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City Government

Mayor Hubert Badanai

Portrait of Mayor Hubert BadanaiHubert (Umberto) Badanai emigrated from Italy to Canada in 1913 when he was only 18 years old. He worked in a brickyard at Rosslyn where he saved money for an education to improve his English. He enlisted in the 94th Battalion in 1916 at Fort Frances, and served overseas, including at Vimy Ridge, until he was discharged as a sergeant in 1919.

Badanai was heavily involved in the automotive business from at least 1920, working as Service Manager at Fort William Motors from 1922-1924, and incorporating Kam Motors Ltd. in 1924. In 1937, Kam Motors was awarded the General Motors franchise for the area.  

During the interwar period, Badanai was concerned with easing tensions between the Italian community and other citizens of Fort William. It became important to assure the community that the local Italians were not in support of Mussolini. He soon became the most prominent figure among the Italian community, and served on the Fort William City Council throughout the 1940s.

Badanai's election to Mayor in 1949 was not only a personal victory, but also broke a glass ceiling of ethnicity in Fort William. During his first tenure as Mayor, Badanai made the first telephone call using Fort William’s newly introduced dial system. At his re-election in 1958, Badanai called for the amalgamation of Fort William and Port Arthur, a move seen by many as revolutionary.

He was elected to the House of Commons, representing Fort William as a Liberal, for five terms, between 1958 and 1972. His role as a Member of Parliment also included serving as Parliamentary Secretary for Public Works and for Citizenship and Immigration.

Born: Jan. 11, 1895 in Azzano Decimo, Friuli region, Udine Province, Italy
Died: Sept. 19, 1986 in Thunder Bay, Ontario at the age of 91
Councillor: 1940-1948
Councillor Candidate: 1937, 1939
Mayoral Candidate: 1953
Mayor: 1949-1952, 1955-1958
Member of Parliament: Fort William Riding, Liberal, 1958-1972

 

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