Photograph of group Order Sons of Italy, Hamilton, ON, 1950-1960s

Black and white photograph of the group Order Sons of Italy, Hamilton, ON, 1950-1960s. The large group is organized into three rows, with the first row seated in the foreground. A portrait of a young Queen Elizabeth II appears on the wall in the background.

The Order Sons of Italy (OSI), founded in 1905 by Dr. Vincent Sellaro in New York City, operated as a mutual aid society for those of Italian origin. The first Canadian lodge of this fraternal organization was founded in Sault Ste. Marie in 1915. The Hamilton chapter was founded in 1925/1926.  It was divided into three main lodges – the Trieste Lodge, the Imperial Lodge, and the Roma Lodge (the women’s branch). Fascists attempted to take control of this organization in the 1930s. Among the local OSI leaders arrested and interned in 1940 were Nicola Masi and Aurelio Del Piero.

The organization itself was never declared illegal (unlike the fascio and other groups) and continued to operate throughout the war years, although in a much-reduced capacity. Given its association with those interned, it took several years for the OSI to return to its prominence and activities.