For over a century, St. Patrick's Ward has been the centre of Guelph's Italian population. In the early 20th century, the Ward became a popular destination for immigrants from France, Poland, and Italy. This trend occurred simultaneously with the industrialization of the Ward. Italian men and women worked long hours in dirty factories in order to provide for their large families. The Ward became a self-sufficient Italian community with shops, cafes, a church and school, professional services and the mafia. Mafia legends and an ignorance of Italian culture helped to stigmatize the area, an attitude that would outlive most of the infamous characters that settled there. Slowly this neighbourhood is being converted by young homeowners with dollars to renovate the classic brick structures.