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Interview With Leonard Pennachetti 


November 23, 2011


Columbus Centre



Interview With Leonard Pennachetti 

Leonard Pennachetti was born in St. Catharines, ON on July 15, 1954. His grandfather, Giuseppe Pennachetti, was born in Fermo, Marche, Italy on August 19, 1891 and was interned at Camp Petawawa during World War II. Giuseppe came to Canada in 1914, returned to Italy in 1922, married, and then came back to Canada that same year. Giuseppe started a concrete block business in his backyard (1 West Street in Thorold) where he made concrete blocks by hand. He was arrested after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) found dynamite in his barn. Giuseppe used the dynamite for clearing farmers’ land (one of his other occupations) but the RCMP saw him as a threat. Giuseppe was held at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) grounds in Toronto before being taken to Petawawa. He was interned for about a year. His wife, Maria, kept the business going with the help of her sons during Giuseppe’s internment. After Giuseppe’s release, sons, Primo and John, served in the Canadian Forces. Once they returned they convinced their father to buy machinery to take their business to the next level. The business became very successful. The family bought land in Beamsville, thinking that the government was going to expand the canal in Thorold and they would have to move the concrete business. The canal was not expanded onto their land and they decided to turn the purchased land into a vineyard. Leonard helped his grandfather in the vineyard and ended up going into the winery business, eventually opening Cave Springs Cellars.

Leonard Pennachetti introduces himself and speaks about his his grandfather Giuseppe Pennachetti and his immigration to Canada.

Leonard Pennachetti speaks about his grandfather’s early life in Thorold and the various jobs he took during the Depression. He then goes on to speak about his grandfather’s grandfather’s concrete manufacturing business.

Leonard Pennachetti discusses family life in Thorold in the years prior to the war.

Leonard Pennachetti recounts the events surrounding the arrest of his grandfather Giuseppe Pennachetti. He also mentions that the family went to visit his grandfather while he was held at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto.

In this clip Leonard Pennachetti speaks about his grandfather’s involvement in the church and any Italian social organizations. He goes on to mention that the family was not given any reason for his arrest and that they believe his arrest was due to some information provided by local informants.

Leonard Pennachetti briefly mentions that his grandfather was illiterate and because of this he doubts that he was capable of sending letters home to his family.

Leonard Pennachetti speaks about his grandmother’s character and describes how she ran the family business with the assistance of her sons during the internment period. He also briefly mentions that after his grandfather’s release from camp his father and uncle were drafted into the Canadian army.

Leonard Pennachetti speaks about his grandfather’s life after his release from the internment camp. He also speaks about the family’s winery.

Leonard Pennachetti shares his feelings on the issues of redress and apology.

Leonard Pennachetti speaks about the use of the War Measures Act.