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.
Manitoba Italian Canadian Archival Committee Update
The Manitoba Italian Canadian Archival Committee (MICA Inc.) takes great pleasure in sharing with the community an update of its latest activities and accomplishments.
Our Oral History:
Since beginning its work in May 2018 the Archival Committee has interviewed and videotaped 63 immigrant elders in the Italian Canadian community of Manitoba.
The oral stories these individuals have provided in Italian, dialect or English, have enriched the history of our community. Stories of childhood memories in Italy, the courage and sacrifices during and after the war, the reasons for leaving their homeland, the adventures of crossing the Atlantic, the arrival and its first hardships, the accomplishments and personal and career successes, all these stories and more help reveal the vibrancy of a people whose deepest wish was to improve themselves and the lives of those they loved.
The process to edit and make these videos ready for the Manitoba Archives has begun with the hiring of a video editor and graphic artist.
Our Textual History:
The second component of the work undertaken by the Manitoba Italian Canadian Archival Committee was to amass and catalogue the textual material (pictures, posters, booklets, newsletter, etc.) that would reveal the contributions and accomplishments of the various clubs/associations / and foundations established over the years. This material is then made archival-ready by a professional archivist before it is entrusted to the Manitoba Archives for permanent preservation.
We are pleased to announce that several boxes of club material have already been submitted and are now housed at the Manitoba Archives.
The Manitoba Italian Canadian Archival Committee encourages, individuals, clubs and associations who have precious material (pictures, event posters, Folklorama programs, event tickets and other textual memorabilia) to inform the Archival Committee so that this material may be preserved in the secure location of the Manitoba Archives in order to inform the world of the extensive accomplishments and contributions of the Italian Canadians of Manitoba.
On behalf of the four enthusiastic volunteer women who constitute the Manitoba Italian Canadian Archival Committee, I would like to thank the Government of Manitoba and the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge for their financial contribution.
Caterina (Bueti) Sotiriadis, president, Manitoba Italian Canadian Archival Committee
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)
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
|Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser
|Outstanding Philanthropic Organization
|The Asper Foundation
|Outstanding Large Philanthropic Organization
|McDonald Restaurants of Manitoba
|Outstanding Service Organization
| Sons of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge Inc.
It was a truly special day to be recognized with such a prestigious group, and we wish to thank the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Manitoba the the amazing honour.
Below is a 2 minute video made by Cleave Films for the award ceremony.
It was admittedly a bit strange though; it is usually us presenting cheques, awards and scholarships -- very different to be on the receiving end. Thank you from all of our members who have worked so hard to raise funds, select deserving recipients and give away over a million dollars in our past 10 years.
A special thank you to our friends at St. Boniface Hospital Foundation for nominating us for this award. We have worked with them in the past and they are a wonderful group of very dedicated people!
The Metropolitan Event Centre was a great venue for this luncheon and awards ceremony.
2015 Winners (L-R): Doug Harvey, McDonalds Restaurants, The Asper Foundation, Ace Burpee, Franco Petrelli (President, Sons of Italy Garibaldi Lodge)
President Franco Petrelli accepts the award on behalf of Order Sons of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge
Sons of Italy members in attendance receive generous applause.
By John Giavedoni
Published in the Winnipeg Sun, April 1, 2015
Sons of Italy has donated over one million dollars into the Winnipeg community over the past 29 years, with most of it in the past 12 years. Not included in that million-dollar figure is the $100,000 we gave away on March 14th. You see, we are now working on our second million!
What sort of massive organization has been assembled to create this fundraising dynamo? None. We are a small fraternal group, with only about 100 members and no staff.
What we lack in numbers or paid resources, we make up in passion for giving to those less fortunate and a passion for getting it done.
From our ranks, we put together a committee of about 25. That’s 25 men. We talk about starting early each year, but planning is not our thing. Getting it done is what we do, and we’ve been getting it done, with the generous help of our sponsors and the many of you who have attended our Gala.
How about you? Is there a way your group can give to the community? Are you volunteering your time? If each of us does something, our community will be a better place. If we can do it, you can too!
2016 is our 30th year. We will get it done, and it’ll be big. After all, we’re working on donating our second million!
By John Giavedoni
Published in the Winnipeg Sun, January 15, 2015
I have been privileged to be on the Sons of Italy scholarship committee for many years. Each year, our committee reviews the applicants for the Sons of Italy scholarships, awarded to two students of Italian origin entering post-graduate institutions.
As we review the mark transcripts, the letters of reference and the submissions detailing their community involvement, it is always with the same emotion – pride. Year after year we review applications from such amazing students. Yes, they have great marks, but they are so engaged in the Italian and general community in terms of language studies, involvement in the arts, participation in sports and giving time to volunteering. They are articulate, hard working and focused on a career and community.
I think back to that time in my life. My marks were good, but I think I was more focused on girls than on community and career!
We are very proud to announce that Alexander Loscerbo (left in picture) and Elizabeth Grande (middle) have each been awarded the Sons of Italy 2014 Scholarship, and $2,000. Adrianna Racano (right) has been awarded the La Lupa di Roma 2014 Scholarship and $1,000.
Congrats to our winners!
The recent attacks of two Canadians soldiers have shaken many of us. They were killed while doing the job they had chosen: proudly serving in the Canadian military.
The irony and symbolism was unmistakable in the second incident where a reservist was shot at a monument which honours the sacrifices of the men and women in Canada’s Armed Forces. He was gunned down while mounting a silent, respectful and unarmed vigil at the Canadian War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa.
Sons of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge has been particularly struck by this event. Noting that 24 year old Nathan Cirillo’s background is Sicilian and that the single father has left behind his 6 year old son, Marcus, it was a swift and easy decision for us to donate $500 to the Marcus Cirillo Trust.
This trust was setup by the Argyll Regimental Foundation on behalf of Corporal Cirillo’s regiment, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, and True Patriot Love, with all monies going to support Marcus Cirillo.
The TD Bank has generously set up a trust account for Marcus (pictured at left at his father's funeral) so that individuals anywhere in Canada may also make a direct contribution at their local bank (TD Bank, Transit # 2221, Account #6391935).
Should others wish to join us, you can make a contribution at a local bank, or you can donate to the Marcus Cirillo Trust Fund online by credit/debit card on our donations page.
Our feelings are best expressed by the prayer read by Brigadier-General J.M.Fletcher, Chaplain General of the Canadian Armed Forces, on November 11, 2014 at the National War Memorial in Ottawa:
“From the violence that transformed this national memorial of military sacrifice into a place of military sacrifice, a place where an unknown soldier and a soldier now known to us all, lay side by side in death having accepted to bravely stand on guard for our nation, and for its values, rights and freedoms.
And we remember the thousands of others who have similarly stood and served and sacrificed.
May they rest in peace. And may the memory of their sacrifice and the sacrifice of all those who continue to serve, inspire us to do our part so that our world works towards peace.”
The Sons of Italy Garibaldi lodge held our 2nd annual President’s Reception on March 7th 2014. This was a very special evening whereby our Gala Title Sponsor RBC, platinum and gold sponsors, SOI National President, CIBPA National President, Honourary Co Chairs, Gala Committee, our Charity of Choice CancerCare Manitoba, Father Sam and our honourable Past Presidents came together in one beautiful room for “one to one” discussion.
National President of the Order Sons of Italy of Canada, Josie Cumbo spoke about how significant the Garibaldi lodge is in what they accomplish for both the Italian and Winnipeg community. Our CIBPA National President, Bob Sacco then spoke about what CIBPA collectively in Canada has achieved in providing very significant scholarships and donations to Italian causes. Rob Johnston of RBC was presented with an honourary membership to CIBPA National and CIBPA Winnipeg for his support of our Galas.
Past Presidents of the Sons of Italy Garibaldi Lodge were called up individually for presentation of a gold Sons of Italy ring to recognize the amazing accompishements each had contributed to our lodge over the past 28 years. It was truly an electric and yet genuine atmosphere in the room that was an amazing prologue to the main Gala story that would unfold the following night.
We are proud to announce that the feature charity for the 2014 Sons of Italy Gala will be CancerCare Manitoba. Cancer affects almost all of us in some way, either with being inflicted, or knowing someone who has battled cancer. CancerCare Manitoba provides many programs and services that are not covered by Manitoba Health.
Sons of Italy have also contributed to CancerCare Manitoba through the Challenge for Life walk. We have enrolled a team in each of the past four years, and in total have raised almost $125,000.
The following video will tell you why we are involved with CancerCare.
Through its various fundraising activities, CancerCare Manitoba Foundation is this year expected to grant $5.2 million to CancerCare Manitoba for research (62%) and patient care support / training (16%). All of the funds raised at our Gala will go directly to provide cancer treatment or research in Manitoba.
Please support CancerCare Manitoba by participating in our 28th annual Gala. The best way to participate is to be a sponsor of the event, and know that your funds are directly helping with programs for Manitobans battling cancer. There are many sponsorship opportunities at various levels.
You can also get involved by advertising in our 72 page full colour dinner program. And of course, you will want to be there, as this is THE gala event of the year. Purchase your tickets online today - we have sold out the past 9 years, so don't delay.
We are pleased to announce the winners of our annual Sons of Italy Garibaldi Lodge Scholarships, twin sisters Alessandra Baksina and Rosie Baksina. Each will be receiving $2,000 towards their post-secondary education.
Chair of the Sons of Italy Scholarship Committee, Cosmo Racano, announced the winners and said both sisters were ecstatic on hearing the news. Two scholarships are given each year to students of Italian descent who graduated grade 12 with plans to enter university or college.
Alessandra Baksina was on the honour roll at Glenlawn Collegiate for four years and is currently in the direct entry program at the University of Manitoba through the Asper’s School of Business – working toward a degree in business, majoring in both international business and marketing in the retail industry.
Rosie Baksina is currently studying at University of Manitoba where she plans to focus her studies on psychology. An honour roll student in high school, she has been involved in the Italian community by volunteering at Folklorama and through her dancing with the Sons of Italy Splendore D’Italia Folk Dancers.
“I am sincerely grateful for the scholarship Sons of Italy has awarded me and I can’t wait to take on the work force as a successful business woman.”
More information on our various scholarships, and information on past winners can be found in our scholarship section.
On Tuesday, December 24th, 2013, Sons of Italy held the eighth annual Christmas Eve Feast for approximately 450 people from Winnipeg's West End.
Working in conjunction with our major sponsors X-Cues Billiards and Café, Sorrento’s on Ellice and the West End BIZ, the Feast was our biggest ever! The dinner featured both traditional and Italian favorites and was served at X- Cues, 551 Sargent Avenue. Food was served from 11:30 a.m. to about 2:00 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus were there to add to the festivities.
The dinner is a small way to help those in the community who may find this time of year difficult by providing a hot meal, entertainment and company to share it with. Some experienced their first Christmas in Canada and for others it provided their only holiday meal. Along with the plentiful feast provided, everyone left with a gift bag full of treats.
This heartwarming event beautifully demonstrates the spirit of Christmas in the vibrant West End of Winnipeg. Sal Infantino, owner of X-Cues says: “Seeing the appreciation and joy on everyone’s face is the best gift. I can’t imagine doing anything else on Christmas Eve”.
Event co-chairs Reno Augellone and John Giavedoni from Sons of Italy agree, saying “Christmas is a special time of giving for Italians and we appreciate being able to help the multicultural people in this community.”
We are again amazed at the outpouring of generosity by many local businesses that have stepped forward to make this Christmas Eve Feast an annual tradition, and would like to thank and acknowledge the list of amazing donors -- they make this wonderful event possible -- thank you very much!Finally, we want to thank the many volunteers that are not only on-site the day of the event (click on pic above), but those that help with advance set-up, shopping, deliveries and planning - their hard work and dedication at a very busy time of year is appreciated beyond what words can express.
With what has become an annual tradition, Sons of Italy Garibaldi Lodge with Santa and the elves leading the way and La Befana close at their heals celebrated Christmas with the children of the Dante Alighieri Italian language school.
Dante Alighieri had their annual Christmas event at the Centro Caboto on December 14th. The sounds of singing children rung through the halls and all were excited with anticipation about what exciting surprises could come next!
It appeared a dashing yet wise Santa had traded in his old garments for a brand new Santa outfit! La Befana looked beautiful as usual as only she can (Santa is in love with la Befana but please don’t tell Mrs. Claus!).
This year we had eager elves Simon Cortens and Paul Bueti prancing in “Gangnam Style” with the ringing of Jingle Bells. One by one, the children lined up joyfully, ready to bounce up on Santa’s lap and open their gifts, donated by Sons of Italy. One of the elves had yet to earn his green tights and looked a bit sad until Santa cheered him up.
President Tat-Liang Fabio Cheam told all the children how special it was to give them gifts and how much we look forward to this magic day. Our past president, Cosmo Racano graciously donated his time to coordinate an amazing variety of gifts for all the children. The kids loved their gifts and so special thanks to Cosmo.
Alex Baksina is the real Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) and was sporting a new beard and mustache that made us all want to sing HO HO HO! John Giavedoni of our lodge was part of the North Pole Paparazzi team getting the award winning photos you see here.It was definitely a “Buon Natale” atmosphere sparkling throughout the hall with all awaiting what will come next year!
On Sunday evening, December the 8th, in sub -20 degree Celsius winter weather, the brothers (and sisters) of Sons of Italy braved the cold in the first annual Sons of Italy Sleigh Ride at the beautiful Birds Hill Park Ranch.
Fear not, for families and friends were warm as the horse drawn sleigh’s trail was through sheltering trees. Heat packs for fingers and toes provided warmth in the woods for many.
A hearty dinner of steak, potato, baked bean and garlic toast, was the perfect warming fuel for the belly. The winter warriors came prepared with wine for their steak dinner and hot drinks (cider, coffee and Baileys) for the outdoor ride.
On this magical trip of the exciting unknown, children jumped from and chased the sleighs as partners cuddled within the hay, under the moon-lit sky and gently falling snow both the sleigh and time both seemed to fly. (more pictures)
Sons of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge was honoured to receive the “Great Friend to Kids Award” by the Manitoba Children’s Museum for our contributions to children
The award is issued to organizations that contribute significantly to children in Manitoba. The Garibaldi lodge was acknowledged for it’s contributions to many children charities and causes including: Winnipeg Harvest, Variety Club, Children’s Wish Foundation, Amadeus Steen Foundation, feeding many inner city kids at our own Christmas Eve Feast and funding to the Dante Alighieri for Italian Language studies.
Past recipients of this prestigious award include: Rick Frost (CEO, The Winnipeg Foundation), Wanda Koop (Artist and Founder of Art City), Kevin Chief (MLA), Abdikheir Ahmed (for his work with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba), Larry McIntosh and Rossbrook House,
The fun and exciting event took place Thursday October 3rd at the Children’s Museum at the Forks. John and Bonnie Buhler were the special guests and key sponsors along with Boom Done Next. Al Simmons put on a very entertaining show that was fun for the “kid” inside of us.
Tat-Liang Fabio Cheam (SOI President) graciously accepted the award on behalf of all the brothers of the Sons of Italy. He acknowledged that our family includes our youth lodge (Leonardo Da Vinci) as well as our women’s lodge (La Lupa di Roma).
La Lupa di Roma president Maria Minenna and the Sons of Italy brothers were there climbing the play structures. In fact Lyle Misura was the first up the play house with Marnie Larkin and Joe Leuzzi applauding his abundant enthusiasm. Danny DiVito, Rena Molinari, Dino Petrelli, Julieta Petrelli, Franco’s mama, Mario Posillipo, Maria Minenna and Remo Aiello all posed for photos with hand drawn smiley faces and mustaches to “cheese” things up and get a few laughs.
There was also political representation at the event with Vic Toews and Gord Steeves making their rounds and trying their hands at some of the kids games. Mario Posillipo looked sharp as usual and enjoyed some of the colourful martinis as he chatted up the room.
All in all it was a very fun, “out of the box” kind of event with our Sons of Italy being recognized for all the efforts the lodge has provided over the years to the children of our community.
Hats off to all our Sons of Italy brothers for giving to all people including our children, our future!
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.
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!"
by Jared Story | Canstar Community News | original article
Every year, the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation runs Challenge for Life, a fundraising/awareness event whereby walkers commit to raising $1,000 for CancerCare Manitoba while also taking an active role in maintaining their physical health, thus reducing their risk of getting cancer by 50%.
This is Joe Leuzzi’s fourth year participating in Challenge for Life. His wife decided to take the Challenge after Leuzzi’s father was diagnosed with leukemia. The next year, Leuzzi joined her, along with his team, Sons of Italy.
In its fourth Challenge, Sons of Italy undefined a fraternal organization devoted to Italian heritage, community service and charity undefined has raised over $100,000 for CancerCare MB.
"After my dad was diagnosed, I would go to CancerCare and experience the treatment, the different people that work there and the facility itself and realize how lucky he was to have something of that quality right here in Manitoba," says Leuzzi, 42.
"It really motivates you to try and do what you can to ensure that same quality is given to everybody that needs it."
To fundraise for this year’s Challenge, Sons of Italy will be putting on an Italian-style Bud and Spud (that means a pig roast, pasta and Peroni Beer) at X-Cues’ Billiards & Cafe on May 10.
As far as the actual walk, Leuzzi says it’s always a challenge, but definitely worth it. "At about the 13-kilometre mark I start to wonder why I got myself into this, but then I start thinking about the pain and suffering that people going through cancer are going through and say ‘OK, we have to do those last few K’," Leuzzi says.
Leuzzi says halfway through the walk, one of his Sons of Italy brothers brings the entire team espresso. Caffeine is great, but Leuzzi says the real rejuvenation happens near the end of the Challenge.
"When you see the road that leads you into the park, you get a whole other burst of energy," Leuzzi says.
"It’s a great sense of accomplishment, an amazing feeling. I call it the million dollar day."
For more information on Challenge for Life call 204-927-LIFE (5433) and visit www.challengeforlife.ca
(reprinted from the Metro)
The 2013 Sons of Italy team raised almost $37,000 for CancerCare Manitoba, bringing the four year participation total to $137,000!
Great participation and a fantastic result - congratulations to all involved.