A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
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Subject Profile: Grace Bagnato
Grace Bagnato

An American by birth, Grace married an Italian immigrant in Toronto, Canada. Teaching herself Italian at the library she eventually became fluent in seven languages. From the 1920s, '30s, and '40's, she was a linguist, a social activist, an amateur politician and a mother of thirteen. Grace helped Italians, Ukrainians, Germans, any and all who felt overwhelmed by the new language, the new culture. She crossed cultural barriers. Her kindness, inspiration and her guidance provided a bridge between the immigrants and the English community. In 1929 the Italian community gave an automobile in gratitude for her selfless work.

Pregnant most of her adult life, Bagnato was a contestant in the famous Toronto "Stork Derby" of 1926-36. She had ten children during this ten year period, but did not win the prize. Grace Bagnato died of a heart attack in her sleep at age 51. She was worn out. She changed an entire community, forced people to see her for who she was at a time when people were not supposed to be different. Most of all, Grace loved people, and they loved her.

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