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Monday, July 22, 2019
 
 
  Born in Zoppola, Pordenone, Italy, Antonio Colautti came to Canada in 1913. He first settled in Montreal where he met and married his wife, Maria Costaperaria, with whom he later had four sons and two daughters: Garry, Norman, Walter, John (later Rev. John), Enes and Alice.

In 1919, Antonio Colautti, along with his wife and his brother John, moved to Windsor and with their brother-in-law, John Costaperaria (John Costa) and Anthony Collussi, they bought Bertini Tile and Terrazzo, and a year later incorporated Colautti Brothers as cement and sewer contractors.
Courtesy of Colautti Brothers, www.colauttibros.com
   
 
They quickly expanded the company to include ceramic tile and terrazzo for both residential and commercial projects. The company was first located at 612 Langlois Ave. The business grew as it hired new immigrants who came to the area, helping them to make a start here in Canada. One of those individuals was Baldo Camilotto, a Terrazzo craftsman who joined the company in 1923.
 
Keystone Contractors working on the Queensway.
Courtesy of Alice Kurosky, P10793.
  Baldo Camilotto began his craft at the age of 12, in 1906, after finishing school in the Province of Udine, Italy. He went with his uncle to Prague, Czechoslovakia, to learn mosaic tile and terrazzo work through a three-year apprenticeship. He was a soldier for the Italian army in the First World War, served in the Alpine Regiment and was decorated for heroic action. In 1921, after working in Detroit for two years, he moved to Windsor.When he joined as
    manager of tile and terrazzo, the
company was still using horses kept in a barn behind the office in a building at Langlois Ave. and Tuscarora. His daughter, Clorinda, married Bruno Nicodemo, who later became the owner of Colautti Brothers. Their son, David, is the current President of the company.
 

Courtesy of Alice Kurosky P10794
  Due to the Italian name of their company, it became increasingly difficult to procure government grants thanks to the fascist regime in Italy in the 1930s. It was, therefore, decided in 1930 to create a new entity – Keystone Contractors comprised of the same individuals who ran Colautti brothers. Keystone Contractors handled the heavy construction projects while Colautti Brothers became a subsidiary, specializing in tile and terrazzo. Keystone became a major contractor to the Ontario Department of Highways during the 1930's. Projects included the Highway No. 2 reconstruction between Tilbury and Chatham and construction of the final link of No. 2 between Montreal and Windsor, from Belle River Side road to Windsor There were also many sewer
    projects which the company was a part of in
Ottawa, Toronto and Barrie. Keystone Contractors was also involved in mining projects, including a patented method of recovering gold from granular deposits. During the wartime years, business at the company continued to flourish and grow, expanding to 300 employees.
 
 
Colautti family in 1963. Antonio is in the centre, with wife Maria, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Wayne Colautti is at the far right. Courtesy of Alice Kurosky, P10796.
 

They also expanded across the province. In the 1930s, they began to work in Ottawa and in 1953 Antonio’s son, Walter, opened a Colautti company branch there which still is in existence today as Colautti Construction.

In 1947, they moved the company to a new location at 2490 McDougall. Antonio’s other son, Garry, worked for Keystone Contractors west of Toronto and became president of the company after his father. Norman Colautti, Antonio’s son, who was injured in the war, became president of Colautti Bros. in Windsor.

In 1964, Colautti Brothers introduced carpeting as it continued to boom in residential and commercial construction. Some of the major local projects that the family was involved in were St. Angela Merici Church’s addition, the 401, Casino Windsor and the Devonshire Mall.

Over the years families grew, and while some remained in the business, many others wished to pursue their own paths. By 1960, there were 25 shareholders, only six of whom held the Colautti family name. By the 1970s, it was decided that the business should be sold. In 1973, Bruno Nicodemo, who had joined the company 20 years earlier and had been a shareholder for many years, purchased Colautti Brothers. Keystone Contractors was purchased by a Montreal based organization.
In 1980, Colautti Bros. moved to its current location on Howard Ave.

In 1973, Antonio’s grandson, Wayne Colautti, began his own flooring company – Unique Flooring - located at 5365 Outer Drive which continues to be run by members of the Colautti family as it has been for the past 31 years.

 
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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

 

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