Antonio Di Pietro standing outside shoe repair shop, Montreal, QC

Black and white photograph of Antonio Di Pietro standing outside a shoe repair shop in Montreal, QC in May 1961. Standing with him are three children. It is likely that these are Antonio's niece and two nephews.

Di Pietro was born in 1910 in Cepagatti, Pescara, Italy and arrived in Canada around 1930, sponsored by his uncle Alfredo D. Sebastiani. His brother Giuseppe (Joseph) followed him to Montreal, arriving in 1934. Di Pietro worked as assistant foreman in his uncle’s factory. He also designed shoe models. Di Pietro’s uncle Sebastiani was a very wealthy man. He was a shoe factory worker when he first arrived in Montreal. He later established several profitable shoe factories, including La Gioconda Shoe Manufacturing Co. According to family members, the Di Pietro brothers enjoyed a high standard of living before World War II. Through their uncle, the Di Pietro brothers had access to the upper class of Italian Canadians: the Italian Consul Giuseppe Brigidi and others.

Antonio Di Pietro, his brother and his uncle were all arrested on June 10, 1940 as threats to the Canadian state. The two brothers were interned while their uncle was placed under house arrest due to his poor health. Antonio spent three years interned before he was released on September 25, 1943. After his release from Petawawa, Di Pietro had difficulty finding work. Sebastiani had lost control of his factories before his death, and his widow was bought out of the business. Di Pietro tried to establish a shoe repair shop. He returned to Italy in 1948 and spent ten years there. Later, he returned to Canada as a ballroom dancer. And he continued to travel. The family notes the Di Pietro brothers suffered when they were not able to regain the same wealth and community standing they enjoyed before the war.