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Italians Of Montreal Essay

1022 words - 5 pages

​The first Italian visits to Canada began within the 14th century under the French regime and Newfoundland under England’s purpose to explore and claim lands and missionary work for Italians. Particularly in Montreal, Italian migration can be traced since the late 1800s although there were already few hundred Italian artists and tradesmen before then. The first wave of Italian migrants to this city began in the late 1900’s until after the first World War. Most of them came from Southern Italian region of Calabria, Molise, Campagnia and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. During the 18th to 19th century is the start of early settlers in Canada. A short period from early to middle of the 19th century ...view middle of the document...

Some of these groups were in Montreal’s mile end area, which later become little Italy. Soon, businesses and institutions began to form like the company founded by Onorato Catelli in food processing industry and construction company by Vincent Franceschini.

​These migrant workers were recruited through the padrone system which brought cheap labors in a chain migration. As a result, a Royal Commission to Inquire was created to investigate the Immigration of Italian Labourers to Montreal and Alleged Fraudulent Practices of Employment agencies as to the condition of labourers. A recommendation to form strict licensing to regulate the recruitment of immigrants was made by the commission. This added to the already hard life experienced by the Italians aside from living in crowded boarding houses, doing the lowest and hardest jobs in mining and railway construction and discrimination. Northern Italians are discouraged with low wages, impoverished condition and illness while Southern Italians were familiar with this kind of living because they are mostly peasants and farmers. The settlers who came to Canada stay for good. The flow of immigration stopped during WWI. It recommenced after WWII when Europe was destroyed by the war. After the second World War, food, fuel, clothing and other necessities shortages aggravated the impoverished condition of Italians during the depression era. Canada’s vast land, less population, and natural resources attracted them to stay permanently. The majority of Italians who immigrated during this period were labourers.

​The second wave came from the same region in Italy. Most of them wanted to go to the US but the since they have very stringent immigration policies at that time, they diverted to Canada whose immigration policies, called the sponsorship system, actually favoured Italian immigrants. It was a system whereby an Italian resident in Canada was permitted to bring over relatives as long as they looked after them. Close family ties propelled them to sponsor families and relatives. That prompted the government to create a ‘point system’ in 1967 as a condition for family sponsorship applying to a limited...

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