The Order Sons of Italy was formed in New York City in 1905 by Dr. Vincenzo Sellaro and a small group of individuals devoted to caring for the Italian immigrant in the early days of the twentieth century.
The first lodge in Canada was formed in 1915 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario as a Mutual Benefit Society, to provide financial help and protection to Italian immigrants. It thus played a very important part in the lives of early immigrants providing material and spiritual support in times of illness, accident and death. At the same time, the Order served as social and recreational centres.
The Order Sons of Italy Canada has grown in strength and numbers since that time. It is currently a multi-faceted and dynamic organization serving the needs of the community in general. Its endeavors currently include public housing, retirement and nursing homes, charitable fund raising and giving, and support of the arts and the promotion of Italian culture.
Currently, there are 15 Lodges in Canada: over 3000 Lodges in the U.S.A, Bermuda and Hawaii. It is the largest Fraternal Order of Canadians and Americans of Italian origin.
At first, only persons of Italian origin made up the Order Sons of Italy. Because of many marriages of Italians with non-Italians, now membership is open to persons of Italian birth or descent, or married to a person of Italian birth or descent, regardless of religious faith or political affiliations.
The Order’s fundamental concept, its philosophy, as contained in the purpose clause of its Constitution, is simple. It contains three themes: Belief in God, the Brotherhood of man and Government by law.