Photograph of Alfredo and Alice Sebastiani and nephew Giuseppe Di Pietro, 1942

Black and white photograph of Alfredo Domenico Sebastiani (standing at left with cane), his wife Alice, and their nephew Giuseppe (Joseph) Di Pietro standing outdoors in a garden in October 1942.

Sebastiani was born in Italy on April 26, 1877. He served in northern Italy during World War I. He later became a successful salesman with Singer Sewing in Pescara, Italy, but decided to seek greater fortune in Canada. 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., which made a jewel-encrusted pair of shoes for the Queen in the 1930s. By 1940, Alfredo D. Sebastiani was a very wealthy man. He was engaged to one of the Cerini daughters, who died of tuberculosis. Sebastiani later married the younger sister, Alice, who was born in Canada. Their only child, Dorotea, died in infancy. In the 1930s, Sebastiani sponsored two of his nephews, Giuseppe and Antonio Di Pietro, to work in his factory. The Di Pietro brothers were positioned to take over the business in the future.

All three men were arrested on June 10, 1940. The Di Pietro brothers were interned at Camp Petawawa, while Sebastiani was confined to house arrest, possibly due to his poor health. From family accounts, he had a serious heart condition and required a wheelchair for mobility. Giuseppe was released from Petawawa on March 7, 1942, while his brother remained interned (at Camp Fredericton) until September 25, 1943. According to government documents, the order against Sebastiani was cancelled on July 12, 1941. All three men struggled after the internment period. Sebastiani had lost control of his factories before his death in 1948, and his widow was bought out of the business.