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Italian Community

In 1903, the Italian population of Brantford consisted of approximately two families. By 1967, this figure has increased to approximately 6,000 people of Italian birth or descent.

Early Italian Immigration

The first Italian to arrive in Brantford to settle was Filippo Tommaso in 1891. Tommaso was twenty-seven years old, trained as a labourer, and married to a woman named Susan of Irish heritage. Tommaso is remembered as the first recorded immigrant to be living in Brantford; however, Cathy Murtland (née Bonaccorso) of Simcoe, explained that Leonardo Fardella and his wife Santa Ceravola, were living in Brantford in the 1880s. Their daughter, Frances Fardella (married to Salvatore Domenico) gave birth to a child, Francis Anthony Domenico, in Brantford on October 29, 1886. None of these names appear in the census of 1991, but it can be proven that they lived in Brantford for the remainder of their lives.  

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Arriving in Brantford


“There was no way we could have achieved what we did in Canada back home. It was just not possible. In those days as well, most of us came over on a ship. … Most ships would stop in Lisbon to pick up more. Some of the people from Italy went to New York and from New York came over to Canada. We went to Halifax, to Pier 21. … From there we came by train. It took us two days two nights to reach Brantford.” 

- Fred Ligori
Fred immigrated in May 1956 when he was about eleven years old. His father had been in Brantford for a few years prior to his arrival. His was sponsored by his sister.


The Memories of Brantford Project thanks the sponsors for their generous support.