Portuguese Canadians
Luso-canadianos
Canadiens portugais
Total population
482,610
(by ancestry, 2016 Census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Bradford, Ontario


Brampton, Ontario 27,000
Calgary, Alberta:  10,315
Cambridge, Ontario:  10,685
Edmonton, Alberta
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Hamilton, Ontario:  14,110
Davenport, Toronto
Harrow, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario
Kitchener, Ontario:  17,220
Laval, Quebec
London, Ontario:  10,525
Mississauga, Ontario:  31,795
Montreal, Quebec:  46,535
New Westminster, British Columbia
Oshawa, Ontario
Ottawa, Ontario:  9,910
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Strathroy, Ontario
Toronto, Ontario:  171,545
Calgary, Alberta: 10,000
Vancouver, British Columbia  20,335
Victoria, British Columbia


Waterloo, Ontario[2]
Languages
Predominantly Canadian English, Quebec French and Portuguese and/or its dialects
Religion
Predominantly Roman Catholic

Portuguese Canadians (Portuguese: luso-canadianos) are Canadian citizens of full or partial Portuguese heritage or people who migrated from Portugal and reside in Canada. According to the 2016 Census, there were 482,610 or 1.4% of Canadians claimed full or partial Portuguese ancestry, an increase compared to 410,850 in 2006 (1.3% of the nation's total population). Most Portuguese Canadians live in Ontario - 282,865 (69%), followed by Quebec 57,445 (14%) and British Columbia 34,660 (8%).[3]

History of the Portuguese in Canada

First contacts during the Age of Discovery (Possibly 1473-1526)

Portugal played a pioneering role in the explorations of the New World in the 15th and 16th centuries.[6] In the 15th century, Prince Henry of Portugal, better known as Henry the Navigator, established a school of navigation in Sagres, in the Algarve region of Portugal. From this school emerged explorers who found their way to the Indies, South America, North America and Africa, including the Portuguese João Fernandes Lavrador, who was the first explorer of Labrador, and Gaspar Corte-Real, who was also one of the earliest European explorers of Canada. Corte-Real explored the northeast coast of "Terra Nova", naming Conception Bay, Portugal Cove, and Labrador, named after Fernandes Lavrador. Recent historiography suggests Corte Real May have reached Canadian coasts in 1473, before Columbus officially "discovered" America.[4] It is nonetheless worth noting that historical evidence from the early Age of Discovery is lacking.

Around 1521, João Álvares Fagundes was granted donatary rights to the inner islands of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and also created a settlement on Cape Breton Island to serve as a base for cod fishing. In 1524 the cartographer Estêvão Gomes traveled along the coasts of northeastern North America. During his journey, he possibly reached the Cabot Strait and Cape Breton, in the present-day Nova Scotia.[7]

Pressure from natives and competing European fisheries prevented a permanent establishment and was abandoned five years later. Several attempts to establish settlements in Newfoundland over the next half-century also failed.[5]

16th–19th centuries

In the early 1600s Mathieu Da Costa was probably the first black person setting foot in modern-day Canadian territory.[8][9]

In 1705, the Portuguese Pedro da Silva became the first post courier in the French territory of North America, New France. He settled in the Canadian part of the territory.

In addition, Esther Brandeau, of Sephardic descent is notable in the history of the Jews in Canada as the first Jew to set foot in the country, travelling from France to New France.[10][11] Portuguese and Spanish Sephardic Jews also contributed founding the oldest Jewish congregation in Canada, establishing Montréal synagogue in 1778.[12]

20th century: large-scale emigration

During the 1950s, a large number of immigrants from the Azores and Madeira, fleeing political conflict with the regime of António de Oliveira Salazar, moved into the downtown core of Canada's major cities such as the area of Portugal Village in Toronto, Ontario and further west along Dundas Street to Brockton Village. The stretch of Dundas Street passing through Brockton Village is also known as "Rua Açores". Many other Portuguese have immigrated to Montreal since the 1960s. As well, Portuguese emigrants settled in areas of British Columbia from the mid 1950s onwards, including Vancouver and Kitimat where they worked in the lumber and smelting industries, and the Okanagan Valley in the interior of the province, where many became orchard farmers. From the 1970s, increasing numbers of Brazilians moved into the Portugal Village, Toronto.

Recently, a number of Canadians of Goan heritage have opted to pursue Portuguese citizenship they are entitled to through their heritage as a result of Goa being an overseas province of Portugal until 1961, thus adding to the Portuguese Canadian population in Canada.

Demographics

The Toronto suburbs of Brampton and Mississauga contain large Portuguese communities. Most Portuguese families in Brampton live along Main Street, with concentrations in Downtown Brampton, Peel Village, Main St & Vodden as well as the Edenbrook Hill Drive corridor. Our Lady of Fatima Portuguese Church is located in Brampton.

Montreal has the second most populous number of Portuguese immigrants with an estimated 47,000. Most started immigrating in the 1960s and settled in the Le Plateau-Mont-Royal mainly around Saint Laurent Boulevard and Rachel Street. Many Portuguese stores and restaurants are located in Little Portugal.

St Mary's Pro-Cathedral Hamilton

Hamilton, Ontario also has a solid Portuguese community concentrated in the downtown core around Barton and James Street and nearby the St. Mary's Roman Catholic church. This area in Hamilton is known as "Jamesville" and is shared with a neighbouring Italian population. London, Ontario's significant Portuguese community[13] is concentrated in the east end and south end of the city, with Portuguese restaurants and shops situated on Hamilton Road.

The Portuguese in British Columbia

The first recorded Portuguese individual to immigrate to British Columbia was "Portuguese Joe" Silvie, from Pico Island.[14] He arrived in BC around 1858 via California, after years in the American whaling industry. He married Khaltinaht a daughter of Grand Chief Kiapilano, and their daughter was the first child born in Vancouver of European origin, Elizabeth Walker (née Silvey). They lived in a cabin built in what is now Stanley Park and he ran Vancouver's second saloon, and was a fisherman as well. However his wife died in 1871, and in years later married a shíshálh woman named Kwaham Kwatleematt (Lucy). They later moved to Reid Island where their family grew to 10 children. Portuguese Joe died in 1902, and has approximately 500 descendant. A statue in his memory now stands in Stanley Park, meters away from the totem pole display.

British Columbia has around 35 000 Portuguese-Canadians, concentrated in the Lower Mainland (Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, Delta, Coquitlam) with around 20 000 Portuguese Canadians. Other centres for Portuguese immigrants and their descendants are Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Victoria, and the Okanagan region where many are fruit farmers. Many are of Azorean heritage.

In Vancouver there is a Portuguese Catholic Church, Portuguese Canadian Senior's Society, Portuguese Brotherhood of the Divine Holy Spirit with members originally from Flores Island, Azores and São Miguel Island, Tradition of Terceira (Tradição da Terceira), Friends of Pico (Amigos do Pico), and several folk dance groups, including. Cruz de Cristo (regions of Mainland Portugal), Pico, Sao Miguel Island and Madeira.

Portuguese Canadians by Canadian province or territory (2016)

Province Population Percentage Source
 Ontario 324,930 2.4% [15]
 Quebec 69,805 0.9% [16]
 British Columbia 41,765 0.9% [17]
 Alberta 22,385 0.6% [18]
 Manitoba 14,540 1.1% [19]
 Nova Scotia 3,580 0.4% [20]
 Saskatchewan 1,885 0.2% [21]
 New Brunswick 1,785 0.2% [22]
 Newfoundland and Labrador 1,215 0.2% [23]
 Prince Edward Island 330 0.2% [24]
 Northwest Territories 205 0.5% [25]
 Nunavut 120 0.3% [26]
 Yukon 70 0.2% [27]
 Canada 482,610 1.4% [1]

Cultural Impact

2003 Celebrations

The Portuguese Canadian community chose 2003 as the year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their officially sponsored immigration to Canada. The Honourable David Collenette, Minister of Transport and Minister Responsible for Canada Post, said that "the Portuguese Canadian community is a vibrant group that enriches the Canadian mosaic with its history, language, culture and work ethic." He added that Canada Post was proud to be issuing a stamp honouring Portuguese Canadians during the month of June, when cultural celebrations honouring the life of 16th-century poet Luís de Camões, considered Portugal's greatest poet, were taking place in many communities across the country.

Portuguese language

In addition, the Portuguese brought with them their language.[28] Despite the geographical distance between the two countries,[29] interest[30] towards the language[31] remains vivid and has recently experienced a renewed interest.[32][33]

According to recent statistics, more than 330,000 Canadians can speak Portuguese, accounting to approximately 1% of the country's population.[34] Portuguese language is amongst the most notable cultural contributions Portuguese have brought to Canada, contributing to the enrichment and adding to the diversity of the country.[35]

Holy Spirit Societies (Irmandades do Divino Espirito Santo)

As Azoreans came to Canada from 1953 into the 1970s, numerous Holy Spirit Societies, reminiscent of the spiritual celebration of the Holy Spirit and cultural tradition present in each village in the Azores Islands, were set up by individuals from the community coming together. They participate in the International Conference of the Festivals of the Holy Spirit, which united Azorean communities around the world yearly.

Notable Portuguese Canadians

Athletes and Sportspeople

Film and television

Historical Figures

Literature

Music

Politics and Government

Other

Organizations

Some Portuguese-Canadians adopt the name "Luso-Canadians" for their local social and business clubs, in reference to Lusitania, the ancient name associated with Portugal under the Roman Empire (and nowadays used in the Portuguese language as a synonym for "Portuguese". The attendance growth of organizations indicate the growth in small business and universities throughout the community. They have also established a Portuguese-language TV channel serving the community.[57] The sense of community is strong[58][59] and the Portuguese have established many cultural societies in Canadian soil[60][61]

Leading as a national voice, one can find the "Congresso", the Luso-Canadiano National Congress.[62]

Club associations

Clubs

Portuguese-Canadian Religious organizations

Sports

Portuguese-Canadian business groups

Portuguese-Canadian educational groups

Portuguese-Canadian ethnic cultural parks

Portuguese publications

See also

References

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Further reading