Interview with Emanuele Cosentino

Emanuele Cosentino was born in Montreal to a Montreal-born mother, and a Sicilian father. His father Giuseppe arrived in Montreal through Halifax in 1923 to join his older brothers, whom had arrived in Canada in 1908 and 1913. Emanuele’s father was one of four boys in the family, and his youngest brother came to the country in 1949. Giuseppe Cosentino started a family construction business called Giuseppe Cosentino & Family in 1924, where he worked with his brother, Emanuele; both of these men would be arrested as enemy aliens in 1940 and 1941. Emanuele’s uncle worked as a brick layer during the day, however his passion was music and he dedicated much of his free time to a band he started in 1922. As band leader he played for the Queen during her visit to Montréal in 1939. Giuseppe Cosentino was arrested one night in 1940, and was taken away by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) along with his war medals from World War I and his hunting rifles, but was returned home the following day along with his belongings. The following year at their father’s funeral, the police arrived to arrest Emanuele. In this interview Emanuele recounts that his uncle told police in the church, "My father died…he's right in the front there. If you want to wait after…the funeral, I'm going to give myself up." Apparently the police had been searching for him for some time, however there had been some confusion around his identity since he worked as a brick layer during the day, and as a band leader at night. He continues to explain in the interview that his uncle did not wear a black shirt as band leader, but that the other musicians in the band did.