Order Sons of Italy lodges flourished in Ontario in the 1920s and 1930s. After Italy declared war on Britain in June 1940, however, the RCMP arrested most Grand Lodge officers, as well as local lodge officers and members. Some were interned during the Second World War as Italian–Canadians in general came to be viewed with suspicion and sometimes outright hostility by other Canadians.
After the Second World War and the influx of new Italian immigrants, the Order was slowly rebuilt and rejuvenated. It moved its focus away from mutual aid and towards more social, cultural, and charitable activities. Many members, for example, worked as translators for new immigrants and for the Italian Immigrant Aid Society. In Toronto, the Patronato and Fiorente Lodges helped build Villa Colombo, a community centre and long-term care home for seniors, and the Columbus Centre, where members kicked back at bowling tournaments, dances, conventions, and other get-togethers.
Garden of the Villa Colombo Home for the Aged, Toronto, Ontario. The Order Sons of Italy of Ontario was helpful in promoting the concept of Villa Colombo and supporting the project financially. (Courtesy Villa Charities, Inc.)