Vancouver's Society of Italians


224 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55017-188-7
DDC 305.8'51'071133





Reviewed by Joseph Garcea

Joseph Garcea is a professor of political Studies at the University of


The Italian community in Vancouver is the subject of this engagingly
written and handsomely produced social history. The book focuses
primarily on those who were part of the three main mutual aid societies
in that city from 1904 to 1966 (the Sons of Italy, the Veneta, and the
Vancouver Italian-Canadian Society) and at the same time provides some
important insights into social, cultural, and political history inside
and outside Vancouver’s Italian community. The author shows us an
ethnic community intent on building institutions (newspapers, language
schools, community halls, sports and cultural organizations, and so on)
in order to create a lasting legacy. Although Culos celebrates that
community, his profiles of its members include the villainous as well as
the virtuous.

Culos also recounts the story of the “Italian Internees” during the
Second World War. It is a story that reveals an ethnic community not
only under siege but also divided between alleged supporters of fascism
and alleged opponents of fascism. There are some interesting insights,
as well, into the pervasive nature of “class consciousness” and the
“mafia mentality” within elements of the Italian community. The
essence of that community is captured in the book’s splendid


Culos, Raymond J., “Vancouver's Society of Italians,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024,