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Faces of the Italian community

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Frank Mariaggi

Born in Corsica in 1847, he came to Manitoba with the Red River Expedition. He stayed and worked as a chef in Winnipeg before converting a building on McDermot Avenue into the Mariaggi Hotel in 1903. The hotel featured private dining rooms in a basement grotto that resembled a cave in Corsica. He returned to Corsica in 1908 and served as mayor of his city and later Consul-General for Italy in Corsica. He died in 1918.


Jack Cancilla

He was born in Italy in 1887 and came to Winnipeg when he was nine with his parents. He started as a water boy with CN Rail and later opened the Venice Café on Portage Avenue with his brother. He later opened Jack's Golden Gate Café. He was also a boxing promoter and brought world championship boxing to the city including fighters such as Jack Dempsey. He managed Frank Battaglia, a former Manitoba middleweight champion. Cancilla died in 1942.


Leonardo Emma, Giuseppe "Joseph" Panaro, Agostino "Bill" Badali and Giuseppe "Joe" Badali

They were Sicilian immigrants who ran the Olympia Café on Portage Avenue at Smith Street. They bought the property behind the café on Smith Street in 1910, and three years later built the first three storeys of a planned nine-storey building they were going to call the Olympia Hotel. The hotel project stopped because of poor economic conditions before the First World War, and during the war what had been completed was used to house soldiers. Six more floors were added to the building in 1921 and the hotel's name was later changed to the Marlborough Hotel.


Frank Battaglia

He was born in Winnipeg in 1910. After being advised by boxer Jack Dempsey, he turned professional and even though he never won a world championship, he was considered one of the best middleweight boxers in the world. He lost championship fights in 1933 and 1936. He retired and moved to California, but later managed a restaurant in Winnipeg. Later still, he returned to California where he died in 1971.


Tony Tascona

He was one of the first artists in Canada to paint on aluminum. His work includes murals inside the Centennial Concert Hall and the stabiles inside the lobby of the Manitoba Law Courts, the St. Boniface Research Hospital and the Freshwater Institute. There is a permanent retrospective of his work at the University of Manitoba's faculty of law. His art is in the permanent collections of several museums, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Confederation Centre, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Glenbow Museum. He was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1996. A junior baseball player, he was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.


Art Mauro

He was born in Thunder Bay and was a lawyer in Winnipeg before moving into the corporate world. He was president, chief executive officer and chief operating officer of Investors Group Inc. through the 1980s, before restarting his law career. He initiated the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at St. Paul's College at the University of Manitoba. He has been chairman of the federal Transportation Industry Advisory Committee, St. Boniface General Hospital and the Winnipeg Art Gallery Foundation. He has also been director of Canadian Airlines International, Atomic Energy of Canada, Canadian Pacific Hotels and the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. He has been honoured with the Order of Canada, the Order of Manitoba and the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt. He is also an honorary colonel to the Canadian Forces' School of Aerospace Studies and received the Manitoba Aviation Council's 2011 Pioneer of Flight Award.


Samuel Loschiavo

He is an entomologist whose inventions have helped Canada produce and export high-quality grain. He graduated from the University of Manitoba, and while doing research at the Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada Research Station at the university, he found ways of protecting stored cereal products. He is a former president of the Entomological Society of Canada. He is co-founder of the Italian Canadian League of Manitoba and Folklorama. He wrote The First 100 Years, a profile of the city's ethnic history. He is a member of the Order of Canada.


Joe Bova

Born in Italy, he came to Canada when he was 15 and worked weekends and evenings at a library while going to school. He graduated from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate, then the University of Winnipeg with a degree in economics and political science. With a fellow Italian immigrant, he founded B & F Masonry in 1972 and Gibraltar Concrete in 1979. The pair founded Manshield Construction in 1989, which has expanded to Alberta and Ontario. He is credited with being instrumental in transforming a section of Corydon Avenue into Little Italy and helping redevelop Main Street and Higgins Avenue through the North Main Task Force. Last year, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem honoured him with its Scopus Award.


Vincenzo De Luca

His first name was Vincenzo, but everyone knew him as Papa. He came to Canada with two of his sons in 1958 and eventually opened a restaurant and grocery on Portage Avenue with all four of his sons. The store has since expanded to become a cooking school and wholesale business. He died in 2009.


Sam Fabro

He was born in Italy and came here as a child, attending Gordon Bell High School before going to the University of Western Ontario. He was a member of the Winnipeg Rangers when they won the Memorial Cup in 1941, and he had a start with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1942 before joining the army. He started work as a salesman and ended up chairman of the board at W.G. McMahon Ltd. He was chairman of baseball in the 1967 Pan Am Games and president of the Manitoba Baseball Association from 1968 to 1969, a founder and chairman of the Manitoba Hockey Players Foundation and member of Winnipeg Enterprises from 1967 to 1973. He was chairman of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, president of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and vice-chairman of the Wildlife Foundation of Manitoba. He was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 as a builder/all round. He received the Order of Canada in 1975 for his work in promoting and organizing sport in Winnipeg. He was inducted into the Order of the Buffalo Hunt in 1986.


Stan (Stanislao) Carbone

He has written two books about the history of the local Italian community, The Streets Were Not Paved With Gold and Italians in Winnipeg: an Illustrated History. He is the vice-consul of Italy. He is director of programs and exhibits at the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada.


Stefano Grande

He is executive director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. He graduated from the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Architecture and then went to work at Triple S Community Futures in community, economic and business development in the Town of Selkirk, RM of St. Andrews and RM of St. Clements. He was general manager of the Winnipeg Housing and Rehabilitation Corp.


Sam Argenziano

He is the reverend at Holy Rosary Church. Before going to Holy Rosary, he was pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish and served at St. Edward The Confessor Church.


Pier Luigi Tolaini

He came to Canada at 19 without a penny, and five years later he bought a truck and founded a trucking business. He is president of the multimillion-dollar company now known as TransX which transports goods across North America. He bought property in Italy in 1998 to create the Tolaini Estate winery.


Gino Nucci

His gelati shop is a local institution. He and his wife opened a variety store on Corydon Avenue -- only because it was near their home -- and later a billiard hall. He opened the gelati shop in 1976 after going to Italy to learn how to make the dessert and buying his first gelato machine. He started with a few flavours and now the shop has more than 70 flavours. He died in 2011.


Joe Paletta

He is a hotel developer. As president of the Paletta Group, he owns the Clarion Hotel and Suites on Portage Avenue and had owned the former Days Inn on McPhillips Street before he sold it to Manitoba Lotteries. The family business also took over the Radisson Hecla Resort in Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park, but in 2010 it closed and is in receivership.


Ida Albo

She owns the Hotel Fort Garry with her husband, Rick Bel. She was born in Winnipeg to parents who came from Italy in the 1950s. She was school president at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute and secretary treasurer of the University of Winnipeg Student Association. She and her husband became owners and managers of the Hotel Fort Garry. She has sat on several boards, including the University of Winnipeg Foundation.


Carlo "Charlie" Mazzone

He was born in Italy and came to Winnipeg in 1913. He worked for CN Rail. He formed the Orchestra Stella d'Italia in the 1920s and Curly's Music Weavers in the 1930s. After serving in the Second World War, he opened Rancho Don Carlos on Pembina Highway which was the city's most prominent nightspot, bringing in Bob Hope (above left, with Charlie at far right) and Louis Armstrong. He returned to Italy, where he opened a car dealership. He died in Italy in 1992.


Joe Aiello

You hear his voice on the radio. He was born in Winnipeg to parents who had immigrated from Italy as children with their families. He attended the University of Winnipeg and while there became involved in campus radio. He got a part-time job at KY-58 and was taken under the wing of DJ Ron Able before going to Power 97. For more than 18 years, he has co-hosted the Tom and Joe Show on 92 CITI FM.


Charlie Mazzone opened Rancho Don Carlos on Pembina Highway which was the city's most prominent nightspot, bringing in Bob Hope (above left, with Charlie at far right) and Louis Armstrong.

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Charlie Mazzone opened Rancho Don Carlos on Pembina Highway which was the city's most prominent nightspot, bringing in Bob Hope (above left, with Charlie at far right) and Louis Armstrong.

Frank Aquila

He graduated from the University of Manitoba with a law degree and was called to the Bar in 1983. He was appointed a provincial court judge in 1994 and appointed a Court of Queen's Bench justice in 2000. He is a past president of the Sons of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge.


Charles Sherbo

He is a lawyer who specializes in insurance and civil litigation. He has volunteered with many Italian organizations, including the Sons of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge, the Centro Caboto Centre, the Italian Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Canadian League of Manitoba.


Erminio Caligiuri

He is president of the Italian Canadian League of Manitoba. He was born in Italy and came to Canada as a child with his family. He received his science and engineering degrees at the University of Manitoba and worked for the federal government for more than 34 years in water resources management. He has been a sessional instructor at the University of Calgary and University of Regina. He is president of the Italian Canadian Foundation of Manitoba and the Centro Caboto board of directors.


Peter Cattini

He has been a professor of physiology in the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Medicine since 1997. He has been recognized for his work, which includes heart muscle regeneration. He received his degrees at the University of London King's College.


Frank Aquila

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Frank Aquila

Frank LaBella

He is professor emeritus in the University of Manitoba's department of pharmacology and therapeutics. He has established FIND Technologies Inc. to commercialize a sensor he and a partner developed a few years ago that detects electromagnetic energy emitted by matter and can be used to identify diseased tissues. He came to the U of M after receiving degrees from Wesleyan University and Emory University. He was one of four Manitoba researchers chosen to celebrate the centennial of the faculty of medicine, during which he was recognized for focusing "on driving real world change."


Frank LaBella

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Frank LaBella

Tony Iacopino

He is internationally known for several areas of dental education, including curriculum reform. He is the dean of the faculty of dentistry at the University of Manitoba. He received his BA at Rutgers College before going to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Before coming to Winnipeg, he was promoted to professor at the Marquette University school of dentistry in Milwaukee, Wis., which he continues to hold as well as being associate dean for research and graduate studies there.


Tony Iacopino

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Tony Iacopino (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Photo Store

Carmine Coppola

He is a sessional instructor in the University of Manitoba's department of French, Spanish and English. The Manitoba Italian Heritage Committee has published two books of his poetry, Poems for Julia and The Many Facets of Time. His poem, L'amico andato, won an Italian poetry competition. He hosts the Italian radio program on CKJS radio.


Carmine Coppola

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Carmine Coppola

Rayleen De Luca

She is a child psychology specialist. She graduated from the University of Winnipeg and is now a professor at the University of Manitoba's clinical psychology graduate program. She has been honoured with the U of W's Distinguished Alumni Award, the city's Appreciation Award for volunteerism and was inducted into the Order of Manitoba last year. She was recently elected the new president of Folklorama.


Marc Del Bigio

He is one of the world's leading authorities on how the brain is damaged by premature birth. He graduated from the University of Manitoba's faculty of medicine in 1982. He is a pioneer in developing drug treatments to reduce the brain damage caused in hydrocephalus. He has worked in Health Sciences Centre's pathology department since 1994. He has been the Canada Research Chair in Developmental Neuropathology and received a $300,000 Canada Foundation for Innovation grant to create a Brain Biomechanics Laboratory. His lab has an instrument that helps predict the progression of brain damage or need for treatment. Last year, he received an award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba for his work on childhood stroke.


Frank Fantauzzi

He is head of the department of architecture at the University of Manitoba. Born in Italy, he went to Toronto as a child, graduated from Carleton University's architecture program and received his master's degree in architecture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. While at the University of Buffalo in 2006, he created the Putnam Project, which saw a soon-to-be-demolished, single-family house rehabilitated and re-invented with a design that reconfigured its front by removing it, turning it on its side and reconnecting it to the house.


Guillermo Rocha

He is an assistant professor of ophthalmology in the University of Manitoba's faculty of medicine. He received his medical degree in Mexico and trained in ophthalmology at McGill University, receiving subspecialty training at McGill and the University of South Tampa. He is president of the Canadian Cornea, External Diseases and Refractive Surgery Society and the past head of Brandon Regional Health Centre's surgery department.


Joe Grande

He is one of the restaurant icons of Winnipeg. He came to Canada from Italy with his family when he was seven in 1966. He opened Mona Lisa in 1983.


Rayleen De Luca

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Rayleen De Luca

Marianne Cerilli, former MLA

She was a high school sports coach and counsellor before running for the provincial NDP in the 1990 election. She won in Radisson and was re-elected twice before unsuccessfully vying for the NDP candidacy in Wolseley in 2003. She ran for mayor against Sam Katz in 2006, but lost.


Al Cerilli

He is a longtime union icon. He was a worker with CN Rail when he began working to achieve a five-day, 40-hour work week and to ensure placement, wages and bargaining rights were free of discrimination. He was regional vice-president of the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway, Transport and General Workers. He became president of the VIA Rail Canada Pensioners' Association in 1992. He was the Manitoba Union of Labour Retirees president and served on the executive committee of the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada. In 1994, he became the first labour scholar-in-residence at the University of Manitoba. He has been honoured with the Order of Manitoba.


Vince Bueti

He is a lawyer. He has been president of the Corydon BIZ and is a past national president of the Sons of Italy. He is a former Winnipeg School Division trustee and chairman.


Marianne Cerilli

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Marianne Cerilli

Maria De Nardi

Owner and CEO of Mondo Foods, which she and her family founded in 1972, and since then have opened Grotta del Formaggio, La Boutique del Vino wine store and the Piazza di Nardi. She has been honoured with the Canadian Italian Business Professional Association award and the Overall Excellence and Lifetime Achievement awards by the Women Business Owners of Manitoba.


Sources: Winnipeg Free Press archives and websites of the Manitoba Historical Society, Order of Canada, Order of Manitoba, and the University of Manitoba.

-- Compiled by Kevin Rollason

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 25, 2012 j12


Updated on Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 11:08 AM CDT: adds photos

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