Lawrence Ave.