When Coal Was King
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Luigi and Assunta Marasco

September 10th, 1998


  • Leslie Robertson and Mary Giuliano

(Note: “A” indicates “Assunta” and “L” indicates “Luigi”)

Q: So then when you said you came from Halifax to where?

L: To Toronto.

Q: You went to Toronto - I thought Assunta said you were inAssunta Marasco's Family in Cosenza, Italy. L-R top: Luigi, Alba, Oliviero, Assunta, Orlando. Middle: Carmene and Maria. Front: Natale, Anna-Maria. Quebec for a while?

L: Yeah but after two weeks I was in Toronto went to look for a job you know and after from Toronto went in Quebec. And then I go work in a sawmill 55 (inaudible).

Q: Oh wow.

L: So after I say I no stay here (inaudible) and after I come here in Fernie in July.

Q: How did you hear about Fernie then from Quebec?

L: Myself.

Q: But I mean Fernie of all places I mean ...

A: Miners.

L: I got a book from Ottawa.

Q: From Ottawa?

L: Yeah I went to the office and asked for a job and they say oh there’s no jobs now but he give me the book industry in Canada.

Q: And Fernie was listed on there?

L: Yeah. And Fernie was in that book and they say coal mine there. They say Coleman but when I come here I see the Coleman and I say oh no I no like it.

Q: Coal Creek? No Coleman.

L: Coleman no I say I go Fernie. Fernie I went with the bus from Calgary from North Bay.Assunta Marasco, 22, in Fernie, 1953. From Quebec I went to North Bay, Ontario and I stay there one night. In the morning the train to Calgary. I stay in Calgary three nights, four days after I went see look for a job in Canmore. Or in Banff there. Went to ask (inaudible) and (inaudible) oh yeah say I give a job sure (inaudible) The first thing he look where stay because he say the town is full and we work one day a week say if you find a place to stay one day a week (inaudible) Oh I say no thank-you (inaudible) yeah the mine was already very close to in town you know I went take a bus and second day we catch a bus and we come to Fernie.

Q: What year was that?

L: 1952.

Q: ‘52? And were the mines working a lot then?

L: Here we was working three days, two days. But I like the town. I like the place here. Say I gonna stay.

Q: Did you work at Coal Creek?

L: Oh yeah. Yeah. (inaudible) at Coal Creek.

Q: Underground?

L: Underground.Luigi and Assunta Marasco. Assunta Arriving in Fernie, 1953.

Q: Were you in the One East?

L: No I work at number nine, number three, number four. Yeah. After 1958 is closed and after same thing at Michel. Yeah so

Q: So then when did you come here Assunta what year?

L: ‘53. January ‘53.

Q: ‘53? So you decided it was time to send for the girl huh?

A: Yeah I was married already. In ‘52. August the 10th, 1952.

L: I was married in ‘52 by proxy.

This oral history transcript is extracted from the Elk Valley Italian Oral History Project undertaken for the Fernie and District Historical Society in 1998-99. The Heritage Community Foundation and the Year of the Coal Miner Consortium would like to thank Leslie Robertson and the interview team and the Fernie and District Historical Society, which is a member of the consortium, for permission to reprint this material.

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