Portrait of the Lanza family, ca. 1930 - en anglais seulement

Black and white studio portrait of the Lanza family taken in the 1930s. From left to right the family members are: Jennie, Mary, Ida, Jim, Joseph, Adeline and Luigi Lanza.

Lanza was born on June 7, 1883 in Roseto Valfortare, Fogia, Italy and immigrated to Canada in 1901. On his arrival, Lanza settled in Sydney, Nova Scotia along with his father, Giuseppe and his brothers Francesco and Antonio. The Lanza men worked as labourers at the Sydney Steel Mill. According to his family, Luigi Lanza spent some time in the United States residing in Hoboken, New Jersey. He married Maria Giovanna (Jennie) Sabatino. In 1912, the couple had settled in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, where Lanza worked as a labourer at the Algoma Steel Plant. The family moved to Hamilton, ON, in 1917, where Lanza opened his own grocery business – Luigi Lanza Grocery & Butcher Store.

At the time of Lanza's arrest on June 10, 1940, Lanza was a prominent member of the Italian Canadian community in Hamilton and was a citizen (a naturalized British subject). He was 47 years of age and his children were all adults, ranging in age from 28 to 19 years of age. He was interned at Camp Petawawa for 15 months before his release on January 10, 1942.