Frank Savazzi - Toronto
Frank, 82, came from Milan 65 years ago, in 1951, he was 17 years old. At first it was very hard for him because he didn’t understand English very much. and he thought people spoke more French than English. He started at a very young age.
When he was 9, he would go to school in the morning, and his mother would send him to spend the rest of his day learning the skills of the tailoring trade, because she didn’t want him to hang out in the street and get himself into trouble.
"If I had a penny for every stitch I have made, I would be a millionaire. » he jokes.
«I love very much my trade that I learned in the center of Milan, the capital of fashion among very very good tailors. When I came to Canada, I started to make a lot of suits, twenty five, thirty suits a week for the Hudson Bay.
Now I’m older, so I decided to slow it down but I still make suits once in a while because I love very much my work. »
One of Frank’s boss in Milan, a very very good tailor, filled an application to go to Lebanon to be a tailor. At that time, people in Lebanon were tired to go all the way to Europe to buy a beautiful suit, so he got hired to build a good tailor shop there that became pretty successful. He then had the opportunity to go to Canada, but instead of going, he told Frank to go. Frank had a lot of work in Milan and he didn’t want to leave his family behind. He still went to pass the exam to see if he qualified, and he was accepted. He decided to pass and said he would maybe consider it in a year, but he kept on postponing. He then was told that if he kept on refusing, the Government of Canada would no longer consider his application.
That’s how he decided to move from Milan to Toronto. He came by himself, then after three months, his wife followed him with their three young children. She spoke French, English, Italian and German. She helped him with his French and made things easier for Frank. They bought a house because they didn’t to do like all the other immigrants. When she passed away, he raised his three children by himself and remarried after they were all married. He’s been with his second wife, Connie, for 26 years now.
«Nobody wants to learn anymore. Learning a trade demands a lot of time, patience. Nowadays, people want to make money right away because they want to have a car, a better life. They don’t learn like we did, with some kicks in the back sometime; we learned the hard way. We know to do everything: from the vest to the jacket, to the coat. Not like now where people are chain workers: someone does a pocket, someone else does the sleeve, etc and it’s a different kind of work.»
«I don’t like it when people follow like sheep (…) Create your own style and be yourself for what you are.»
Frank's place is like a museum filled with objects and memories collected through the years. Unfortunately, it's gonna close one day.
Frank loves everything about Canada: from the Natives, the Royal Mountain Police and the mountains of British Columbia and he's very grateful for the life he was able to live in Canada. His shop is filled with paintings and sculptures from and inspired by the Natives.