Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Jack Cancilla (c1887-1942)

Restauranteur, boxing promoter.

Born at Trabia, Italy, he came to Canada with his parents at the age of nine and took up residence at Winnipeg. In 1902 he became employed by the Canadian National Railway as a water boy. He later established the Venice Café on Portage Avenue, in partnership with his brother Frank. In 1927 they went into partnership in Frank’s Café on Donald Street, remaining there for six years then opening a restaurant at Winnipeg Beach. After a short time he returned to Winnipeg and established Jack’s Golden Gate Café which he operated until forced to retire due to illness. In the early 20th century he brought world championship boxing matches to Winnipeg, including such boxers as Jack Dempsey, Fred Welsh, Sam Langford, and Fred Fulton. For a number of years he managed boxer Frankie Battaglia, former Manitoba middleweight champion. From 1905 to 1920 he participated in many ten-pin bowling tournaments. He died at Winnipeg on 12 June 1942 while undergoing an operation.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 13 June 1942, page 5.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 26 February 2010

Memorable Manitobans

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