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Antonio (Tony) Pavan and
Isabella Tokar Pavan

Our Treasured Heritage
A History of Coalhurst and District
Page 462
by Geraldine Pavan VandenHeuvel (daughter)

Antonio (Tony) Pavan was born on September 20, 1896 in Breda di Piave, Treviso, Italy, and came to Canada in 1914. He settled in Lethbridge where he worked as a boiler washer at the #3 mine and as a part time waiter at the Silver Grill (which was located in the Woodward's comer of 4th Avenue and 5th Street). Isabella (Tokar) Pavan, born February 8, 1896 in Komena, Bucovina, Cemanvitz, Romania (at that time part of Austria), came to Canada in 1912 when she was 16 years of age all by herself. Initially she lived with a brother in Winnipeg before travelling by train to Lethbridge to live with a brother here. She worked as a waitress at the White Lunch Restaurant (where Capital Furniture now stands). The Pavans were married at St. Patrick's Church on May 28, 1919.

The newly married couple moved to Wigan in 1919 and ran a small store there. Then in 1920, they moved to Coalhurst and built a General Store (groceries, dry goods and meat market) on Main Street. The store was open miner's hours: 9 to 6 every day except 9 to I on Wednesdays and 9 to 9 on Saturdays. They also had an abattoir located on their small farm I mile east and 1/2 mile north of Coalhurst. It was here, on Wednesday afternoons, that Mr. Pavan did all of his own slaughtering and butchering.

To accommodate their customers, the Pavans sent out grocery deliveries twice daily and once on Wednesdays. Some of the drivers that made the trips were Bill and Nick Myckityck, George Tokar, Steve and Matt Swedish, Pete Smith, Davie Adamson and Bill Mogus. Inez (Cattoi) Baker also worked for Pavans - Mr. Pavan taught her the trade and she was an excellent butcher.

For some reason the delivery horses, Bill and Barney, were often tired on Monday mornings. Johnny Walker now reveals the reason for this. It seems that the horses were pastured near Pavan's slaughter house and it was considered great Sunday afternoon sport for "the gang" to ride Bill and Barney all around the fields!

In summer, when the mine was idle and there were no pay checks coming in, Pavans gave credit to the miners and farmers until they started to work again . They also took meat, eggs, butter and vegetables in trade for groceries. Tony always had his pockets full of candy which he generously passed out to all the children. However, not all of the kids wanted candy. One day Harry Gordon went into Pavan's store for groceries. No one was around at the time so Harry decided to help himself to a delicious green onion. When Mr. Pavan came to serve Harry, he said nothing and gave him his order. On pay day, when the miners came in to pay their bills, they were always given some candy for their children. When Mr. Gordon paid his bill, he got candy for the kids, but Mr. Pavan also gave him a nice green onion especially for Harry, "since he knew how much Harry liked them"!

Mr. Pavan was a Councillor for the Village of Coalhurst, served on the board of trustees of the Lethbridge School Division, and as chairman of the West Lethbridge Committee in the Community and War Services Drive. He was a member of the Elks and Lions Clubs, and a founding member of the Italian-Canadian Club. The Pavans were active members of St. Joseph's Parish.

Mr and Mrs. Pavan operated their store until 1938 when, because of a heart condition, Mr. Pavan was forced to retire. The store was sold to Mr. Sabey from Magrath. The Pavans stayed in Coalhurst for another ten years.

The Pavans loved their home on Main Street (where the school yard is now), and kept a beautiful garden and yard. When they moved to Lethbridge, they brought their love and skill of gardening to the yards and boulevards of their new home on 6th Avenue South. Their house in Coalhurst was moved to Barons, where it still stands today.

Mr. Pavan died in March of 1957.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup