Written by Rebecca Flaminio
This project provided my Nonna, my Father and I, an opportunity to document a conversation. A conversation on her experience of proudly becoming an Italian-Canadian immigrant.
Table of Contents
My Nonna, Giuseppina Flaminio, immigrated to Canada from Abruzzo, Italy in 1958. A twenty-eight-year-old woman with a baby in arm travelling by boat and train to meet her husband who was building their future family home in Ontario, Canada. The same home she still lives in today. My goal for this interview project was to find out more about her travels, how she adapted to a new Canadian life, and her experiences growing a family while she was thousands of miles away from her own.
Over the years my Nonna has shared many stories of our family history. Many of these stories were about my Nonno, Remo Flaminio, who unfortunately passed in 1996, their marriage, his time in the war, the list goes on.
I sat with my Nonna and my Father, Giovanni Flaminio, who translated for us as we did a voice recorded interview. She gave an excellent perception of what it felt like being a new immigrant to Canada. She gave insight on what it was like giving birth to two more children in Canada after travelling from Italy with my Aunt Gabrielle. She also shared the process of what it was like meeting new friends and learning a new language. Together my Father and I both learnt new stories we had not heard before.
Our interview was held on October 6th, 2022 at my Nonna’s home in Hamilton, Ontario. Throughout the interview my Nonna shared new details to old stories, surprising to me. I thought I knew all the stories my Nonna, Aunt’s, and Father could possibly share, I assumed I heard them all before. I was wrong. I learned a lot more about my Nonna and Nonno, their separate journey’s to Canada, and the struggles of adapting to a new life in Canada.
Nonna’s Interview(opens in a new tab)
Transcription of Interview
I learnt that my Nonna did not have a very happy life in Italy. She decided she’d marry and follow her love to a new country to start a life she had always wanted. The bravery it took to pick up and immigrate to a new country, not knowing any English or another soul other than each other, miles from any support. I am in awe of their story. I learnt that Italian’s look out for other Italian’s. My Nonna met a stranger on the boat coming from Italy to Halifax who offered to take care of her crying baby as she dealt with sea sickness. Neighbours’ they met in houses near their court in Hamilton, ON, helped them find an Italian doctor so my Nonna didn’t have to struggle speaking English during her pregnancy.
All photographs included have been approved for sharing from the private collection of Giuseppina Flaminio.
How to cite this page:
MLA STYLE: Author. “Title.” Title of container, Other contributors, Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors.
Rebecca Flaminio. “My Nonna’s New Life in Canada” In Italian Communities in Canada: Heritage, Cultural and Ethnographic Studies, suprv. Teresa Russo. University of Guelph: December 2, 2022, Guelph. Italian-Canadian Narratives Showcase (ICNS), Kyra Bates.