Portrait of Frank Martinello

Hand tinted colour portrait of Frank Martinello. Frank is pictured from the chest up. He is wearing a blue sweater over a white shirt and tie.

Frank's father Felice (Felix) Martiniello first immigrated to Canada for work in the mid-1920s. At immigration, Canadian officials changed his last name to Martinello, losing one of the “i”s. In 1926, he was joined by his wife and daughter. The family then moved to Sydney, Nova Scotia, settling in the Whitney Pier area where the family grew to include another seven children; one of which did not survive infancy.

Felice Martinello was arrested on June 10, 1940 as he returned home from his day of work at the Dominion Steel and Coal Company. Martiniello was taken to the city jail, where a fight broke out between the Italian detainees and other prisoners. He was transferred to Petawawa Internment Camp and later transferred to Camp Fredericton.

While interned, his family struggled to make ends meet. Martiniello’s wife was denied government assistance until she used up all the family’s assets, including the sale of the family home. She refused. Instead, the children helped out as best they could. The older boys snared rabbits and caught fish. They delivered newspapers and shone shoes. Florence became the live-in housekeeper of a well-to-do relative. The younger girls looked after neighbourhood babies and toddlers.

This photograph of Frank was sent to his father Felice while he was interned. The photograph was used by a fellow internee to create a pastel portrait of Frank, which Felice brought home from camp along with a number of other drawings, carvings and objects. See Frank Martinello's second interview (ICEA2011.0034.0001) to see the pastel portrait along with other objects from the camp.