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.
Pietro Nello Guidi, son of Amos Raffaelo Guidi and Assunta Dini, was born on September 26th, 1889 in Pontecosi, Lucca, Tuscany. He departed from Italy on February 3, 1912 with five friends from the vicinity. These 5 friends were: Angelo Guidi, Amos (jr) Guidi, Cesare A Bertucci, Carlo Cavani and Samuele Turri. They arrived in Kelowna at 3:30 pm on February 17th, 1912 and they formed a group known as the 6 Immigrants.
In 1920, my Nonno married Ersilia Pellini, who was born in 1888 in Borsigliana, Lucca, Tuscany. Through the efforts of Luigi and Camillo Rampone and Eduardo Quirico, my Nonna, and Clara and Rudolf Guidi, immigrated to Canada in May of 1919.
Pietro and Ersilia lived in Summerland and had three children: my mother, Sarah Guidi, my Aunt, Theresa Guidi, and my Uncle, Lionel Guidi. All three have now passed away, which leaves me as the oldest blood line of this Guidi family.
Darrell Scriver, Kelowna, BC
Joseph Ghezzi (Cleto Candido Desiderato Patrizio Brena)
Joseph Ghezzi, the twelfth child of Camillo Brena, was born in 1867 in the Veneto region of Italy. Unlike his father, Joseph had a restless spirit and went from one venture to another. In 1887 he joined the military and took part in the African campaign. Once there he constructed a mill and opened a transport agency. After a brief return to Italy in 1891, he headed to Tunis, Africa, where he worked on the railway. He also founded the Italian language newspaper, Corriere di Tunisi.
Joseph returned to Italy in 1892 and married Linda Gobbi of Milan. He obtained the franchise for Benz automobiles in Italy. Later he dabbled in various agricultural projects and finally settled in San Bonifacio, Veneto, where he raised a family of five - Clorinda, Cesare, Carlo, Clara and Camilla. He built a silk tie factory, using silk worms in the production of silk. He also became Mayor of San Bonifacio.
In 1912 he left Italy, arriving in Halifax, and then on to Manitoba, where he changed his name from Cleto Brenna to Giuseppe Ghezzi. In the Winnipeg area, he continued with his entrepreneurial and promotional ideas. Sons, Carlo arrived in 1921 and Cesare in 1924. Daughters, Clara and Camilla arrived in 1925. Clorinda remained in Italy. Joseph’s wife, Linda, passed away in Italy in 1922. In 1925, the North Italy Farmers’ Colonies, at Loette and Alonso (Manitoba), was incorporated with Joseph as the manager.
The first record of Ghezzi in British Columbia was in 1931. He had brought with him, samples of wine and cider, made at an experimental plant in Italy, from BC Fruits. In 1932, the Domestic Winery and By-products Ltd plant was opened in Kelowna. Originally, cull apples were used to make the wine but later, they were blended with concord grapes. That same year, an Italian professor brought machinery from Italy and collaborated with Joseph in the making of champagnes and sparkling wines.
By 1933, son Carlo was working as wine maker with Joseph and a staff of twelve. Wine production turned from apples to grapes under the new name of Calona Wines Limited. Twenty-five different wines were being produced, including St. John Sacramental wine and Calona Red. Eventually, Joseph moved on to Yakima and then to Morgan Hill, California, where he continued with his wine-making enterprises. In 1939, he returned to Italy to spend his last years with his daughter, Clorinda in San Bonifacio. He died in 1943 at seventy-six years of age.
Story condensed by D E Rampone from a story in the 71st report of the Okanagan Historical Society, 2007 by granddaughter Linda Ben-Hamida.
Carlo Cavani was born on November 4, 1883 in Filicaia, Lucca, Italy. He was one of the six ‘amigos’: (Angelo Guidi, Amos Guidi, Cesare A Bertucci, Pietro Guidi, Carlo Cavani and Samuele Turri) who left from Le Havre, France on February 3, 1912 on the ship: La Provence. They arrived in New York on February 10, 1912, with their final destination listed as Kelowna, BC.
In 1919, Carlo’s wife, Silvia Grassi and son, Daniele, born 1911, made their journey from Italy. Their final destination was listed as West Summerland and their contact was “husband, seven years in Canada”. Here daughter Lola (Lolly) Marie was born. The 1921 Canadian Census listsed Carlo, age 38, labourer, Silvia, age 34, son Daniel, age 9 and daughter Lola, age 10 months. Daughter Audrey was born later. Carlo was listed as a fruit grower on the 1945 Voter’s List and ‘retired’ on the 1968 list.
Daniel married Mary Louise Orton. He passed away in 1967 in New Westminster. Lola first married Anthony S Biollo and later, Glady Parker. She passed away in Vernon in 2017. Audrey married Cuzzocrea, an orchardist in Revelstoke.
Cesare A Bertucci is recorded as arriving in New York on February 10, 1912, along with friends Amos, Angelo and Pietro Guidi, Michele Rossi, Carlo Cavanni and Samuele Turri. All have Kelowna listed as their final destination. But, Cesare A is the only one listed as “RET CANADIAN” indicating he had been here earlier. In 1917, he reported to Camp Vernon where he was recruited to be part of then Canadian Forces, fighting in France. By 1921, he had returned to farming in Kelowna and married telephone operator, Mary Hubbard. They operated a dairy farm in the Ellison area until Cesare’s death in 1936. They had two children: Cesare Noel (Dorothy Fleming) and Melba Tremblay.
Cesare A Bertucci had a cousin in Italy, also named Cesare, who married Anna Cavani. Cesare and Anna had four sons, Antonio (Sandra Crocetti), Vince (Valentina Bolotski) and Alfonzo and Angelo who remained in Italy. Tony arrived in Kelowna in 1951 and worked as a shipper and fork lift operator at Calona Wines. They had two girls: Lorraine (Haines) and Anna (Thibault). Vince arrived in 1954 and was a local plaster and stucco contractor. Vince and Valentina had four children: Diane, Cesare, Theresa and Mark. Tony first met his cousin, Cesare A Bertucci, in Kelowna at a Knights of Columbus meeting, when Cesare’s name was called out during roll call.
Santo (Sandy) Giordano, the son of Nicolas Giordano and Agatha Spadafora, was born on August 4, 1893 in the province of Consenza, Calabria, Italy. A ship’s manifest has Santo arriving in New York on November 22, 1911, heading to Vancouver. Travelling with him were two of Agatha’s relatives: Giovanni Spadafora was on his way to meet his father, Ignazio and Andrea Gallo was on his way to meet his father, Carmine. Santo met Carmela (Mildred) Immaculata Gallo in Fernie, BC and they were married on June 26, 1920. Carmela was born May 27, 1899 in Spizanno, Picola, Cozemza, Calabria (now known as Casali del Manco). She came to Canada in 1901 with her grandfather, grandmother, and two uncles. Soon after their marriage the couple moved to Middletown, BC. Santo worked for the mine for a few years, tending to one hundred mine horses which he trained for the mine and for delivering coal to the households. His occupation on the Voters List was harness maker.
Santo and Carmela had five children in Middletown: Adelaide Rose (Lillian) in 1921, Mary Lorraine in 1922, Nicholas Albert in 1924 (he died of whooping cough at three months of age), Louis Arthur in 1925 and Raymond Anthony in 1927. They moved to Natal where they had three more boys; Robert Ralph (Bob) in 1929, Joseph Gary in 1932, and Charles Edward in 1935.
Carmela had some health problems, so the doctors advised the Giordanos to find a warmer and drier climate to live. In 1938 the opportunity arose to move to Kelowna. Unable to find work in Kelowna, Santo remained with his job in Michel until 1943 when he found a landscaping / vineyard foreman job in Kelowna. He was also known to prepare food for wedding banquets held at the church hall.
The 1953 Voter’s List had the family living in Prince Rupert with Sandy doing janitorial work at the Empress Hotel. By 1957, sons Raymond and Joseph were listed in Prince Rupert records, while Sandy and Carmella were back in Kelowna with Sandy again, working as a janitor. During his retirement years he was elected as the first president of the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club. Both Santo and Carmella died in 1971; Santo in Kelowna and Carmela in Delta. Both are buried in Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery.
Credit for the Santo and Carmela Giordano Story to Lily Hewer in the 2003 Giordano Reunion Book
Michele Vecchio was the first member of the Vecchio family to immigrate to Canada. He was born in 1880 in Grimaldi, Cosenza, Calabria and arrived in New York in 1910, with his final destination listed as Fernie, BC. According to a 1921 Manifest, his wife, Giuseppina Maio, arrived with her son, Giovanni Battista (born 1907) and daughter, Antonietta (born 1911). A third child, Albert, was born in Fernie, in 1922. Michele was a boiler room employee of the Crow’s Nest Pass Coal Mine in Fernie. He moved to Kelowna upon his retirement in 1949. Michele and Josephine are both at rest in Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery.
Giovanni Battista worked in Fernie. In 1927 he married May Hughes. He passed away in 1964 in Nelson.
Mariantonia Antonietta was born in 1908. She married Salvatore Porco in 1926 where he was working at the mine in Natal. They had two children: Gino Luigi and Carlo Ernest. Gino died in an accident in 1962, while working at the Crawford Sawmill. Carlo and his father ran Porco’s Pool Hall on Ellis Street.
Their third child, Albert, was born in 1922. Albert worked in the Crow’s Nest Company coal mines before coming to Kelowna in 1946. His first job in Kelowna was working in 'Cap' Capozzi's grocery store. He married Ida Russo in 1948 and together they built and operated 'Al's Cafe' in Winfield (Lake Country).
Albert was always involved in his community. From 1965 to 1975, he was the Director of the Winfield Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Independent Order of Foresters. He contributed to the start of the Winfield Volunteer Fire Department, as the first dispatcher. In 1975, he sold the café and focused on land development and building rental units. He came out of ‘retirement’ in 1981 to help his daughters run 'Cafe Bella Bimba’.
Albert and Ida were actively involved in the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club. Albert served as it's president from 1978-1980 and was instrumental in opening the bocce courts at the Parkinson Center. Albert Vecchio passed away in 2006, following Ida's death in 1999.
Michele Porco and Maria Manza, from Figline, Florence, Tuscany, Italy, had three children that all came to the Fernie area. Francesco (Frank) Porco arrived in 1910, Theresa in 1911 and Salvatore (Sam) in 1921. The 1921 Census for the mining town of Michel, BC, showed Theresa married Filippo (Phillip) Pugliese. Salvatore and Francesco Porco are listed as lodgers with Theresa and Phillip.
Theresa and Phillip had eight children: Stella, Emma, Jennie, Gus, Paul, Lilly, Liz and Joseph. Theresa ran the boarding house. Phillip was a pump-man at the local mine. Most of the children came to Kelowna in the early 1950s. They, or their spouses, are well known in Kelowna community. Names such as Ungaro (realty), Cozzetto (Kelowna Canadian Italian Club) and Pugliese (Pug’s Taxi), all have family connections to the Theresa Porco family. Theresa came to Kelowna, following Phillip’s passing in Michel. She passed away in Kelowna in 1950.
Salvatore Porco married Antonietta Marion Vecchio in 1926. Antonietta was born in Fernie in 1910. They moved to Kelowna in the 50s. They had two children: Gino Luigi and Carlo Ernest. Gino worked at the Crawford Sawmill. He died in 1962 in a mill accident. Carlo married Irene Elizabeth Schaefer. Carlo and Irene worked with Sam in operating Porco’s Pool Hall and Coffee Shop on Ellis Street. Salvatore passed away in 1966 and Antonietta in 1987.
Francesco Porco, born in 1893, was a firemen at the Elk River Colliery #9 mine in Fernie, BC.
Giovanni Battista (Roberto) Mattioda and Giulietta (Giulia) Moddio farmed in Castellamonte, Piemonte, Italy. They had three children: James (Jim), Battista and Pietro (Peter) Domenico.
Jim Mattioda arrived in the Grand Forks area in 1910 and married Orselina (Lina) Antonietto in 1925. After farming for a few years, Jim and Lina came to Kelowna in 1946 where they farmed. They had one son, Ed, who married Marg Heinrich. Jim passed away in 1979 and Lina in 1976.
Battista Mattioda came to Canada in 1905 at the age of 18. His destination was Lead City, South Dakota, a city formed after the finding of gold.
Peter Mattioda was born September 12, 1888. His manifest shows he arrived in New York in 1903, with a destination of Willisville, Illinois, a mining town of mostly Italian immigrants. By 1916, Peter was in Phoenix, BC, where he married Giuseppina (Josephine) Antonietta, also from Castellamonte, Italy. They came to Kelowna in 1946 where they also farmed.
Peter and Josephine had three children: Battista, Alvin and Andrew Peter (Andy). Battista died at a very young age. Alvin passed in 1994. Andy married Helen Walker in 1950. Andy worked for the city and Helen worked for Okanagan Telephone. Peter passed away in Kelowna in 1962 and Josephine in 1975. Both are laid to rest in the Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery.