September 27, 2011
Interview With Lawrence Lamentia
Lawrence Anthony Lamentia was born in Toronto on January 5, 1925. His parents came to Canada in the early 1900s. His father, Domenic Lamentia, owned a store in the Pape and Danforth area, and then ran a fruit store around Parliament and Carlton. In 1937, Domenic moved his store to Bloor and Sherbourne, where it remained until 1970. Domenic’s wife, Michelina Lamentia died when Lawrence was young. Lawrence’s brother, Joe, went to live with an aunt who raised him as her own. Lawrence and his other brother, Peter, lived with their father in the Pape and O’Connor area, along with an uncle.
During World War II, around late 1943/early 1944, Domenic and his brother received a letter from the Ottawa RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) ordering them to report to the police as enemy aliens. When the Lamentia brothers arrived at the local police station, the Chief of Police, a friend of theirs, ripped up the letter and told them to go home. However, Lawrence’s father-in-law, Marco Missori, was interned at Camp Petawawa and was not released until 1945. In 1944, both Lawrence and Peter were called to serve in the Canadian Army; Lawrence was stationed in British Columbia, protecting the western shoreline against the Japanese. He talks briefly about the treatment and internment of Japanese Canadians. After the war, Lawrence returned home to work at this dad’s store until it was sold, and then worked for Dominion grocery stores for 21 years. The interview ends with Lawrence describing a wedding photograph and talking about his war medals hung on the wall.
In this opening clip Lawrence Lamentia introduces himself and speaks about the Toronto neighbourhood he grew up in.
Lawrence Lamentia speaks about his parents and the death of his mother when he was six years old.
Lawrence Lamentia discusses the migration of his parents to Canada.
Lawrence Lamentia speaks about the Toronto neighbourhood his family settled into upon their arrival to Canada.
In this clip Lawrence Lamentia speaks about growing up in a non-Italian neighbourhood in Toronto.
Lawrence Lamentia speaks about his father’s grocery business.
Lawrence Lamentia speaks about how his family dynamic changed after the death of his mother.
Lawrence Lamentia shares his reaction to the outbreak of war.
Lawrence Lamentia discusses his involvement with the Catholic Youth Organization. He also mentions that his father was quite busy at the grocery store and had no time to get involved in any organizations.
In this clip Lawrence Lamentia speaks about the internment of local Italian Canadian men. He also speaks about his future father-in-law Marco Missori who was also interned during the war.
Lawrence Lamentia speaks about his father and uncle being designated as enemy aliens during the war. He also speaks about his service in the Canadian army.
Lawrence Lamentia speaks about serving in the Canadian army and being sent to British Columbia to guard the coast against Japanese invasion. He then goes on to speak about the internment of Japanese Canadians.
In this clip Lawrence Lamentia speaks about serving in the Canadian army and corresponding with his father during his service.
Lawrence Lamentia continues speaking about his experiences serving in the Canadian army during WWII.
Lawrence Lamentia speaks about his marriage to Tina Missori, who’s father, Marco Missori, was interned during WWII.
In this clip Lawrence Lamentia shares information about his father-in-law Marco Missori’s arrest and speaks about how the family coped in his absence.
Lawrence Lamentia speaks about his father-in-law’s career after his release from the internment camp. He also speaks about his sister-in-law being stranded in Italy during her father’s internment in WWII.
Lawrence Lamentia speaks about the discrimination his father faced during WWII and how this affected his grocery business.