Leonardo Varrasso, better known as “Len” is an Italian immigrant, long-time educator, and dedicated family man who immigrated to Hamilton in 1949 at the age of seven. Originally from Abruzzi (a region in southern Italy), Len, his siblings and his mother were one of many families leaving Europe for better opportunities abroad following World War II.
Arrival in Canada brought his first encounter with Canadian winter, a reunion with his father and enrolling in a new school system where he had to learn a new language and culture. Among many childhood memories, Len remembers translating the Hamilton Spectator for his non-English speaking family members and connecting with both Canadian-born and immigrant children through sports.
As an adult, Len dedicated his life to education, working as a teacher in several schools in Hamilton, eventually becoming a high school principal. His experience as a newcomer child helped him to relate to and support his diverse student body, many of whom experienced similar challenges decades later. Most recently, Len received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the City of Hamilton’s Senior of the Year awards for his outstanding service.
Having lived in Canada now for more than 70 years, Len is a proud Hamiltonian – it is the place he grew up, started his career and raised his family.