The Portuguese in Toronto: 1953-2013 – On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Portuguese mass migration to Canada, the Consul-General of Portugal in Toronto Júlio Vilela invited us to curate a traveling exhibit reflecting on that community’s history, to be included in the 2013 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival. The Secretary General of Portuguese Communities and the Instituto Camões provided the funds to produce the materials, which consist of twenty historical photos, two stand-up banners with text and illustrations, and catalogues with extensive captions. Other businesses and organizations provided us various in-kind support. The exhibit’s launch was held on May 13, 2013, at Toronto’s City Hall and attended by close to 150 people, among whom were various dignitaries. The event also attracted the attention of Matt Galloway’s Metro Morning on CBC Radio, OMNI TV, CHIN Radio, CIRV FM, and various local Portuguese-language publications. Over the week that the exhibit was on display at City Hall, patrons picked up most of the 850 catalogues and 1,000 postcards available for free. We were thrilled that so many Torontonians were able to take home an extensively researched yet accessibly written history booklet and learned more about this community.
Well over a thousand people have seen this exhibit after it was on display at City Hall. Designed to be a travelling exhibit, it has been shown at various locations and events, including the Consulate-General of Portugal in Toronto (2013); Dundas West Fest (2013-2015); Toronto Catholic High School Archbishop Romero (2013); Azorean House of Ontario (2013); Lillian H. Smith Toronto Public Library branch (2014); IC Savings, Dundas St. West branch (2014); Scott Library, York University (2014); Victoria College, University of Toronto (2014); Museum Strathroy-Caradoc (2015). For more information see blog posts listed under “travelling exhibit.”
For the Museum Strathroy-Caradoc we partnered with the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers (GPP), which lent some artifacts from their collection; the musician Nuno Cristo, who performed on and made a brief presentation about the cavaquinho; and the author Anthony de Sa, who gave a lecture about his memories growing up in the Portuguese community in Toronto and read from his book Kicking the Sky (2013).
The Portuguese in Toronto exhibit is currently housed at the GPP and available for booking (contact info below).
Portuguese Toronto – In 2014, coinciding with the Portugal Day celebrations in June and the Dundas West Fest, we offered for the first time the walking tour Portuguese Toronto as part of the Heritage Toronto tour program, of which it has since become an annual feature. The guided tour takes people through Toronto’s historical Portuguese neighbourhoods, starting in Kensington Market and heading west on Dundas St. West until Bellwoods Park. Our website features an online companion for the tour with directions, photos, and script. We are currently creating a pre-recorded audio version of this tour that will allow people with mobile devices and internet access to take the tour at their convenience. For more information see blog posts listed under “walking tour.”
The PCHP | PHLP’s directors have been invited numerous times to deliver public lectures on the history of Portuguese immigration in Toronto and Canada. We have had the pleasure of sharing our research with high school and university students, faculty members, seniors, library patrons, and historical society members. These public lectures attract people of all backgrounds with an interest in a variety of historical topics. You can hear a podcast on ActiveHistory.ca of one such talk by Susana Miranda, titled: “Keeping the City Clean: Portuguese Women in Toronto’s Cleaning Industry, 1970-1990.” For inquiries about our public lectures’ topics and availability see our contact info below.
A Hora dos Portugueses – Starting in November 2015, we have partnered with Pedro Rodrigues of RoughCut Audiovisual to produce content for RTPi’s daily show “A Hora dos Portugueses,” showcasing the Portuguese diaspora. In our segments we have highlighted the more modern aspects of Portuguese-Canadian culture, focusing primarily (though not exclusively) on the Canadian-born (or -raised) generation, as spoken with immigrants and descendants both in the fringes and the heart of that ethnic community. Some of the individuals featured in our stories include Mike Rita, Anthony de Sa, Sandy Miranda, Paul Azevedo, Nuno Cristo, Manuela Marujo, Maria João Dodman, and many others. For more information see blog posts listed under “A Hora dos Portugueses.”
The footage captured for this show will later be used to produce video content for other projects, such as a documentary and digital exhibits.