Default header image

Interview With Vincenza Travale


May 24, 2011


Columbus Centre



Interview With Vincenza Travale

This is the first interview with Vincenza Travale talking about her family’s experiences living in Hamilton and her father’s internment during World War II. Vincenza was born in Hamilton to Giovanni (John) and Carmela (née Vallo) Travale. She grew up in the city’s North End, East End, and Hamilton Mountain areas. Giovanni came to Canada in 1924 from Racalmuto, Sicily. In 1940, he was interned at Petawawa and released in summer of 1941. At the time of Giovanni’s internment, Carmela was pregnant with their son, Jack, and Vincenza was just two years old. Giovanni was arrested at his place of business ― a shoe repair shop on Barton Street East. Carmela ran the shop while he was away with the help of her father and an employee. Vincenza says that her father was never bitter towards the Canadian government or the authorities for interning him. He loved Canada and the opportunities that the country brought him and his family. He was always bitter, however, about the members of the Italian community who acted as informants. Vincenza became a teacher, a vice-principal, and a principal, before finally attaining the position of superintendent for the Hamilton Wentworth Roman Catholic School Board. Vincenza feels that her father encouraged the family to participate fully in Canadian society and attributes her success as the realization of his dreams.

Vincenza Travale introduces herself and speaks about growing up in Hamilton and her schooling.

Vincenza Travale speaks about the day her father Giovanni Travale was arrested.

Vincenza Travale speaks about her father’s return home from the internment camp.

Vincenza Travale discusses how her family communicated with her father through letters while he was interned at Petawawa.

Vincenza Travale mentions that while her father did belong to an Italian social club, to her knowledge he was not involved in any political organizations.

Vincenza Travale shares what she knows of her father’s experience in the internment camp and mentions that the men were not mistreated in the camps.

Vincenza Travale speaks about the community informants who provided information to the authorities which resulted in many of the arrests in Hamilton.

Vincenza Travale speaks about how her mother coped financially while her father was interned.

In this clip Vincenza Travale speaks about the daily activities in the camp and the objects her father brought home from the camp.

Vincenza Travale speaks about the changes she noticed in her father after his return home from the internment camp. She also shares how her father always encouraged her to fully participate in Canadian life.

In this clip Vincenza Travale speaks about the migration of her parents and the Hamilton community they settled into upon their arrival.

Vincenza Travale reflects on the internment period.