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Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Europa Imports on Erie Street East. Courtesy of Pauol Governali
  In 1964, Giuseppe Governali arrived on a boat that docked on the east coast of Canada, at the port in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This long voyage took him from the small Sicilian town of Corleone in the province of Palermo, to the great opportunities the new world had to offer. From Halifax, Giuseppe, 19 years of age at that time traveled to Toronto, Ontario with his family that consisted of his mother and father, two older sisters and one younger brother. Giuseppe took whatever jobs were available to him ending up doing plaster walls and ceilings. This job required him to travel as far as New York City working on large high-rise buildings that are still standing today.

On August 21, 1971 Giuseppe was married to Giovanna. On August 19, 1972, two days before their first anniversary, Francesco Paolo Governali, their son, was born. Fifteen days later, Giuseppe, Giovanna and their newborn son, Francesco, moved to Windsor, Ontario.

They rented a small commercial unit on Erie Street and opened a business which they named Europa Imports. The store consisted of one table of merchandise displayed in the middle of the unit. The first day of the business, an old, very frail woman walked into the store and purchased one set of
Europa Imports,  inside the store. Courtesy of Pauol Governali
Europa Imports on Erie Street East. Courtesy of Pauol Governali
Europa Imports on Erie Street East. Courtesy of Pauol Governali

crystal ashtrays. The woman handed Giuseppe the first five dollars Europa Imports made. The woman left the store and Giuseppe, worried for the old lady, shortly followed her out to make sure she was OK. Giuseppe looked both ways across the street, but the lady was nowhere to be seen as if she had vanished into thin air. Today Giuseppe still believes that the old woman came into his business to bless his store.

Business was anything but good in the starting months. Giuseppe and Giovanna decided to move to a larger location if their business was to progress any further. Giuseppe did not want to move from the street. He found a building for sale. This building needed a lot of work. Every night after a long day of working plaster Giuseppe renovated the entire inside including electrical, plumbing, plaster walls and ceiling. This four-unit building consisted of two commercial units and two residential ones directly above.
Europa Imports was facing a dilemma. They expanded their product line, but still needed to find a product to complete the store. This is when the idea of the bomboniere as a secondary product line was introduced.

As Europa’s business expanded so did the Governali family. Maria Governali, Giuseppe and Giovanna’s second child was born. Giuseppe was working three jobs at the time. As time went on and the bomboniere business was constantly growing, Giuseppe gave up his plastering job.

Nine years after, a third child, Stefano, arrived in the Governali family. The family grew as well as Europa Imports. Giuseppe bought two existing houses on Erie Street and began to tear them down. Then they began the construction of the 12000 square foot building. The bomboniere was expanding, going from 200 samples to 2000. Many years later the Governali’s oldest son Paolo took an interest in the business. He worked beside his father learning the ways of the business. Giuseppe and Giovanna Governali are still involved in this growing business.

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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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