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Foreword by Judge Dolores Holmes

I am delighted to write a foreword to Raymond's book about the early Italo-Canadians in the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia.

It is too often we forget the services performed by the earlier Italian families. We forget the services performed by our older peo-ple and relegate ourselves to our own generation peers, and in doing so, we lose and exclude lines of communication with our elders. This results, as we say today, in a "generation gap".

At the turn of the 20th century immigrants came to this country from Italy primarily because of need, and the desire to provide a better living for their family. They came to a country which was, insofar as Western Canada was concerned, a practical wilderness which needed strong and healthy men and women to cope with the problems incidental to a sort of primitive society. Some of them actually came in the days of the covered wagon.

In addition to the proverbial problems involved, these people, in the major part, were poorly educated and came from various parts of Italy. They did not speak our language, and were strangers to our customs and to our country. Despite these very real difficulties, they remained - strong backs, strong characters, urged on by an unchanging desire to succeed. They came to adopt this country as their own because their native country was unable to give them a living. Being for the most part uneducated, after their arrival in Canada, they became engaged in every labouring type of enterprise.

They worked in the mines, they went to the woods, they worked in lumber camps throughout the province, they worked in sawmills and related industries such as pulp and paper. Many went into agriculture of all kinds and fishing, all basic industries of British Columbia; all became successful and became entrepreneurs.

In various areas of the Lower Mainland some lived in groups and for the main part spoke their native language and learned English very slowly and very poorly. This was attributed in part to the poor facilities for learning the language in the location in which they lived and other considerations. Today these difficulties no longer exist. As time went on many graduated from manual employment and went into basic industries and professions or business and became entrepreneurs.

When immigrants arrived in those days, there were no brass bands at the stations, and nothing in the way of immigration services such as we now have to assist newcomers.

Men and women of the community met the trains and the people and helped the new arrivals, gave them food and lodging, helped them to find work and helped them to get to wherever work was available in the province.

These men and women who immigrated to Canada were good, sturdy, strong Italians. The came to this strange land, and liked it. They remained here and became good, rugged citizens and to produce in that family a good harvest of young Canadians, now no longer Italians but Italo- Canadians. Because of this ethnic origin, they also preserved a good knowledge of the native land of their fathers, of great men, of its great cultural history and heritage, and consequently felt it their duty to preserve this knowledge in community affairs.

They personified the type, like my grandparents, who realized that although they were uneducated, they had a primary duty to educate their children so that their children might be prepared for a life that was beyond the reach of their parents when they arrived.

These children and succeeding ones went to school and graduated into various professions and occupations. This illustrates the fact that the opportunity was there and that Italo-Canadians succeeded. They earned and brought respect to this ethnic group.

With the generations so expanding into different occupations, the Italo- Canadians were gradually accepted into the great family of the Canadian nation. Italo-Canadian boys married Canadian girls or girls of other ethnic groups. Italo-Canadian girls did the same. Most Canadians of Italian origin have maintained the heritage of Italian culture and preserved it in order to enrich their lives. What a difference 50 or 75 years makes in the life of an ethnic group and in the life of a nation.

Around the time of the First World War, Vancouver was a relatively small town of thirty or forty thousand people which included about a thousand Italians. Now in the twilight of the 20th century, this city has become the third largest in Canada and has, in the Greater Vancouver area, a population of well over one million people of whom forty or fifty thousand are Italo-Canadian.

This is a massive change in a comparatively short period of time; one cannot help wondering what the contributions of our children, as Italo- Canadians in the next century will be.

I would hope that this book would help its readers to remember some of the names of the early Italian settlers in the mainland - names such as Philip Branca, John Galetti, John Crosetti, Anlgelo Calori, Tony Cianci, John Carrelli, Cirillo Braga, Peter Tosi, the familiar Minichiello, Benedetti, Brandolini, Stefani, Benetti, Canal, Girone, Gallia, Battistoni, Ruocco, Berardino, Caravetta, Nadalin, Rossi, Valente, Culos - to name only a few of the many.

These all were the pioneers who went to meet our immigrant forebears and to help them get jobs and settle, and who then went on to help write the wonderful factual history of the Italo-Canadians in this province which constitutes a true record of great achievement.

I think it is eminently fitting that such a chronicle of this wonderful period of history of the Italo-Canadians in the Lower Mainland has been written by Raymond - and that he is carrying on the tradition exemplified so strongly by his parents, Marino and Phyllis Culos, of service to our community.

Our families, the Minichiellos and Brancas stretched back to the 1920s - close friends, sometimes on different sides of the fence, but always with a sincere respect for that position, and always with a strong friendship that has successfully passed the test of time.

I take this opportunity to publicly thank Raymond for the many hours he has spent in compiling this history.