Collection Description

Culture Name

Italian Canadians

Culture Description

Italian-Canadians are found in various parts of Canada and come from different areas of Italy. The majority, however, migrated from the Mezzogiorno, Italy's poorer southern area, including Sicily. In common with their Italian-American cousins, Italian-Canadian immigrants became aware of their "Italian" identity in contrast to their regional or local one in interaction with other ethnic groups, who used a national identity for self-identification in the ethnic competition of the New World. Italian-Canadians are found mainly in large cities, such as, Montreal, Calgary, Toronto, Quebec, and Vancouver. As in the United States, some are found in the fishing industry and on farms.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


North America --Regional and Ethnic Cultures



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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Italian Canadian file consists of 22 English language documents representing a wide range of ethnographic topics with specific reference to immigrant settlements in the major Canadian cities of Toronto (the major focus), Montreal, and Vancouver as well as the smaller urban centers of Fort William and Port Arthur (Thunder Bay). These studies, which range in time from the 1860s to the late 1990s, include information on the history of Italian immigration to Canada, acculturation and assimilation, concepts of ethnicity, social change, religion, and settlement patterns. The file documents contained herein should be used in conjunction with one another to get and overall perspective of Italian Canadian life in Canada, since there is no single comprehensive work providing this information. Some of the ethnographic topics discussed in this file are: "italiese" as a development of a unique variation in the Italian language (Vizmuller-Zocco, 1990, no. 11); architecture and the use of the arch (Del Giudice, 1993, no. 12); a critical review of the use of life history material as a method in anthropology (Eyles, 1993, no. 16); ethnomusicology (Del Giudice, 1994, no. 17); arts and artists (LaCroix, 1992, no. 21); literature (Iannucci, 1992, no. 23; Boelhower, 1992, no. 24); labor and the Italian labor force in Canada (Icovetta, 1993, no. 5; Pucci, 1981, no. 13; Ramirez and Del Balzo, 1981, no. 14; Harney, 1981, no. 15; Ramirez, 1992, no. 19); and Italian and French Canadian relationships in Quebec (Linteau, 1992, no. 22).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

The Italian Canadian culture summary was written by Frank Salamone in July 1999. Frank Salamone also provided many of the bibliographic suggestions used in compiling this file. The synopsis and indexing notes were written by John Beierle in May 2000.

Overview by

John Beierle

boarding houses -- categories 485, 362

Brandon Union Group -- category 467

CAMPANILISMO -- parochialism; concept of regionalism -- category 186

CASA D' ABRUZZO -- category 747

CASE D' ITALIA -- fascist centers -- categories 668, 575, 747, 529

CENTRO SCUOLA -- categories 529, 575, 814

CIRCOLO COLOMBO -- Columbus club -- 575, 456, 795

Columbus center -- cultural and recreational center build and operated by the ICBC (see Villa charities) -- categories 529, 368

COMPARAGGIO -- ritual kinship -- category 608

ethnic brokers -- categories 554, 472

FASCI -- fascist clubs -- categories 668, 575

fascism -- category 668

fascist centers -- see CASE D' ITALIA

FESTA -- religious observances or ceremonils -- category 796

Government intervention in strike settlement -- categories 468, 656

internment camps -- category 697

Italian Aid and Protective Society -- category 456

Italian Canadian relations with the host (Canadian) society -- category 629

Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation (ICBC) -- category 747

Italian Immigrant Aid Society (IIAS) -- category 747

ITALIANITA , concepts of -- category 186

knife grinders -- categories 463, 445

labor agents -- categories 464, 466

MAL'OCCHIO -- the evil eye -- category 754

mutual aid societies -- category 456

PADRONE system -- category 466

"slave children" -- categories 858, 533, 466 (depending on context)

Sons of Italy, order of -- categories 575, 456

VILLA charities -- name given in 1995 to the constellation of activities and centers run by the ICBC (Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation), such as Columbus Center, Villa Colombo, Vita Community Living, etc. -- categories 362, 366, 368

VILLA COLOMBO -- old age homes -- category 737

Indexing Notes by

John Beierle

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