Businessmen & Philanthropist
Born in Lourinhã.
Based in Toronto.
We have large companies with over one hundred employees that have only been around for two or three years, [founded] by people who have only recently arrived from Portugal. The opportunities here are incredible – Jack Prazeres.
Jack Prazeres is the owner of Senso Group, a holding of companies linked to the construction sector, including in masonry, drywall, and supplying of building materials and equipment. Born in the central mainland town of Lourinhã, Prazeres joined his parents in Toronto in 1974, where he became one of the Portuguese community’s most successful business and civic leaders.
Joaquim (Jack) Prazeres was born on November 30, 1962, in Pinhoa, a rural village near Lourinhã, in central mainland Portugal. His was a family of small farmers who grew wine grapes. On September 22, 1974, when he was 12-years-old, Prazeres joined his parents in Toronto, where they had settled two years before. His transition from the open fields of his rural hometown into a small apartment near Dundas St. West and Ossington Avenue, in the heart of Toronto’s Portuguese community, was challenging. But he was able to visit Portugal every summer with his parents. Prazeres worked in construction with Tridel, while his mother worked in an upholstery factory. Like so many other Portuguese boys in Toronto, Prazeres started working in construction after completing high school.
A family member, a contractor who did not speak English, invited Prazeres to become his partner because of his bilingual skills. The two founded Astrol Masonry in 1984, when Prazeres was 22-years-old. In 1992, when he moved to Mississauga, he opened his second business, TriCan Masonry, which lasted until 2010. He planned to retire at that point, but after six months he opened a small building hardware store, called Senso, which grew into a large building materials supplier and equipment rental business. Since then, Prazeres added multiple companies to his Senso Group holding, including the Portuguese-language newspaper Portuguese Post and Senso magazine.
Prazeres has been an engaged member of the Portuguese and construction industry communities – where Portuguese immigrants and descendants predominate – and other sectors of civil society in the Greater Toronto Area. He has been the president of the Luso Canadian Charitable Society, which he co-founded, and the Portuguese Support for Quality Living; treasurer of the Portuguese Cultural Center of Mississauga; president of the Masonry Contractors Association of Toronto; director of Masonry Worx; director of the Carassauga Festival; and a member of the Peel Police Services Board. He has also been involved with other community initiatives, such as the Magellan Community Foundation. Prazeres has received multiple distinctions for his community work, including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award, the Order of Merit of Portugal (Comendador rank), and the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship, among others.
Hora dos Portugueses