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Saturday, May 18, 2024
  Massive waves of Italians came to Canada especially after World War II. They created an expanded Italian neighborhood in the main cities. The new immigrants' needs for housing, a job, and friendship, found an answer in the Italian community, which grew more by answering those needs. Large ‘Italian’ areas were built up through chain migration. Knowing little of the
Click here to see details   country to which they were immigrating, immigrants generally

followed pathways laid down by those who preceded them. Given the strong attachments which Italians had to their extended family and fellow paesani in their home country, whole city blocks would be inhabited by groups from specific Italian towns or regions. (Clifford J. Jansen. Italians in a Multicultural Canada, 1989)

They created "Little Italies" similar to their country of origin . Everyone could find food, clothing and similar Italian stores, many of these bearing the name of different regions of Italy. The churches had services in the Italian language. Many schools had a majority of Italian pupils. Italians began to have their cinemas, halls, clubs, travel and real estate agencies, etc. The famous Italian restaurants attracted a large number of Canadians.
"Little Italies" are places of attraction for everyone.

Today walking down "Via Italia" in Windsor is like walking down any busy city street in Italy: it is bustling, friendly, animated -- Italian in spirit and in joyful hospitality. It was the church of St. Angela Merici that brought the concentration of Italians into a “Little Italy” in the Erie Street area, also known today as “Via Italia”. It serves as a combination stage-square for pageants, religious festivals, bicycle races and a general gathering place while offering a taste of Italian life with its various cafes, restaurants and shops. (Walter Temelini. The Italian Cultural Presence in Windsor, 1920-1990, The Luminous Mosaic, 1993)

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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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