It was Pre-World War One and many years before our Dad, Emilio, was born, that his father also decided to leap the Atlantic Ocean from Italy to Canada seeking a more prosperous life in an unknown land with an uncertain future. Although both father and son worked in North Bay, it was Emilio who arrived solo in 1952 and settled in the growing North Bay Italian community in Post WWII. The young newlywed was sponsored for employment by John Rota at Aunt May’s City Bakery. Eventually in 1953, he was joined by his new bride Amelia and their two young daughters, ages three and two. Uprooted from her home, the week-long voyage on the ‘Vulcania’ immigrant passenger ship brought her and the girls to North Bay (from the port of Napoli) via Halifax and Montreal. Our loving parents, Emilio and Amelia cultivated their struggling new life, overcoming the language and culture differences as did many residents from the same Calabrian village who happily settled here. Hard working immigrants with hearts of gold are the backbone of this great city. Life was good and their courageous journey led them to be proud Canadian citizens by 1957.
Emilio continued to be a pillar of strength. He worked strenuously to support his family and it wasn’t his broken English but his strength of character and values that shaped our lives and his dealing with others. He was an avid gardener and always carefully maintained his plentiful vegetable, vines and shrubs. Emilio eagerly shared his gardening knowledge and could always be found with his seeds and watering can in hand. He also enjoyed his leisurely winemaking activities and regularly seemed to have a do-it-yourself project on the go. Through all the laughs, it was always his family and young grandchildren that made him happiest.
Our gentle and caring Mom, Amelia, devoted her life to ensuring that her five children were raised in the most devoted, faith-filled and caring environment. Over the years, our parents lovingly provided the upbringing based on the rich and amazing culture they left behind and maintained it with as much enthusiasm as they did learning to live in their new surroundings and environment. We will always be blessed with the grace of her tender hearted love. She continually instilled the value of faith and community. Amelia was a good friend to many and a lifelong member and executive of the Catholic Women’s League of Holy Name of Jesus Parish, a Davedi Club member, volunteer at St. Joseph’s hospital as well as being involved in various local groups, organizations and events.
Mama and Papa are shining examples of an irreplaceable generation that boldly forged a path and survived the cultural shift with the integrity, love and respect of their family and friends.
We and the nine grandchildren and many great grandchildren live our lives daily by their unconditional love and respect.
Con tanto amore infinito. We love you forever and always.
Fran Burman, Rose Murphy, Sue Lunnin, Nina Regimbald and Tony Biafore