Post-WWII Italian Immigration to Brantford

Article | June 03, 1997
Learn about post-WWII Italian immigration to Brantford

Photo - Official Documentation Identifying the Giordano family (1956)


Between 1945 and 1950, there were 15,190 Italians who immigrated to Canada. In 1950, however, Canada and Italy co-signed an agreement that encouraged large-scale immigration. From 1951 to 1968, Canada averaged 20,000 Italian immigrants per year, most of these immigrants hailed from small villages in central and southern Italy. Unfortunately, when they arrived, they found they would have to work tirelessly to make a livable wage. To most Italians who arrived in Canada, they saw immigration as an opportunity to improve their lives and provide more opportunities to their children.


One of the most practiced forms of immigration to Canada adopted by Italians was the sponsorship program. This allowed immigrants to provide travel to their family members as long as they remained financially responsible for them for the next five years. Evidently, this practice created an influx of immigrants from select areas within Italy. Since those who opted to sponsor the immigration tended to bring their family and friends, most Italian immigrants in Brantford came from four villages: Pofi, Celle di San Vito, Pratola Peligna, and Castelli. This created a concentration of immigrants from the same village in Italy to the same city of Brantford.


As with pre-war immigration, Italian immigrants were concentrated in the manufacturing and construction industries. In 1960, 58% worked in manufacturing and construction, this percentage increased to 64% in 1980.


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