But Mr. Ciliberto may yet brave the
heat of Australia – it’s the next country on the couple’s
list of “to visit.” The Cilibertos have travelled to Europe
(including of course Italy), South America and Alaska.
Mr. Ciliberto has been retired now
for 11 years, but he still remembers with fondness the customers he
served over the years. The family run store catered to families of
different nationalities within the community.
“There was a mix: Italians,
of course, but also French-Canadian, Polish. And I got along with
everybody,” he says. “There was one family who had 21
The Ciliberto family is modest in
comparison. They had three children and now have three grandchildren.
All of their children still live in Ottawa and every Sunday the family
gathers for dinner.
“Yes, family is very important,”
agrees Mr. Ciliberto.
Once Vito and Victoria had settled
in Ottawa, they sponsored their families to come and join them.
“We brought everybody over,”
says Mr. Ciliberto. “My 93-year-old father is just upstairs,”
he says, in reference to Gladstone Terrace, a seniors housing complex.
Now that he’s no longer busy
with running a business, Mr. Ciliberto fills much of his days with
family and bingo. He works several evenings a week helping to run
St. Anthony’s bingo nights.
“I guess you could call bingo
my hobby now,” he says. “Some people they paint for a
hobby. For me, it’s working at bingo.”
Mr. Ciliberto says he enjoys bingo
because he likes being around people. It was interacting with different
people that also made running his store enjoyable.
“You have to meet different
people, talk to different people because this is how you learn things,”
It was this adventurous and independent
spirit that drove Vito Ciliberto to seek his fortune in Canada. And,
like other Italian immigrants before him and after, he worked hard
to achieve the life he wanted for himself and his family.