Fonds PR1370 - Biollo family fonds

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Biollo family fonds

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    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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    • 1923-1955 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    0.20 m of textual records. – 3 maps

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    Name of creator

    Biographical history

    O.J. Biollo, known usually as Olivo John Biollo, but also as Oliver John Biollo, Olive J. Biollo, Oliver Joseph Biollo, Oliver J.P. Biollo, Olive J.P. Biollo, Olive Joseph Peter Biollo, John Oliver Biollo, O. Joseph Biollo, Joseph Biollo, J.O. Billos, Joseph O. Billos, and Giuseppe Billos, was born in the province of Venice, Italy on May 27, 1883 to Giuseppe and Valentina Biollo (nee Carraro). He attended an agricultural college in Padua, Italy, and in 1902 immigrated to Canada as a prospective employee of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).

    He worked off his commitment to the CPR as a labourer on the Transcontinental Railway line and then moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba where he joined a partnership to acquire the Savoy Hotel. Biollo brought two of his brothers, Angelo and Sante, to Winnipeg and the brothers all worked in the Savoy Hotel. Biollo became a Canadian citizen on July 3, 1905 and on September 10, 1907 he married Annie D'Mitruzinski. Together they had ten children, Valentina, Florence, Oliver Mike, Mary, Arthur, Fidelia, David, Valentino, Gloria, and Gilbert.

    In 1910 the Biollo family moved to Rivers, Manitoba, and in 1911 to Edmonton, Alberta. Biollo purchased a store in Edmonton, and operated a theatre called The Family Theatre. He was a member and president of the The Venice Club, later known as The Italian Society, and was an organizer of The Italian Society's drive to establish western Canada's first Italian colony in the Venice and Hylo, Alberta area in 1914. Biollo obtained a homestead in Venice located at Section 12, Township 66, Range 15, West of the 4th Meridian (12-66-15-W4) in 1914 and also operated a general store known as Mercantile Company Limited (Ltd.). Biollo's wife and children joined him in Venice in 1915 and over the years the family lived variously in Venice and Edmonton, Alberta.

    In 1925 Biollo served as a District Returning Officer (DR) during the provincial election, and was sentenced to a term in Prince Albert penitentiary for his part in the Athabasca electoral riding scandal.

    Biollo was very active in his community and served as secretary-treasurer of the Venice School District Number (No.) 4102, postmaster of the Venice Post Office, Justice of the Peace and Commissioner of Oaths. He also worked with the Italian Consulate on behalf of many of the residents in the Venice district, organizing relief for them and helping with immigration difficulties. The Venice United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) Co-operative Local was operated out of the Mercantile Company Limited, and Biollo was a sub-agent for the Cunard White Star and Anchor-Donaldson ship lines. He also worked as a contractor for Northern Alberta Railways (NAR) and for the Alberta and Canadian governments in various capacities, including foreman of Local Improvement District No. 635, Treasury Branch agent, Alberta Government Telephones (AGT) agent, sub-agent for the Department of Lands and Mines, and crop correspondent for the Dominion Bureau of Statistics.

    As Biollo was a member of The Italian Society, he was interned in October 1940 at Camp Kananaskis in Seebe, Alberta and Camp Petawawa in Ontario. He was released in September 1941 and he returned to Venice, Alberta. He left Venice, Alberta in 1943 and moved to Edmonton where he worked as a night clerk at the Ritz Hotel, leaving his wife, Annie, to operate the store. Biollo returned to Venice in 1953 to operate the store himself, but was unsuccessful, and returned to Edmonton for good in 1954. He died on May 27, 1963, survived by his wife, Annie.

    Annie D'Mitruzinski, also known as Annie Dmytrusznski and Anne Dmytrusznski, was born on July 5, 1891 in Czerwonograd, Poland to Michael and Victoria D'Mitruzinski (nee Konska). The D'Mitruzinski family immigrated to Canada in 1899. Annie D'Mitruzinski married O.J. Biollo in on September 10, 1907. She operated the family store with her husband, served as postmistress in the Venice Post Office for a time, and was a midwife in the district of Venice. In 1927 she moved to Edmonton, Alberta with some of the children to operate the store the Biollo's owned there at 96th Street and 98th Avenue, but the family business closed and in July 1928 she and the children returned to Venice. Annie Biollo died on May 21, 1967, predeceased by her husband.

    Oliver Mike Biollo (1912-1994) moved to Venice, Alberta with his mother in 1915. He attended school at the Lac La Biche Mission and Venice School District No. 4102 and ca. 1924 he began working on the Biollo homestead. In 1937 he married Ginsella Michetti and in 1941 he began to farm his own land. In 1946 he bought some acreage from his father, and in 1967 was still living on the farm.

    Arthur Biollo (1919-1998) married Eleanor St. Jean in 1940 and together they had six children, Delores, Valerie, Brian, Debbie, Colin, and Darryl. The family lived in the Biollo log house after O.J. Biollo moved to Edmonton, Alberta, and farmed in the area.

    Mary Nell Biollo (1915-2012) received her schooling at Lac La Biche Mission, Venice School District No. 4102, and a high school in Edmonton, Alberta. She attended Normal School in Calgary and taught for a year at Christy Creek School District No. 4621, twelve years at Venice School District No. 4102, three years at Trieste School District No. 4101 (also known as Hylo School District No. 4101), and twenty-two years at various other schools in the province. She married Julius Keehn in 1936 and together they had two sons, Charles and Lin. She acquired her Bachelor of Education degree in 1962, a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967, and a diploma in Elementary Education, specializing in remedial reading and language, in 1971. She retired in December 1973 and in 1977 she married Bertram Doyle. She retired to Edmonton, Alberta.

    Custodial history

    The records were loaned to the Biollo family from 1978-1983 and some records may have been removed from the fonds.

    Scope and content

    Fonds consists of records pertaining to the personal activities of O.J. Biollo and the Biollo family, as well as records pertaining to the activities of O.J. Biollo as a sub-agent for the Cunard White Star and Anchor-Donaldson ship lines, contractor for Northern Alberta Railways (NAR), Treasury Branch agent, Alberta Government Telephones (AGT) agent, sub-agent for the Department of Lands and Mines, and crop correspondent for the Dominion Bureau of Statistics. Fonds also contain records pertaining to O.J. Biollo’s work with the Italian Consulate on behalf of residents in the Venice, Alberta area and maps depicting the Edmonton Land District, a road survey in Lac La Biche, Alberta, and a roadmap of Alberta.

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    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Mrs. Laurette Bonifacio deposited these records in the Provincial Archives of Alberta in 1976. Mrs. Bonifacio’s relationship with the Biollo family is unknown.


    The records were received in an extremely disorganized state and, despite some reorganization, the records of the Biollo family fonds, Mercantile Company Limited fonds, Venice School District Number (No.) 4102 fonds, Venice Social Credit Study Group fonds, Venice Post Office fonds, Venice UFA Co-Operative Local fonds, and Local Improvement District No. 635 fonds are still intermixed.

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        The material is in English, French and Italian.

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        Restrictions on access

        Access Conditions: None

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Use Conditions: Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

        Finding aids

        Inventory is available.

        Associated materials

        Other records pertaining to the Biollo family can be found in the Mary N.B. Doyle fonds. Other records pertaining to O.J. Biollo can be found in the Mercantile Company Limited fonds, Venice School District Number (No.) 4102 fonds, Venice Social Credit Study Group fonds, Venice Post Office fonds, Venice UFA Co-Op Local, Local Improvement District No. 635 fonds.


        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        This fonds was donated at the same time and in the same accession as the following unrelated fonds: Mercantile Company Limited fonds, Venice School District Number (No.) 4102 fonds, Venice Social Credit Study Group fonds, Venice Post Office fonds, Venice UFA Co-Operative Local fonds, Local Improvement District No. 635 fonds. Information for the biographical sketch was taken from the Mary N.B. Doyle fonds, from Lac La Biche: Yesterday and Today, located in the Provincial Archives of Alberta Reference Library under location number 971.233 L118 PAA, and from Lac La Biche Chronicles: The Early Years, located in the library under location number 971.233 J67 PAA.

        General note

        Includes accession PR1976.0204.


        The majority of the records in this fonds were photocopied due to the presence of mould and rodent droppings in the records.

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