Friday, June 13, 2014


On Sunday, June 8, 2014, I went to Italian days on Commercial Drive. I was going to write on the contributions of Italians to Vancouver when I found an  article in the Georgia Straight newspaper that has some interesting information I wanted to share.

The date was June 10, 1940 and the Canadian government had just declared war on Italy. The government also declared that any Italian nationals, who were naturalized after 1922, were enemy aliens.
At that time, there were 4,500 Italians living in Vancouver and roughly 40% of them, 1,800, were classified as enemy aliens. These 'aliens' were forced to file monthly reports with the RCMP explaining their whereabouts and activity.

Many Italian Canadians were able to live a somewhat normal life even with this designation. However, there were others whose lives were more difficult. These were the men shipped off to internment camps.

Over 600 Italians (44 from Vancouver) were gathered and sent to internment camps around the county. These men were not charged with anything and some were held for up to two years. This left the families back home struggling since the breadwinners, the ones keeping the family from dire poverty, were the ones imprisoned.

Now some of these men had ties to fascist Italian groups but the question remains: "Where these men being punished or was interning them a precaution?" I suppose the same thing could be said of the Japanese people who were interned during WWII as well.

These families were denied 'relief' from the certain provinces and not allowed to speak Italian or congregate in groups of more than five. Many lost their jobs and faced hostility from the non-Italian community.

I also consulted Wikipedia for additional facts. I  hope you enjoyed the pictures of the fine Italian auto mobiles. I will explore and find more to tell you about Italians in Vancouver while I show you more photos from Italian day in a later post.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. I can see interment if we keep fighting with the muslims in other countries because not many people here trust them. So sad but better than a vigilant group.

    1. That's an interesting thought Lee. Thanks for reading and commenting.