She’s not an Italian, but part of her wishes that she were.
Lynne Bowen, a Nanaimo-based author and historian, wrote a book about the Italian immigrants that came to B.C. during the mid-1890s.
Bowen will be presenting “Whoever Gives Us Bread” in the Colombo Lodge in Trail on June 5 at 7 p.m.
She initially visited Trail while conducting research for her book, and Buddy Devito, the former mayor of Trail showed her around. It was inevitable that the community would quickly mesmerize her.
“Trail reminds me of Italy,” said Bowen. “It almost makes you think you’re in Italy.”
Bowen spent 11 years researching Italian communities within B.C., and taking trips to Italy to verify facts. She was drawn to the idea after discovering the dominant role Italians played in the coal mining industry of the province.
“The main thing that got me going was coal mining,” said Bowen. “During 1876 and 1976 26 million Italians left Italy to find work because there was so much poverty.”
Many Italians came to B.C. and took jobs that many other Canadians didn’t want. Bowen said these people became known as “strike breakers.” Some Italian immigrants earned this reputation because they would work all-year, with no exceptions, and they would only leave work during the winter season to visit their families in Italy.
Her book is a historical portrayal of Italian settlers and she’s hoping to attract a big group of supporters at the local event.