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Thursday, June 20, 2024
Photo Courtesy of The Ontario Black History Archives
Windsor’s location as a border city was often a crucial factor in the immigrant’s decision to move here. The following story provides one such example.
This write-up is a reproduction from the Cranbrook Schools Newsletter, published September 9, 2004, as a courtesy of Guy Di Ponio.

“I am writing this note, however, to explain the role Cranbrook played in re-uniting a family. My grandfather, Marco Di Ponio, emigrated from central Italy in the early 1900s through Ellis Island and found his way to Detroit. The Di Ponios, Vettrainos

and several other Italian families found steady, secure employment at Cranbrook, in Michigan as gardeners and landscapers. As a result, Marco was able, in the early 1950s, to sponsor my parents and me to immigrate to Windsor, Ontario. We left a war-ravaged hilltop home near Cassino, Italy, and found our way to Windsor in 1951. We were not able to gain immediate entry into the USA, and thus remained in Windsor. My grandfather remained at Cranbrook until he retired in 1955. During his many years at Cranbrook, in Michigan, I remember taking the long bus ride to Cranbrook from the tunnel to visit and tour the grounds with my grandfather. My most vivid memories were of riding the fire engine and walking the expansive grounds, marveling at the surrounding beauty.

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