Interview with Sandra Raffaella Stirling O'Grady

Sandra Raffaella Stirling O'Grady was born in Timmins on March 2, 1938. She is the granddaughter of internee, Leopoldo (Leo) Mascioli, and the daughter of Major Keith Sterling, both of whom were interned during the war. Leo was interned at Camp Petawawa as an enemy alien while Keith was in a German camp as a prisoner of war while fighting with the Canadian Armed Forces. Her grandfather, Leo, left Italy at the age of nine to begin work as a shoe-shine boy in Boston, before working in Nova Scotia with Guglielmo Marconi, and then in the Silver Mines of Cobalt, Ontario. He finally settled in Timmins – then known as Porcupine Camp. Leo Mascioli established himself as one of the most prominent and influential individuals in Timmins through the Mascioli Construction Company. Sandra describes her grandfather as a very generous man who acquired much, but also gave a lot back to both his family and the community of Timmins. He was at a meeting in downtown Toronto when the RCMP arrested him and accused him of supporting Mussolini. Leo’s brother, Antonio (Tony) Mascioli, was also arrested and interned. Sandra explains that after a year in Petawawa, the reception her grandfather received from some individuals upon returning home was devastating; some former friends would cross the street to avoid speaking with him. She believes that he was forced to leave his beloved Timmins due to the ramifications of his internment. Sandra spends the final part of her interview discussing her father’s role as a major in the Canadian Army.