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Italians in Toronto by John E. Zucchi


Italians in Toronto provides an insightful account of how village and regional groups transplanted their communities into the city that is now one of the largest expatriate centres for Italians in the world. The history of Italian migration to Canada is the history of emigration from countless towns and villages in the Old World. John Zucchi traces how, in the New World, immigrants developed a stronger sense of Italian identity at the same time as they were being integrated into a new society.

Italians began migrating to Toronto in large numbers toward the end of the nineteenth century. Many of these immigrants were peasants who arrived in the new world with only a vague sense of nationality. In Italy, their identity had been primarily connected with the villages that were their homes and only secondarily with regions and country. In Toronto, as in other North American cities, a more emphatic sense of Italian nationalism developed.

John Zucchi identifies the distinguishing factors which led to the formation of a strong, nationalistic Italian community in Toronto and to the shift in loyalty from the local level to the national. These two elements of the immigrants’ identity are dealt with in each chapter, so that while analysing the internal history of an ethnic group in a Canadian city, Zucchi also details the histories of many Italian village families.

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Development of a National Identity,1875-1936






McGill-Queen's University Press

Kingston, Ontario