Andrea De Rubeis and Nicola Zaza, Little Italy, Toronto

Black and white photograph of Andrea De Rubeis (at left) and Nicola Zaza (at right) standing outside Zaza's cabinetmaking business at the corner of College and Clinton Streets in Toronto's Little Italy.

Nicola Zaza immigrated to Canada in 1925. He and his family first settled on Euclid Avenue in Toronto and then later in 1935 moved to 43 Clinton Street where Zaza began his cabinetmaking business. To better support his family, Zaza also worked in the furniture department at T. Eaton Co., located at 799 King Street West. Zaza was an active member of Italian organizations in the city and admitted to being a member of the fascio up until 1938. He left the organization because he had little time for it. He was also a member of the dopolavoro, the Italian War Veterans, and the Order Sons of Italy. He was arrested on June 10, 1940 and interned at Camp Petawawa for 13 months. Zaza passed his days in the camp by creating a lot of mementos, such as carved wooden objects.

Andrea De Rubeis lived at 66½ Hillyard Road in Hamilton. He was married and had two children: a 13-year-old son and an 18-year-old daughter. His family lived in Italy. De Rubeis had worked for International Harvester since June 6, 1928, possibly around the time he arrived in Canada. In 1937, De Rubeis was hospitalized after suffering a breakdown. His internment triggered another episode in the fall of 1940. He was sent to the Ontario Mental Hospital at Penetenguishene, Ontario, where he remained until March 31, 1941. Following his discharge, he was returned to the Petawawa Internment Camp. After his release from Fredericton Internment Camp in April 1943, De Rubeis returned to Hamilton.

It is likely that the two men became friends during their internment at Camp Petawawa and that this photograph was taken in Toronto after De Rubeis release from camp.