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- Stevens Family
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Robert Thomas Stevens [Roberto Tomaso Stefanizzi] was born in Cellara, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy on February 23, 1896 to Gaetano Stefanizzi and Gaetana Caliguiri. At the age of 6, he immigrated to Canada with his uncle Francesco Steffanzzi (aka Frank Stevens d. 1941 age 70) in 1902 while the rest of his family remained in Italy.
As a teenager during the first world war, Stevens operated a commissary at Nobel for the explosives plant employees. Stevens enjoyed being an entrepreneur and in 1918, he decided to venture into the film industry by opening his first theatre in Sudbury on Elm Street East. His theatre business thrived and over the years, Stevens expanded his business with the acquisition of additional theatres in Sturgeon Falls, Creighton Mine and Sault Ste. Marie. For a few years, Stevens also owned a theatre in Espanola. In August 1939, Stevens opened the large Regent Theatre on Elm Street in Sudbury. This theatre was well known for its size in Northeastern Ontario.
On December 4, 1923, Robert Stevens married Florence Boucher, a nurse originally from Whitefish, Ontario. The ceremony was held in Little Current, Ontario. They had six children; Joseph 'Robert' Guy (1924-1968), 'William' Alfred (1926-1988), 'Thomas' Joseph (1928-), Anne Marie (1930-2004, married name Ripley), John (1931?-), and Margaret Theressa (1934-).
During the second world war, Robert Stevens, along with many other Italian-born Canadians, was closely monitored by authorities. On August 24, 1940, Stevens was a patient at St. Joseph’s Hospital, suffering from a slight ailment. At 10 a.m. he was arrested on charges, under the Defence of Canada Regulations, for during August 14 to 20, 1940 “making statements intended to, or likely to, prejudice recruiting, training, discipline and administration of His Majesty’s forces,” and “making statements intended to, or likely to, cause disaffection to His Majesty.” He was escorted from his hospital room to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police headquarters for questioning. Afterwards, he was taken to the courthouse. Stevens was denied bail by the Magistrate and placed in a prison cell at the Sudbury District Jail until his trial three days later. Stevens plead guilty to the first charge and was fined $25. The second charge was dropped.
Robert Thomas Stevens became ill in January 1943 and passed away at St. Joseph's Hospital in Sudbury on February 13, 1943 at the age of 46.