Interview with Rita Van Brunt
Rita (née Del Pino) Van Brunt was born in 1924 in Port Arthur, ON. During World War II, Rita worked at Canada Car in order to help with the war effort. Her father worked for the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) as a machinist teacher, as well as helping to make airplane parts. He failed to receive promotions in his job, although the people that he taught did receive promotions. Rita believes this was because her father was Italian. Her father was also the first president of the Italian Society in Port Arthur. Rita talks about her father being visited by the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) during the World War II, even though he arrived to Canada many years ago, when he was only 11 years old. The RCMP asked her father about his past and about other Italians in the neighbourhood. Rita’s parents hid this visit from her at the time that it happened and only told her about it when she became an adult. Rita says that when she found out, she was extremely surprised. Rita did know a shoemaker from the community who was interned, but she felt that her family did not face any real discrimination. She also says that there were a lot of things she hadn't realized about the challenges faced by the Italian community during the war.