Louis Calsavara was born in Windsor,
Ontario on January 19, 1928. He was the third child of Ottorino
and Rosa Calzavara. His father, Ottorino, had immigrated to Canada
in 1913 from their native country of Italy, returned in 1923,
and came back to Canada shortly thereafter with Rosa. They remained
life long residents of Windsor from that time until their deaths
in the late 1960’s. Lou’s two sisters, Antoinette
Carmella Sartori, still reside in Windsor.
Lou attended De LaSalle School from grades one through eight
and then went to W. D. Lowe to study a trade, Machine Shop & Tool
and Die. Lou spent his summers working alongside his father at
the Windsor airport.
In 1946, at the age of 18, he graduated from Lowe and got a
job at Windsor Tool and Die. Shortly thereafter, he began to court
his future wife Danila, whom he married in 1949. Lou and Danila
settled in the East end of Windsor on Ellrose Avenue. By 1955
they had welcomed three daughters into their family, Rosemary,
Linda and Beverly. Their son, Louis Jr., arrived in 1961. Lou,
along with co-worker and friend, Ernie Luciano, started Center
Tool and Mold Co. Ltd in May of 1955. The focus of the company
was to manufacture injection molds and die-casting dies. In
1960, the partners built a new, state-of-the-art, shop on Central
Avenue which allowed them not only to hire additional workers,
often newly arriving Italians but also to increase production.
The firm continued to grow under the direction of Lou and Ernie.
By 1968, sales had grown to over one million dollars per year.
In 1964, along with family members, Lou set up Telso Products,
a toilet seat manufacturing operation, which later was sold to
Olsonite. In 1970, Center Tool purchased Windsor Pallet Manufacturing
moving it to a 6-acre lot on North Talbot Rd. In 1972, Lou turned
his attention to running the Pallet business and looking for
additional businesses for Center Tool to invest in, one of which
was CanAm Tools of which Center Tool purchased 70%. In 1975,
following the death of his original partner, Ernie Luciano, Lou
decided it was time to move on from Center Tool. Declining his
right of first offer to purchase Ernie’s shares assuring
his continued majority in the company, Lou instead sold his shares,
plus ownership of Windsor Pallet Manufacturing and CanAm Tools
in return. In 1982, Lou purchased the other 30% of CanAm making
him the sole owner and once again back in the Tool and Mold Business
Life during the late 1970s and early 1980s was very busy and
satisfying for Lou as he ran both businesses. In 1983, his son,
Lou Jr., took over the operations of the Pallet business, ultimately
buying his father and sisters out to become sole owner.
Today, at the age of 77, Lou still spends several hours each
day in his office at CanAm Tools. He suffered a stroke in 2001,
which has slowed him down a bit but not enough to retire. Lou
and Danila’s three surviving children and their families
all live in Windsor. Linda and Lou Jr. live in Windsor while
Beverly is in London. Sadly, their eldest daughter, Rosemary,
lost her battle with cancer in 1997. He and Danila now have 10
grandchildren and have just recently welcomed their first great-grandchild.
They spend most of the winter at their home in Deerfield Beach,
Florida. When in Windsor, they enjoy golfing at Essex Golf and
Country Club where they have been members since 1984 and enjoying
the company of their family and long-time friends, many of them
fellow Italians from the early days. They are both proud of their
Italian heritage and of what they have contributed to the Italian
community in Windsor.