The first Canadian Lodge called Giuseppe Verdi was established in 1915 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario by Father J.P. Martinez, William Grassi, and Giovanni Gentile. It was started as a social club and a support system for Italian immigrants to Canada.  The following year, Father Martinez persuaded the group to seek affiliation with the then-10-year-old Order Sons of Italy in America, also known as D’Italia.

Noteworthy Historical Moments:

  • March 7, 1920, a charter was received from the Supreme Lodge of the Order Sons of Italy in America.
  • By 1925 two more lodges were established in Hamilton and Toronto, Ontario.  As a result, the first Grand Council was formed in 1926, known as the Order Sons of Italy of Ontario. 
  • The first Grand Convention was held on November 7 & 8, 1926 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • The first Grand Venerable was Nicola Masi, from Trieste Lodge, Hamilton, Ontario.
  • Order Sons of Italy lodges flourished in Ontario in the 1920s and 1930s. By 1940, the Order had 29 lodges across Ontario.

However, the 1940s proved to be a difficult time for the Sons of Italy in Canada. When Italy declared war on Britain in June 1940 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested many Grand Lodge officers, as well as local lodge officers and members. Many Italian Canadians were interned (put in concentration camps) during the Second World War. Some 31,000 Italian Canadians were registered as enemy aliens. Some lodges even had their facilities confiscated by the Canadian government.  This resulted in the loss of many lodges in Ontario.

After the Second World War with the influx of new Italian immigrants, the Order slowly rebuilt and rejuvenated. It moved its focus away from mutual aid, focusing more on social, cultural, and charitable activities.

The Order Sons of Italy Canada has grown in strength and numbers since that time with lodges now across Canada.

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