Interview with Vincenza Travale

This is the first interview with Vincenza Travale talking about her family's experiences living in Hamilton and her father's internment during World War II. Vincenza was born in Hamilton to Giovanni (John) and Carmela (née Vallo) Travale. She grew up in the city's North End, East End, and Hamilton Mountain areas. Giovanni came to Canada in 1924 from Racalmuto, Sicily. In 1940, he was interned at Petawawa and released in summer of 1941. At the time of Giovanni’s internment, Carmela was pregnant with their son, Jack, and Vincenza was just two years old. Giovanni was arrested at his place of business ― a shoe repair shop on Barton Street East. Carmela ran the shop while he was away with the help of her father and an employee. Vincenza says that her father was never bitter towards the Canadian government or the authorities for interning him. He loved Canada and the opportunities that the country brought him and his family. He was always bitter, however, about the members of the Italian community who acted as informants. Vincenza became a teacher, a vice-principal, and a principal, before finally attaining the position of superintendent for the Hamilton Wentworth Roman Catholic School Board. Vincenza feels that her father encouraged the family to participate fully in Canadian society and attributes her success as the realization of his dreams.