Column tells a story for future generations about the pioneers who brought a slice of Italy to Alberta
EDMONTON – Carlo Amodio spent many sleepless nights during the last two years as he co-ordinated the building of a monument to honour the work and lives of Italian immigrants in Alberta in the last 100 years.
“When we got the 7,000-pound granite column in our yard, we were really, really concerned on just how we were going to lift it and move it. But we got some great help from the Italian community. It was just phenomenal cooperation,” said Amodio, president of the National Congress of Italian-Canadians, Edmonton District.
From the craftsmen who shaped the column of Quebec granite, to those families in Alberta’s Italian community who donated artifacts to be bronzed and attached at its base, the monument is a testament to the pride, passion and culture of Italian people, Amodio said.
“If this granite could speak, it would say: ‘It is our pride to share,’ ” Amodio said at Saturday’s unveiling.
The three-metre-tall monument, which stands on the northwest corner of the Alberta legislature grounds, was designed by Edmonton artist Giuseppe Albi, whose work was selected out of 21 entries in a national competition.
“May this monument be a perpetual symbol for those who came to this land, and for those will come in the future and contribute to the prosperity of the province of Alberta and the Italian community,” said Amodio, who immigrated to Canada in the 1960s and has been active in his community for the last 30 years.
“I look at this monument today and I must compliment the beauty of its design and the quality of craftsmanship of all those who helped to build it,” he said.
“For the last two years, there have been a number of people who have followed all the aspects of this project, and I can say without hesitation that we are full of pride for this accomplishment.”
Albi said he wanted to design a multimedia piece with the help of Alberta’s Italian community.
“Italians have always talked with their hearts, with their minds,” Albi said,
explaining the inspiration behind his design. “They always put their hearts and souls into everything they do so I really wanted somehow, some way to bring this forward.”
He chose a granite column because in Italy, columns with carvings have been used to tell stories of events in time.
At the suggestion of his wife, Albi asked the Italian community for artifacts representing their culture and some of the occupations of their ancestors when they arrived in Alberta.
These he had bronzed and attached around the column’s base. Some of the artifacts include a soccer ball, a pick axe, a bottle of wine, a wood planer, a shoemaker’s tools, a merchant’s scoop and a violin.
Gabriele Sardo, Italy’s ambassador to Canada, was among the invited dignitaries.
Sardo said a monument is a reminder, not for those who are already here, “but for those who will come next. I would like future generations passing by this monument to see the memories that have been passed on.”
Source: © The Edmonton Journal 2007