The Institute of Italian Studies is pleased to provide a detailed listing of previously published and forthcoming publications that highlight Italian-Canadian culture and history. In most cases, we have provided an ISBN number, so you are able to purchase the book. If you would like further information on the authors or their works, please contact the Institute of Italian Studies by filling out our online form on the Contact Us page.  Books can also be purchased by contacting the office of Buset and Partners at 807-623-2500.


2013, Roy Piovesana & Diane Piovesana

St. Dominic Parish Book Cover

St Dominic Parish, 1912-2012

This book published by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Thunder Bay tells the story of a parish that survived despite the poverty and transient nature of its member. It grew and served an increasing number of Italian immigrant families  in Fort William's East End as well as parishioners from a variety of cultural backgrounds after 1980. As a religious and social centre, the parish permitted the establishment of sodalities, choirs, organizations, and clubs where members were united by their faith, a common purpose, and for many, their Italian cultural heritage.

ISBN 978-0-9693203-3-3


2013, Pasqualino Bongiovanni

To The South of Things Book Cover

To The South of Things (A Sud Delle Cose) English translation by Giuseppe Villella

This bilingual edition (Italian-English) of poems by Pasqualino Bongiovanni is the first international publication of the Institute of Italian Studies-Lakehead University. Translated from the Italian by Giuseppe Villella, According to Villella, "the main purpose of this book is to introduce Bongiovanni's poems to the English-speaking countries…Canada is one of these countries with its deeply rooted Italian presence and where ties to the homeland are still strong…Bongiovanni's poems speak most of the Italian Mezzogiorno (the South) with its contradictions, its social injustices, its economic underdevelopment, as well as the burden imposed upon it by the Mafia…Bongiovanni is able to express an undeniably poetic originality showing clearly that he masters a feeling and a voice which are intimately his own."

ISBN 978-0-9693203-3-3


2012, John Potestio

The R.F. Welch (Veltri) Company Book Cover

The R. F. Welch (Veltri) Company

Drawing on Giovanni Veltri's Memoirs as the basis for his narrative, John Potestio recounts the origin and development of the R. F. Welch (Veltri) Company, a railway construction firm that was founded by two immigrants from Calabria, Italy in the 1880's.  It is an unlikely story of two humble people, Vincenzo and Giovanni Veltri, who by hard work, a desire to succeed, and a strong entreprenurial sense, broke through the barriers of prejudice and discrimination of the time to become an important company that employed mostly immigrant labourers.  Potestio also examines the role of the "padrone" system on the railways of North America while analysing the unique role that the Veltri brothers played within the system.  The hard life of the navvies (railway workers), particularly at the turn of the 20th Century, is another revealing theme explored by the author. 

The historic role of the Welch Company in opening the doors of emigration to thousands of newcomers primarily from Southern Italy as well as other parts of Europe in the post Second World War period is the most significant aspect of this story.  Here, Potestio examines the importance of the Welch Contract as the key to providing stable work on the Canadian National Railway work gangs, an important factor in the permanent setllement of many immigrants and their families in various communities across Canada.  Potestio's history of the Welch Company is yet another chapter in the history if the Italians in Canada.

John Potestio is a retired teacher.  He is the author, most recently, of "The Italians of Thunder Bay" (2005) published by the Institute of  Italian Studies - Lakehead University.

 ISBN 978-0-9738042-2-5 

Book Available at Chapters!

La Storia Della Ditta Welch Book Cover

La Storia Della Ditta Welch

La Storia Della Ditta Welch is the Italian translation of John Potestio’s The R. F. Welch (Veltri) Company. The translation is by Giuseppe Villella with a Preface by Gabriel Nicolli of the University of Waterloo, Canada.

 ISBN 978-0-9738042-4-9


2011, Roy piovesana

Italians of Fort William's East End Book Cover

Italians of Fort William's East End, 1907-1969

This is the first study to be published on a major ethnic group in Fort William's East End during the period 1907-1969 based on archival collections available in Thunder Bay and on the internet.  Italian immigrants settled in the part of the East End commonly referred to as the "Coal Docks".  Roy Piovesana describes the development of the Coal Docks from its origins as the location of the Northwest Company's fur trade post, constructed in 1803, to the period of its rapid settlement by various immigrant groups during the first two decades of the twentieth century and writes in vivid detail of the harsh conditions of life in that district.  In addition, he explores several questions relating to the experiences of Italian immigrants in the neighbourhood.  What changes took place in their personal lives as they moved from being sojourners to immigrants?  How did they act collectively to achieve economic and social stability?  Why was St. Dominic's Parish an integral part of their lives?  What leadership role did Pietro Belluz, Emilio Marino, and Frank Charry play in the affairs of the Italian community?  What settlement patterns emerged for Italian immigrants in the Coal Docks and in the area west of the CPR tracks?  And finally, to what extent did the elementary school population reflect the demographics of the district?  These are some of the themes developed in the Italians of Fort William's East End.

Roy Piovesana is the Director, Archives of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Thunder Bay.  He is the author of Robert J. Manion:  Member of Parliament for Fort William, 1917-1935;  Hope and Charity:  An Illustrated History of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Thunder Bay, and co-author with Beth Boegh and Thorold J. Tronrud of Paper and People:  An Illustrated History of Great Lakes Paper and Its Successors.


ISBN  978-0-9738042-1-8 

Click here to purchase the book at Chapters.


2005, John Potestio

he Italians of Thunder Bay Book Cover

The Italians of Thunder Bay

This is the first study to chronicle and analyze the experiences and contributions of Italian immigrants in Thunder Bay from the late nineteenth century to the present.  John Potestio, himself an Italian immigrant, presents an engaging narrative from the "bottom up" by empathetically focusing on the everyday lives of early Italian immigrants who settled in Thunder Bay and who struggled to survive economically.  Moreover, the narative details the efforts and activities of the Italian community's leadership to establish self-help organizations and to participate in social, political, and religious institutions as a way of coping with the crises of a severe economic depression and two world wars.

John Potestio's "The Italians of Thunder Bay" makes a singular contributio to Ontario's multicultural historical literature by critically examining the successes and failures of a wide array of organizations which, in their own way, attempted to unite Italians and to promote an Italian ethos in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario.  

ISBN: 0886630401

2002, John Potestio (edited by)

In Their Footsteps Book Cover

In Their Footsteps: Reflections on the Legacy of Italian Immigrants to Thunder Bay   

ISBN: 0886630401