Portrait of Nicholas Zaffiro and his sisters

Black and white studio portrait of Nicholas Zaffiro and his two sisters. Nicholas is standing in the centre of the group and is wearing a white shirt, bowtie, shorts, belt, socks and shoes. There is a flower affixed to the front of his shirt. His older sister on the left is wearing a white blouse with a dark tie, a dark skirt and white socks and shoes. There appears to be a badge affixed to the front of her blouse. His younger sister is on the right and is wearing a white flowing dress, white socks and shoes. There is a ribbon and flower in her hair.

On June 10, 1940 their father Francesco Zaffiro was arrested. Nicholas Zaffiro was 10 years old when his father was picked up at work by the Royal Mounted Police (RCMP) and the local police. Nicholas had arrived at his father's shop after 4:00 pm and was informed by other children that his father had been taken by the police “because he’s a spy." His father was taken to the city jail on Barton St. He was later transferred to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) grounds in Toronto. Back at home, Zaffiro’s family suffered financially. They lived in a rented apartment and had no savings of note.

In his interview Nicholas notes: My oldest sister, she was traumatized by the situation. She doesn’t even want to talk about it today. She was 13 years old, she was in grade eight at the time, and she finished her elementary school and had to go to work to help the family. And I also worked after school for five dollars a week. But as my dad explained to me at one time, he says, “I have to leave you something in my will.” He says, “because when you worked, five dollars a week would [buy] bread [since bread] was five and ten cents a loaf.” He says, “five dollars a week went quite a way.”