Portuguese Canadians

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Portuguese Canadians
Canadiens portugais
Portugal Canada
Total population
(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:  14,11
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]
Predominantly Canadian English, Quebec French and Portuguese and/or its dialects
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 Portuguese in Canada[edit]

Portugal played a pioneering role in the explorations of the New World in the 15th and 16th centuries. 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. Also João Alvares Fagundes explored Newfoundland, as well as Nova Scotia, in 1520-21. 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.[4] 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.

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. 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.


The Toronto suburbs of Brampton and Mississauga contain large Portuguese communities. 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[5] 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[edit]

The first recorded Portuguese individual to immigrate to British Columbia was "Portuguese Joe" Silvie, from Pico Island.[6] 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 Sechelt First Nation (Shishalh) 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)[edit]

Province Population Percentage Source
 Ontario 324,930 2.4% [7]
 Quebec 69,805 0.9% [8]
 British Columbia 41,765 0.9% [9]
 Alberta 22,385 0.6% [10]
 Manitoba 14,540 1.1% [11]
 Nova Scotia 3,580 0.4% [12]
 Saskatchewan 1,885 0.2% [13]
 New Brunswick 1,785 0.2% [14]
 Newfoundland and Labrador 1,215 0.2% [15]
 Prince Edward Island 330 0.2% [16]
 Northwest Territories 205 0.5% [17]
 Nunavut 120 0.3% [18]
 Yukon 70 0.2% [19]
 Canada 482,610 1.4% [20]

Cultural Impact[edit]

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.

Holy Spirit Societies (Irmandades do Divino Espirito Santo)[edit]

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[edit]

Athletes and Sportspeople

Film and Television

Historical Figures



Politics and Government



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.

Leading as a national voice, one can find the "Congresso", the Luso-Canadiano National Congress.[43]

Club associations[edit]

  • Alliance of Portuguese Clubs & Associations of Ontario (ACAPO)[44]


  • First Portuguese Canadian Cultural Centre[45]
  • Associação Cultural do Minho de Toronto (ACMT)[46]
  • Canadian Madeira Club - Toronto, Ontario[47]
  • Northern Portugal Cultural Centre - Oshawa, Ontario[48]
  • Banda do Sagrado Coração de Jesus - Toronto, Ontario
  • Portuguese Cultural Centre of British Columbia [49]
  • Portuguese Cultural Centre of Mississauga[50]
  • Northern Portugal Cultural Centre, Oshawa[51]
  • Luso-Can Tuna [52]


  • The Portuguese Canadian Golfers Association - Toronto, Ontario[53]

Portuguese-Canadian business groups[edit]

  • Federation of Portuguese-Canadian Business and Professionals[54]

Portuguese-Canadian educational groups[edit]

  • University of Toronto Portuguese Association (UTPA)[55]
  • York University Portuguese Association (YUPA)[56]

Portuguese-Canadian ethnic cultural parks[edit]

  • Madeira Park - Georgina, Ontario[57]

Portuguese publications[edit]

  • Luso Life – Quarterly lifestyle magazine published in Toronto.[58]
  • Milénio Stadium– Weekly Portuguese newspaper published in Toronto[59]
  • Portugal News – news from Portugal, in English and Portuguese[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity Highlight Tables". statcan.gc.ca. 25 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Population by selected ethnic origins, by census metropolitan areas". 2001 Census Stats Canada. Archived from the original on 2006-09-08. Retrieved 2006-12-23.
  3. ^ "Ethnic Origin, Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses and Sex for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census – 20% Sample Data". Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  4. ^ W. F. Ganong (1964). Crucial Maps in the Early cartography and Place-Nomenclature of the Atlantic Coast of Canada. University of Toronto Press. p. 135.
  5. ^ "Armstrong speaks on Portugal Day in the Legislature". Teresaarmstrong.ca. June 11, 2013. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  6. ^ "Shore to Shore: A sculpture by Luke Marston".
  7. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), Ontario, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), Quebec, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), British Columbia, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), Alberta, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), Manitoba, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), Nova Scotia, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  13. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), Saskatchewan, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  14. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), New Brunswick, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), Newfoundland and Labrador, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), Prince Edward Island, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), Northwest Territories, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), Nunavut, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  19. ^ "Ethnic Origin, both sexes, age (total), Yukon, 2016 Census – 25% Sample data". Canada 2016 Census. Statistics Canada. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  20. ^ "Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity Highlight Tables". statcan.gc.ca. 25 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Ramona Milano". IMDb.
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  23. ^ "Hora dos Portugueses (Diário)". RTP Internacional (in Portuguese). Retrieved October 12, 2020.
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  25. ^ "Canada Post: Celebrating Portuguese heritage and Canada's first letter carrier (Pedro da Silva)". Archived from the original on September 5, 2005. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2017-08-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "Interview with Keshia Chanté". Archived from the original on 2006-10-22. Retrieved 2006-12-29.
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  32. ^ "Canadian Idol (Official web site)". Ctv.ca. Archived from the original on 2007-09-12. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
  33. ^ "Brian Melo Online (Fan site)". Archived from the original on 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
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  39. ^ Thompson, Catherine (8 June 2018). "Political neophyte ready for learning curve as new Cambridge MPP". The Record. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
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  43. ^ "English". Congresso.ca. Archived from the original on 2006-09-03. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  44. ^ "Home - ACAPO". ACAPO.
  45. ^ "First Portuguese Canadian Cultural Centre". Firstportuguese.com. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  46. ^ "Associação C. do Minho de Toronto - ACAPO". Acapo.ca. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  47. ^ "Home - Canadian Madeira Club". Canadian Madeira Club.
  48. ^ "Home - NPCC". NPCC.
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  52. ^ "Espalhando boémia, cultura, música e tradições". lusocantuna.com. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
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  56. ^ "Portuguese Association - Home". Archived from the original on 2015-06-05. Retrieved 2015-03-24.
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  59. ^ "Milénio Stadium". MilenioStadium.com. Archived from the original on 2018-08-28. Retrieved 2018-09-16.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]