Manitoba's Italian-Canadian Community History Is Safe
Our History is Stored at Manitoba Archives

Caterina Sotiriadis
President, Manitoba Italian Canadian Archival Committee

On Monday, April 15, 2024 at 10:00 am, the Manitoba Italian Canadian Archival Committee, consisting of Cristina Campomanes (Vice President), Anna Dell’Acqua (Treasurer), Eliana Handford (Secretary), and Caterina Sotiriadis (President) handed over to the Manitoba Archives 101 videotaped interviews of many of the immigrant elders of the Italian-Canadian community of our province.

As well, several boxes full of historical documents, pictures, posters and albums that reflect the many contributions and accomplishments of our community were also given for preservation. (see picture)

For a full description of how the project unfolded and came to completion, please access the Transformations Canada website, or click here.

The Manitoba Italian Canadian Archival Committee would like to thank the Order of Sons and Daughters of Italy for their support. 

We hope that those who come after us take up the torch and continue the preservation of our history and contribution to Manitoba.

Picture, Left to right: Cristina Campomanes, Caterina Sotiriadis, Eliana Handford, Stephanie Friesen( Manitoba Archives), Anna Dell’Acqua

PM issues apology for Italian Canadian internments in WWII

Today on May 27, 2021, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau issued an apology for the internment of Italian Canadians during World War II.

The Order of Sons and Daughters of Italy, the National Congress of Italian Canadians,  and the National Federation of Canadian Italian Business Professional Association have been working tirelessly, for close to 40 years, towards an official and formal apology from the Government of Canada with respect to the treatment of Italian Canadians during the Second World War. Together, these three national organizations represent 1.6 million Italian Canadians. 

On June 10th, 1940, over 17,000 families of Italian origin were declared enemy aliens and required to report at least once a week to the RCMP or authorized government reporting centers including men, women, and children. This caused irreparable damage and a grave injustice with many being interned in camps across the country. 6000 were arrested and over 600 were imprisoned; some for up to 3 years, without ever being charged. The entire Italian Community was humiliated by the unjust elements of discrimination and harassment. To this day, descendants of these individuals continue to come forth, for some sort of closure. 

Acknowledging the historical injustices that those of Italian origin endured in Canada during this dark time in Canadian history, creates a path towards closure and a final chapter to the endless story of these families. The Internment caused irrevocable harm and hardships not only to the families but to whole communities who suffered ongoing discrimination. 

On behalf of the many families and the Italian Canadian communities affected and its respective memberships, the National Congress of Italian Canadians, the Order of Sons and Daughters of Italy, and the National Federation of Canadian Italian Business Professional Associations, graciously accept this formal apology by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Canada and the Government of Canada. 

Let us now embark on the task of educating Canadians about these events thereby ensuring that they are never repeated. 

Legacy Award Winners

Sons of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge annually gives two Legacy student awards of $2,000 each to students of Italian origin entering or attending post-secondary education. Please join us in sending congratulations to Francesca Silla and Lucas Mosienko for their outstanding academic achievements as well as their contributions to the Italian and Winnipeg communities!

Pictured below, our 2018 winners attended our February dinner meeting and were presented with their cheques.

(L-R): Mario Posillipo (VP), Berardino Petrelli (President, Garibaldi Lodge, Francesca Silla, Carmine Zirino (VP)

(L-R): Mario Posillipo (VP), Berardino Petrelli (President, Garibaldi Lodge, Lucas Mosienko, Carmine Zirino (VP)

Garibaldi Lodge Membership Now Open to Women

Winnipeg - December 13, 2018

Sons of Italy Garibaldi Lodge is well known for its charitable efforts throughout our Province and have contributed over $2.1 million to various charitable organizations to enhance the lives of all Manitobans.  Together both the Garibaldi and Lupa Di Roma lodges have worked tirelessly on many of these philanthropic and community outreach efforts. 

In order to ensure the organization grows for future generations this move was necessary.  We now can ensure all sisters and brothers experience equality in the Winnipeg Chapter Garibaldi Lodge.

The official vote to transform the club to be a gender-neutral organization occurred last week.  “I am so proud that during my term as President we have taken this transformative step to be better aligned with our community,” said Tom DeNardi, President, Sons of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge

In the coming months the Order Sons of Italy of Canada, the national organization that we are a member of, plans a review of the organizations name to better reflect the steps all Canadian clubs have taken to be fully inclusive.

“I grew up with the Sons of Italy as part of my life and have been a member of Lupa Di Roma lodge for years.  I am extremely proud of our men’s lodge for taking these steps.  I am looking forward to working with my brothers of Italy to continue our traditions of philanthropy and service.” said Franca Bueti


Coverage in the Winnipeg Sun

New at St. Boniface Hospital: the Sons of Italy Laboratory!

St-Boniface Hospital Foundation hosted a beautiful reception in the Research Centre atrium on September 19th.  The reception was to thank Sons of Italy for the generous $100,000 donation to the Canadian Italian Tissue Engineering Laboratory (CITEL).

The reception featured delicious food and wine, followed by an amazing team of doctors who described the research that has started, what will follow, and how CITEL could be a game-changer in the field of heart repair.  All were genuinely grateful for our hard work on the Gala and the resulting donation.

The evening ended with and unveiling of a plaque that will soon be mounted at the Winnipeg CITEL lab, designating the new name of the lab: the Sons of Italy Garibaldi Lodge Laboratory.

It was a proud evening for the many Sons of Italy members in attendance.

[more details on the reception, and more pictures]

Rossbrook House: "Grad Italiano"

Rossbrook House is a drop in centre for children and youth in the inner city that offers a constant alternative to the destructive environment of the streets.

In addition to a wide range of cultural, drop-in and leadership programs aimed at area youth, the centre offers an alternative school aimed at students who seem lost, withdrawn, or have become a non-attenders; those academically able but may have lower skills due to non-attendance; and those economically disadvantaged.  Three alternative programs are run by Rossbrook House and the Winnipeg School Division:  an off-site elementary program for aboriginal students in Grades 3-6, a junior high program at Hugh John MacDonald Junior High, and a high school program at Gordon Bell High School.

Every June, graduating students from the three alternative programs, are honoured and celebrated. The atmosphere is electric. This moment of remembering their achievements and supporting their next steps is often shared by more than 150 people. Families, extended families, friends, school personnel all gather round the children and youth to witness their journey and encourage them forward.

Celebrations at Rossbrook  House always include a meal and for the past five years, the Sons of Italy graciously – not only provide the food, but in the words of Phil Chiappetta (Co-Executive Director) "show up as a community in the circle of support, to serve it with a smile and a good wish. Needless to say, everyone loves the lasagna, salad and bread that is provided." Going up for seconds is a tradition!
"We are deeply honoured by this great gift" says Maria Vigna, Co-Executive Director.  "The Sons of Italy are like family coming to share in a very important moment and creating the warmth and care that comes from a shared meal. Thank you for what you do in creating beauty- the beauty of community, of helping us to break bread and of caring!"

Order Sons and Daughters of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge

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