Photographs donated by our interviewees

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Donor: Mario Porretta

These photos portray developments in the lives of an Italian immigrant family from 1958 to the 1970s, in photos taken to send back to relatives in Italy. They also reflect changes on Harbord Street, where Porretta's Pizza became a local institution. The accompanying notes are based on Mario Porretta's interview and on subsequent conversations. Photos of many of the same people and scenes can also be seen in the collections of Mario's aunts Silia and Vittoria Giannone and his sister-in-law Sylvia Porretta.

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To view larger images, move your mouse pointer over the thumbnails. To read or listen to the interview, click on the donor's name.

1958. Paolina Porretta holding Salvatore (Sal) and her husband Giuseppe holding Nicasio (Nick) in front of their Buick.

1958. Giuseppe Porretta holding his son Sal with Antonio LoForte, a mason who boarded with the family in the house they rented at 206 Robert Street. Their Buick is in the laneway behind the house.

1959. Giuseppe Porretta in his meat and grocery store at 93 Harbord, on the ground floor of the house owned by Giorgio Giannone, whose wife was Paolina Porretta's sister. The store later became a barber shop, then a woodworking and hobby-supply business, then a psychiatrist's office, then a restaurant called simply 93 Harbord, and is currently (March 2015) again for lease. (See also photos in the Giannone collection.)

1959.  Giuseppe Porretta in his meat and grocery store at 93 Harbord, with his sons Sal and Nick. (See also photos in the Giannone collection.)

1959. Nick and Sal Porretta on the counter of their father’s grocery store  at 93 Harbord.

1960. Nick and Sal Porretta on the sidewalk on Robert Street. This photo was sent to relatives in Italy with a comment on the reverse about the Canadian weather.

1960. Nick and Sal Porretta playing cowboys, on the north side of Harbord Street east of Spadina.

1960. Paolina Porretta and her friend Rosetta, with Giuseppe Porretta in their kitchen at 206 Robert Street, posing with a rabbit that Giuseppe had killed on a hunting trip at the north edge of the city.

Mid-1960s. Pasquale Porretta (Pat) playing hockey on the rooftop of Porretta’s Pizza at 97 Harbord. His father flooded the flat roof to create ice.

Mid-1960s. Antonio Porretta, Giuseppe's brother,  and his new car on Robert Street north of Harbord opposite Kromer's Radio (now Hutoshi's).

Mid-1960s. In front of 91 Harbord, then a T-shirt store: Vittoria Giannone with her son, Maria Giannone, and Mantalena Giannone, visiting the Giannone and Porretta families from Chicago. (See also the Giannone collection.)

Early 1970s. On the lane behind the store at 97 Harbord (now Porretta Lane), with their mother Paolina watching from the gateway, the four Porretta brothers:  Mario, Pasquale (Pat), Nicasio (Nick), and Salvatore (Sal).

1971 or 1972. Paolina Porretta with her husband Giuseppe in the kitchen of Porretta's Pizza at 97 Harbord Street, in its early days.

Mid-1970s. Paolina Porretta, still hard at work in the kitchen of Porretta’s Pizza at 97 Harbord Street. (Photo provided by Sylvia Porretta.)



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