Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 74 > Page 30 - From Italian Lives, Cape Breton Memories: From the Memoirs of Thomas Cozzolino

Page 30 - From Italian Lives, Cape Breton Memories: From the Memoirs of Thomas Cozzolino

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1999/6/1 (404 reads)

rmrall BUILDING SYSTEMS tors were obliged to hire foreign labourers, so they needed someone who could speak other languages. As someone who spoke three lan? guages, I fit right in. I made all of the arrangements for sleeping quarters for the men, and then I asked the Superintendent if there was an easier way to get to the frain station. He told me that there was a steamboat that went out twice a week, and that there was one leaving that night. We caught the boat that same night. The next morning, I wired the men from the frain station. I made arrangement with the steamboat Captain to take us all to Len? noxville for $80. Half way there the boat stopped. The captain told us that we had run out of wood to fire the engine. I went off with ten men in a row boat to cut some hardwood. We also picked up pieces just laying on the ground. We worked for about three hours, until the Captain said we had enough wood for the rest of the frip. The boat ar? rived in Lennoxville at 10 pm. It was so late that we ended up staying in a large cellar for the night. The next day I got the men to the camp. All 70 men boarded to? gether. We gathered sfraw for their beds, put up a stove, and bought pro? visions. By morning, we were ready for work. There was a woman in our gang who did the cooking; her husband helped her. Each man was to pay them $2 a month. This came out to a total of $140 per month, so they were well paid. The men were pleased EnerlVallJs a lightweight and versatile EPS insulated concrete forming system. Use it to build both above and below grade structures. The EnerWall building system provides superior energy efficiency and long term performance for houses, shops, barns, foundations, retaining walls, fire walls, storage tanks and sound barriers. BEAM THE CONCRETE THAT nilS THE HOUOWS AT THE TOPS AND BOTTOMS OF THE FORMS BECOMES HORIZONTAL BEAMS. THE REINFORCING STEEL SHOWN BEGINS IN THE SECOND BEAM AND IS INCLUDED IN EVERY SECOND BEAM THEREAFTER. 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I worked there for a few months as a foreman in the construction of a new steel plant. I then moved on to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to work as a foreman on the city sewer and water works. It was in May that I came to Canada. The CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) was building a branch from Montreal to Smith Falls, Ontario. I first landed in Toronto by rail, tiien took a boat to Cornwall where they were building a canal. I had a gang of men with me, and I asked the Superintendent for work. We started work the next day. When noon came I stopped work, and we went for dinner. The Superintendent came over to let us know that we had to keep working until the flag came up. In the evening, they kept the men working until 6:30 pm, instead of 6 pm. The men were working 10 3/4 hours per day, but paid for 10 hours. The next day I left there with my gang, and we went to Apple Hill, Ontario to work on the new CPR railway. I worked tiiere for the summer as a foreman, then moved on to St. Anne de Bellevue, and later Sherbrooke to work on different road projects. That winter, we had over eight feet of snow. Every morning we had to shovel snow before we could begin work. In the spring of 1887, the same confractor asked me to work on the next section of road running through Maine to Saint John, New Brunswick. More tiian half the road ran through the woods, and the mosquitoes were terrible, so we decided to go to Ottawa instead. While in Ottawa, we met someone hiring men to go to Cape Breton where the government was building a railway from Port Hawkesbury to North Sydney. I spoke to the confractor, and agreed to take a gang of men to Cape Breton on condition that the company pay our fravel fare. He agreed. The men were to be paid $1.25 for each 10-hour day they worked. Our arrangement was for a six-month work period. We fravelled from Ottawa to Mulgrave, Nova Scotia by rail. From there we were to take a boat to St. Peter's Canal, but the Canal was blocked with ice. The railway manager told us to go to West Bay Road, about ten miles away, to wait for a boat. We hired a few teams to carry our baggage, and we started off on foot. We arrived at West Bay Road in late afternoon. The weather was cold along the seashore. We spent the entire night on the wharf waiting for the boat; we nearly froze. There was no accommodation in the Uttie town for such a big At the Great Hai-Dour 250 YEARS on the Halifax waterfront Art Gallery o/Nova Scotia Central Guaranty Trust Gallery in memory of Henry B Rhude 26 June - 12 September 1999 AGNS ''j • • • * ' • ? C'' i' Haiifa. '??1 Pert Antheritv RX""'- • 30
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