Frank Colantonio’s story stands as potent testimony to a life dedicated to family, community, and social justice. Like countless other Italians after World War II, Colantonio, born in rural Molise, emigrated to Canada. Putting down roots in the rapidly expanding metropolis of Toronto, he worked his way through a variety of occupations: farm labourer, terrazzo grinder, carpenter, and trade union activist.
In 1960 and 1961 he was the key organizer of Italian-born carpenters in the momentous strikes that paralyzed the construction industry in Toronto. These events form the centerpiece of his stirring narrative. In later years, Frank Colantonio became a tireless advocate for workers’ safety, and a successful entrepreneur in the safety shoe business. In semi-retirement, he wrote his memoirs, the first of their kind, in his adopted language, English.