Portuguese Canadians
Canadiens portugais
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
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
Strathroy, Ontario
Toronto, Ontario:  171,545 Calgary: 10,000
Vancouver, British Columbia  20,335
Victoria, British Columbia
Calgary, Alberta:  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, Pereira to Perry, Madeira to Wood and Morais to Morris.

History of Portuguese in Canada[]

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.

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.

The Portuguese in British Columbia[]

The first recorded Portuguese individual to immigrate to British Columbia was "Portuguese Joe" Silvie, from Pico Island.[5] 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 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.

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[]


  • Pedro da Silva – first post courier in New France[6]

Film and television[]

  • Louis Ferreira – actor (sometimes credited as Justin Lewis) who has appeared on nine TV series to date[7]
  • 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[8]
  • Judith Roberts - actress
  • Seth Roberts – actor
  • Jackson Santana – actor


  • Anthony de Sá – novelist and short story writer[9]
  • Erika de Vasconcelos – novelist


  • Keshia Chanté – singer, songwriter, and actress[10][11]
  • Shawn Desman – pop singer and dancer
  • Danny Fernandes – pop/R&B singer and dancer; younger brother of Shawn Desman
  • Nelly Furtado – singer, songwriter, and actress[12]
  • Anthony Gomes – blues and blues-rock guitarist and singer[13]
  • Brian Melo – musician, winner of Canadian Idol, season five[14][15][16]
  • Shawn Mendes – singer and songwriter
  • Lucas Silveira – singer/guitarist of rock band The Cliks
  • Peter Serrado – singer/songwriter. Finalist at the 2018 Festival da Canção in Portugal.

Politicians / attorneys[]

  • Paul FerreiraNew Democratic Party Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for York-South Weston from February 2007 to October 2007[17]
  • Peter Fonseca – Minister of Labour of Ontario and member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament (2003)[18]
  • Carlos Leitão – economist and politician; current Finance Minister of Quebec
  • Keith Martin (PC, MP, BSc, MD) – physician and former (1993–2011) Liberal Member of Parliament for the Victoria-area electoral district of Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca[19]
  • Alexandra Mendès – Liberal Member of Parliament for the Quebec electoral districts of Brossard—La Prairie (2008–2011) and Brossard—Saint-Lambert (2015–present).
  • Mario Silva – former (2004–2011) Liberal Member of Parliament for the Davenport region in Toronto and former Toronto City Councilor[20]
  • Charles Sousa – Minister of Finance for Ontario and the Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Mississauga-South.
  • Ana BailãoToronto City Councillor for (Ward 18) Davenport.


  • Justin Azevedo – professional ice hockey player in the Los Angeles Kings' hockey organization
  • Mike Benevides – head coach of the BC Lions
  • Meaghan Benfeito - Canadian national team diver
  • António Carvalho – featherweight MMA fighter
  • Drew Doughty – professional ice hockey player for the Los Angeles Kings; part Portuguese
  • Daniel Fernandes – Portuguese-Canadian footballer who participated in the 2010 FIFA World Cup
  • Adam Henrique – professional ice hockey player for the New Jersey Devils; part Portuguese
  • Steve Martins – former professional ice hockey player for the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators
  • Mike Ribeiro – professional ice hockey player for the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League (NHL)[19]
  • Alex Silva – professional wrestler
  • John Tavares – professional ice hockey player drafted first overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders; has been interviewed by media from Portugal and speaks the language fluently (half Portuguese, half Polish)[21]
  • John Tavares – professional lacrosse player for the Buffalo Bandits; uncle of John Tavares (ice hockey)[21][22]
  • Emanuel Viveiros – former professional ice hockey player for the Minnesota North Stars
  • Dylan DeMelo – professional ice hockey player for the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League (NHL)[19]
  • Evan Rodrigues – professional ice hockey player for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL)[19]


  • Emanuel Jaques – victim of a high-profile murder in Toronto[23]


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.[24]


Club associations[]

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


  • First Portuguese Canadian Cultural Centre[26]
  • Associação Cultural do Minho de Toronto (ACMT)[27]
  • Canadian Madeira Club - Toronto, Ontario[28]
  • Northern Portugal Cultural Centre - Oshawa, Ontario[29]
  • Banda do Sagrado Coração de Jesus - Toronto, Ontario
  • Portuguese Cultural Centre of Mississauga[30]
  • Northern Portugal Cultural Centre, Oshawa[31]


  • The Portuguese Canadian Golfers Association - Toronto, Ontario[32]

Portuguese-Canadian business groups[]

  • Federation of Portuguese-Canadian Business and Professionals[33]

Portuguese-Canadian educational groups[]

  • University of Toronto Portuguese Association (UTPA)[34]
  • York University Portuguese Association (YUPA)[35]

Portuguese-Canadian ethnic cultural parks[]

  • Madeira Park - Georgina, Ontario[36]

Portuguese publications[]

  • Lusitania– Canada's monthly, celebrating the Portuguese world[37]
  • Portugal News – news from Portugal, in English and Portuguese[38]
  • Voz Lusitana – Portuguese/English monthly newspaper[39]

See also[]


  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".,97154&S=0&SHOWALL=0&SUB=801&Temporal=2006&THEME=80&VID=14493&VNAMEE=&VNAMEF=. Retrieved 2010-11-10. 
  4. ^ "Armstrong speaks on Portugal Day in the Legislature". June 11, 2013. Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^ " Bio: Justin Louis". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  8. ^ "Ramona Milano". 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2017-08-16. 
  10. ^ "Interview with Keshia Chanté". Archived from the original on 2006-10-22. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  11. ^ Henley, Tara. "Interview with Keshia Chanté #2". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  12. ^ Bliss, Karen. " Biography: Nelly Furtado". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  13. ^ "Biography: Anthony Gomes (Official web site)". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  14. ^ "Canadian Idol (Official web site)". Archived from the original on 2007-09-12. Retrieved 2007-09-12. 
  15. ^ "Brian Melo Online (Fan site)". Archived from the original on 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2007-09-12. 
  16. ^ "Yahoo Canada News: "Hamilton rocker Brian Melo crowned the new Canadian Idol". Retrieved 2007-09-12. 
  17. ^ "Biography: Paul Ferreira" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  18. ^ "Biography: Peter Fonseca". Archived from the original on 2006-12-09. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  19. ^ a b c d "Distinguished Americans & Canadians of Portuguese Descent". Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  20. ^ "Biography: Mario Silva". Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  21. ^ a b Stuart McDonald. "Featured Article, 2009 prospects: Q&A with John Tavares". Hockey's Future. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  22. ^ "Inaugural Celebrating Outstanding Portuguese-Canadian Achievement Awards". Portuguese Canadian National Congress. Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-02-18. Retrieved 2007-06-19. 
  24. ^ "English". Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  25. ^ "Home - ACAPO". 
  26. ^ "-". Retrieved 20 August 2017. 
  27. ^ "Associação C. do Minho de Toronto - ACAPO". Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  28. ^ "Home - Canadian Madeira Club". 
  29. ^ "Home - NPCC". 
  30. ^ "Portuguese Cultural Centre of Mississauga". Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  31. ^ "NPCC – Oshawa" (in en-US). 
  32. ^ "PCGA – HOME". Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  33. ^ "Home - Federation of Portuguese-Canadian Business & Professionals". Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  34. ^ "UTPA - University of Toronto Portuguese Association". Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-05. Retrieved 2015-03-24. 
  36. ^ "Madeira Park - Canadian Madeira Club". Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  37. ^ "Lusitania – Canadian Online Magazine". Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  38. ^ "Portugal Post". Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  39. ^ "惣市範菜のさいげんレシピblog". Retrieved 2017-08-20. 

Further reading[]

External links[]