A Historic Apology

Italian Canadians are an important part of Canada’s multiculturalism and success as a nation. They are businessmen, skilled professionals, innovators in every field, famous athletes, politicians, and people of all ages who continue to contribute in so many ways to making Canada a great place to live, work and play. However, there was a sad time when Italian Canadians were declared “enemy aliens”. During World War II, they were considered to be fascist sympathizers and potential terrorists. Italian Canadians were put under surveillance, and 31,000 were designated as enemy aliens. Of these, about 600 were taken from their families and held in prisons and remote camps, including 74 from Hamilton. The internment had a devastating impact on the internees and their families. On May 27, 2021 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologized on behalf of the Government of Canada in the House of Commons. The apology is an acknowledgment of the wrongs that were done to the Italian community and honour the families of those who were interned and discriminated against.

“For far too long, the Italian Canadian community has carried the weight of the unjust policy of internment during the Second World War. Canadians of Italian heritage have made, and continue to make, immense social, economic, and cultural contributions to our country. We cannot undo our past failures, but through this apology we hope to help bring closure to those who were harmed and ensure the lessons we learned are never forgotten.”

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A commemorative Plaque will be unveiled on June 10, 2021 at a virtual event to commemorate this dark period in our history.  It will be permanently on display at Immigration Square (forecourt of LiUNA Station). This is in partnership with the Sons and Daughters of Italy Trieste Lodge, LiUNA and the City of Hamilton.

For more information on this period in Italian Canada history please visit


The Hamilton Response

Download the latest press release from the Internment of Hamilton Italian Canadians Commemoration Committee

Plaque Unveiling

A Commemorative Plaque to honour the 74 Hamilton men of Italian origin who were interned during WWII was unveiled in a virtual Ceremony on Thursday, June 10, 2021.   The plaque will be physically unveiled at Immigration Square (forecourt of LiUNA Station) in July, pandemic restrictions permitting.  This is in partnership with the Sons and Daughters of Italy Trieste Lodge, LiUNA and the City of Hamilton

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