Cousin Francesco comes to town

Local school board trustee George Natalizio entertained a long-lost cousin

Francesco on the Capiklano suspension bridge in North Vancouver.

Imagine it’s the first time you experience the North Cariboo. The first time you see the pristine wilderness, the first time for the rolling ranch lands and majestic waterways we call home.

For 23-year-old Francesco Fusaro, the size, the grandeur, the unspoiled countryside was an overwhelming difference from his home in a small town near Milan, Italy.

This was his first trip to Canada and he made the long journey to connect with his family relations.

“Lots of differences between Canada and Italy,” he said in reasonably good English.

“Everything is bigger here, the houses, the open land, the cars.”

Through some translation, thanks to his cousin George Natalizio, Francesco explained the homes in his home town of Sedriano are all pretty close together and traffic is very congested.

George explained that his family, who moved to Canada in the 1950s lost track of Francesco’s family as that part of the family had emigrated to South America. After about 40 years it was discovered they had returned to Italy but the connection had been broken until Francesco made enquiries, knowing their extended family was somewhere in Canada.

“I had no idea how big Canada was,” he said with a smile.

George was happy to host his long lost cousin and for his entire visit, Francesco has explored many of Western Canada’s tourist spots including Jasper, Columbia Ice Fields, Lake Louise, Banff, Kelowna and Vancouver as well as Quesnel’s own unique hot spots. Barkerville was a particular favourite of Francesco’s.

George also arranged a tour of Dunkley Lumber to provide his cousin with a sense of our industrial base.

Billy Barker Days was also a  lot of fun Francesco said and George added he seemed to enjoy the rodeo, barn dance and his newly acquired cowboy hat.

“Francesco has completed his degree in business and is headed to a master’s program after which he said he could be looking for a career in Canada.

As his visit winds down, Francesco looked back on his time in Canada with fondness.

“It’s been a beautiful experience. Everything is wild, with wide-open spaces, so unspoiled,” he said.

“People have been so friendly and my Canadian family is fantastic.”

George said now that the connection is firmly back in place, he hopes to visit Sedriano in about three years.