Portuguese Canadians

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Portuguese Canadians
Portugal Canada
Total population
(by ancestry, 2011 Census)[1])
Regions with significant populations

Bradford, Ontario
Brampton, Ontario 27,000
Cambridge, Ontario:  10,685
Edmonton, Alberta:  7,760
Hamilton, Ontario:  14,110
Harrow, 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
Strathroy, Ontario
Toronto, Ontario:  171,545
Vancouver, British Columbia  20,335
Victoria, British Columbia
Winnipeg, Manitoba:  10,315

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 2011 Census, there were 429,850 Canadians who 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]

As with other European Canadians, some Portuguese surnames have been changed to align with more Canadian sounding names, for example Rodrigues to Rogers, Oliveira to Oliver, Martins to Martin, Silva to Silver, Carneiro to Carney and Pereira to Perry.

History of Portuguese in Canada[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.

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 Gaspar Corte-Real, who was 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 Portuguese explorer João Fernandes Lavrador. João Alvares Fagundes also explored Nova Scotia.

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". From the 1970s, increasing numbers of Brazilians moved into this area.

The Toronto suburbs of Brampton and Mississauga contain large Portuguese communities.

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.

There has been growing concerns of the high number of Portuguese students dropping out of high school in the Toronto District School Board. There have been many discussion from the Board and parents on how to combat this issue.

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.

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[4] is concentrated in the east end and south end of the city, with Portuguese restaurants and shops situated on Hamilton Road.

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

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 till 1961, thus adding to the Portuguese Canadian population in Canada.

Notable Portuguese Canadians[edit]


Film and television[edit]

  • Louis Ferreira – actor (sometimes credited as Justin Lewis) who has appeared on nine TV series to date[6]
  • Ramona Milano – actor, known for her role as Francesca Vecchio on Due South and Audra Torres on Degrassi: The Next Generation; her mother is from Faial, Azores[7]



Politicians / law[edit]




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"[23]). 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.[24]


Club associations[edit]

  • Alliance of Portuguese Clubs & Associations of Ontario (ACAPO)[25]


  • Associação Cultural do Minho de Toronto (ACMT)[26]
  • Canadian Madeira Club - Toronto, Ontario[27]
  • Northern Portugal Cultural Centre - Oshawa, Ontario[28]
  • Banda do Sagrado Coração de Jesus - Toronto, Ontario


  • The Portuguese Canadian Golfers Association - Toronto, Ontario[29]

Portuguese-Canadian business groups[edit]

  • Federation of Portuguese-Canadian Business and Professionals[30]

Portuguese-Canadian educational groups[edit]

  • University of Toronto Portuguese Association (UTPA)[31]
  • York University Portuguese Association (YUPA)[32]

Portuguese-Canadian ethnic cultural parks[edit]

  • Madeira Park - Georgina, Ontario[33]

Portuguese publications[edit]

  • Lusitania– Canada's monthly, celebrating the Portuguese world[34]
  • Portugal News – news from Portugal, in English and Portuguese[35]
  • Voz Lusitana – Portuguese/English monthly newspaper[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Statistics Canada. "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  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. ^ "Armstrong speaks on Portugal Day in the Legislature". June 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ "imdb.com Bio: Justin Louis". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  7. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0586867/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
  8. ^ http://www.thebukowskiagency.com/Barnacle%20Love.htm
  9. ^ "Interview with Keshia Chanté". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  10. ^ Henley, Tara. "Interview with Keshia Chanté #2". Retrieved 2006-12-29. [dead link]
  11. ^ Bliss, Karen. "Rollingstone.com Biography: Nelly Furtado". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  12. ^ "Biography: Anthony Gomes (Official web site)". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  13. ^ "Canadian Idol (Official web site)". Retrieved 2007-09-12. 
  14. ^ "Brian Melo Online (Fan site)". Retrieved 2007-09-12. 
  15. ^ "Yahoo Canada News: "Hamilton rocker Brian Melo crowned the new Canadian Idol". Retrieved 2007-09-12. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Biography: Paul Ferreira" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  17. ^ "Biography: Peter Fonseca". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  18. ^ a b "Distinguished Americans & Canadians of Portuguese Descent". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  19. ^ "Biography: Mario Silva". Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  20. ^ a b Stuart McDonald. "Featured Article, 2009 prospects: Q&A with John Tavares". Hockey's Future. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  21. ^ "Inaugural Celebrating Outstanding Portuguese-Canadian Achievement Awards". Portuguese Canadian National Congress. Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  22. ^ Miracles of Emanuel Jaques. Available: http://www.ccca.ca/c/writing/m/mays/mays002t.html Accessed: 2007-6-19
  23. ^ pt:wikt:luso
  24. ^ Luso-Canadiano National Congress
  25. ^ Alliance of Portuguese Clubs & Associations of Ontario (ACAPO)
  26. ^ Associação Cultural do Minho de Toronto (ACMT)
  27. ^ Canadian Madeira Club - Toronto, Ontario
  28. ^ Northern Portugal Cultural Centre - Oshawa, Ontario
  29. ^ The Portuguese Canadian Golfers Association - Toronto, Ontario
  30. ^ Federation of Portuguese-Canadian Business and Professionals
  31. ^ University of Toronto Portuguese Association (UTPA)
  32. ^ York University Portuguese Association (YUPA)
  33. ^ Madeira Park - Georgina, Ontario
  34. ^ Lusitania
  35. ^ Portugal News
  36. ^ Voz Lusitana

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]