Italian workers honoured at memorial

By Sean Delaney

More than 1600 names are now listed on the monument.

It is the an important project of the Italian community, honouring brothers and sisters, immigrants who lost their life in making Canada great. In making it home.

It represents the sacrifices of the whole community.

“We thank Marino Toppan, who all his life has been at the side of workers, for promoting this project which will be a testimonial of the Italian contribution to the greatness of Canada,” said Dr. Laureano Leone

The fallen workers of Italian origin who were discovered after a memorial wall was unveiled last year were honoured as a new part of a ceremony that took place on April 28 at the Villa Charities campus, in the Memorial Gardens. This event coincided with The International Day of Mourning for Fallen Workers – a day which formally recognizes all fallen workers. The day was the idea of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984, and now is in 100 countries across the globe.

Eleven prefabricated columns were unveiled last year that bear the names and dates of each fallen worker discovered by the committee up until the spring of 2016. Through the dedicated work of the committee, almost 1000 verified deaths were engraved on the memorial leading up to the unveiling.

This figure has now grown to more than 1500 this year, with hundreds of new names being engraved and affixed onto the columns at this year’s ceremony.

The future of this project will be in the expansion to an online and on-site electronic database.

This will take shape in the form of an electronic kiosk at the site, and a searchable database online. The very fact that the design originally conceived a maximum of 660 names, and has now reached almost 1,000 last year, with hundreds more being added this year, gives some indication of the magnitude of this project.

The committee vows to continue working to uncover as many of the Italian Fallen Workers killed in tragic workplace accidents.

For further information on this project, to offer assistance, or to submit a name for Phase Three, please check the website:, or find it on Facebook. You can also find historical videos of the project on a Youtube Channel.

The Italian Fallen Workers Memorial Project is a joint effort with Villa Charities, and supported by the Consulate General of Italy in Toronto.