E-Storia

Une histoire commune

E-Storia raconte l'histoire des familles immigrantes d'origine italienne qui se sont établies à Montréal depuis la fin du XIXe siècle.

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Charlie Albano
Construction Triad-APG Inc.

Les images ne peuvent être reproduites sans l'autorisation de la Casa d'Italia CCPI

"At the age of five, I was the official translator."

"My grandfather had emigrated to New York and Philadelphia in the 1920s. After the War, my Uncle Onofrio (Triassi) emigrated to Chambery, France with his family," Charlie (Calogero) Albano recounts. In the postwar period, the miseria in Ribera, Agrigento was such that, as his grandfather phrased it, "after the War, the only thing I could buy with the money of the house I had sold before the War was the front door to the new house."

From France, Onofrio Triassi moved his family to Montreal in 1954. Charlie Albano was barely one years old when his parents, Carmelo Albano and Teresa Calandrino sailed across the Atlantic on the S.S. Roma in October 1956. Similarly to other postwar Italian families, migration had separated Charlie's family. Within a few short years, Charlie's maternal grandparents settled in Canada's French-speaking metropolis along with members of the extended family. While others remained in Sicily, the affective ties shared between the transatlantic families have resisted the dilution of time and distance.

"My father met my mother through a glance."

Charlie's parents, Teresa and Carmelo married in Ribera on 16 February 1954. Once Carmelo had caught the right glimpse in Teresa's eyes on the streets of Ribera, he knew he could ask her father for her hand in marriage. Once engaged, they could finally walk together—while keeping an acceptable distance from each other—down Ribera's main streets. Though they were not starving when they set out as a young couple, nonetheless, money was scarce. Emigration across the Atlantic seemed like a good option. After all, both their fathers had ventured to work in America and had returned home with successful experiences on their shoulders.

Living on the Peripheries of Montréal and St. Léonard: A Childhood Imbued in Adventures

In 1958, Alfonso Calandrino and Paola Gullo emigrated to Montreal to be with their daughters, Teresa and Maria. By then, Zio Onofrio's numerous siblings were arriving to Montreal, and as Charlie recalls nostalgically, "We were all under one house," until "the saddest day of my life" happened. In 1965, Zio Onofrio and his family moved to New York in search of even greener pastures where other cousins had already settled. The families remained in touch and sixteen-year old Charlie headed down one summer to help out with their thriving florist business on Staten Island: "There I was driving in Manhattan without a license, delivering flowers at funeral homes, and seeing corpses for the first time." Living in St. Léonard's early barren streets located at the corner of Montjoie and Paisley streets, Charlie and his sister, Francesca and their cousins attended elementary schools, Jérôme-Le Royer and Général Vanier. From there, they advanced to Laurier MacDonald High School, Vanier College, and onto Montreal's universities. One of the most exciting days for young Charlie entailed being squeezed in a police car in the early '60s with a dozen other kids, to chase lost cows home, and the pride he wore in translating the words his grandfather needed to communicate with the bank teller, the barber, and the cashier.

In 1988, with his wife Luisa Di Lalla and their daughters Patricia and Erica by his side, Charlie kick-started the company Construction Triad-APG Inc. in partnership with Alfonso Puccio. Much like his father, to live and work in Montreal signalled an opportunity to demand and receive a higher return on Life. His advice to younger folks? "If you don't ask, you don't get, and if you don't get, ask again!"