Click on the drop menus below to view a selection of records from multiple archives and private collections, pertaining to various organizations, events, or themes of significance for the history of the Portuguese diaspora in Canada.
Aida Jordão’s Theatre Papers
Aida Jordão is a Lisbon-born Portuguese-Canadian playwright, theatre director, and stage actress based in Toronto, the city where her immigrant parents settled when she was 9 years old. She is the co-founder of the feminist theatre group Company of Sirens, and is the co-creator of the influential feminist play This is For You, Anna (1984). A self-avowed “red diaper baby,” Jordão first developed her radical left consciousness by frequenting the Portuguese Canadian Democratic Association and other progressive spaces in Toronto’s Portuguese community with her parents. She later returned to these spaces to direct popular theatre plays. Trained in London, England, Jordão has multiple credits as a theatre actress, playwright, director, and scholar in Portugal and Canada, where she has been involved in the creation of celebrated companies, collectives, and projects that combine her interests in Portuguese culture, feminism, and social justice.
In this section, you will find a small collection of documents from Jordão’s theatre work in the Portuguese community or dealing with Portuguese subjects.
Amadeu Moura’s Photography
Amadeu Moura was born in Ermesinde, a suburb of Porto. The son of a small-scale toy factory owner, Amadeu developed his political consciousness at a young age by being exposed to the pro-democratic views of his republican parents and his older brother who supported General Humberto Delgado. With the outbreak of the Colonial Wars in Angola, Amadeu fled to Paris as a teenager, where he worked as a welder and witnessed the miserable living conditions of Portuguese immigrant workers in the bidonvilles. Six year later, in 1968, he migrated to Montreal, where he quickly joined the anti-fascist and progressive Movimento Democrático Português (MDP). He became one of the most active members of the MDP and the progressive wing of Montreal’s Portuguese community, actively participating in several important moments, projects, and organizations before, during, and after the Carnations Revolution. Here you will find his photos of some of these events.
Comunidade was founded in July 1975 by the Portuguese Communitarian Committee/ Movimento Comunitário Português, a community organization created by a group of young social workers based out of the Toronto’s West End YMCA, and led by João Medeiros and Domingos Marques. Comunidade was different from other Portuguese-Canadian newspapers at that time in that most of its content was original and focused on the situation of immigrants in Canada, rather than on the homeland; though it followed with great interest the interim revolutionary period in Portugal and its impacts in Toronto’s community.
Comunidade was the most progressive Portuguese-Canadian newspaper of its time, whose stories focused on the labour organization of Portuguese workers, their difficulties with integration, among other social issues. Some of the people involved in this newspaper later became community leaders in various capacities, including Marcie Ponte, Martin Silva, among others.
Gilberto Prioste’s Photography
Gilberto Prioste was born in Atouguia da Baleia, a seaside village about an hour north of Lisbon. He immigrated to Canada with his parents in 1964 when he was 7 years old and settled in Toronto’s Little Portugal. The photos in this gallery were taken by Prioste between 1979 and 1981 for his thesis project as an undergraduate student at what was then the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. These images of everyday life are some of the most gripping visual records available of Portuguese immigrants in that time period. Prioste’s photos have featured multiple times in the Portuguese Canadian History Project’s exhibitions. Some of them were a source of inspiration for the Portuguese-Canadian author Anthony de Sa when writing his novel Kicking the Sky (2013). Prioste was also the illustrator and designer for the newspaper Comunidade.
Michael Baptista’s Tile Drawings
In this section you will find eight drawings made by Michael Baptista, each representing a decade in the history of Portuguese working-class immigrant women in Canada between 1953 and 2023, along with his audio commentary.
Movimento Democrático Português & Luso-Canadiano
The Movimento Democrático Português was one of the most active and prominent Portuguese organizations in Montreal until it closed in the 1980s. Its members were political exiles, war resisters, and other politically conscious immigrants. This leftist anti-fascist organization kept close ties with fellow political exiled organizations in Toronto and several other cities around the world, as part of the anti-Salazar’s “external front” Frente Patriótica de Libertação Nacional. Through diverse political actions, cultural programming, and its newspaper, the Luso-Canadiano, the MDP played a major role in the organized opposition to the Estado Novo and its colonial empire in Canada, and was a respected organization in Montreal’s leftist circles.
Here you will find a small selection of the MDP’s historical records from the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, and the private collection of Bruna Viana.
Portuguese Canadian Democratic Association
The Portuguese Canadian Democratic Association (Associação Democrática Portuguesa) congregated opponents of the Estado Novo dictatorship in Toronto, many of them exiles who had supported Humberto Delgado in the bogus presidential elections of 1958. The majority of its members were workers from the mainland, with some experience in clandestine political opposition with the Portuguese Communist Party, and other anti-colonialist, pro-democratic, and revolutionary groups. Their membership grew as war resisters joined them after the outbreak of the Colonial Wars in Angola in 1961. The PCDA was the most political and leftist of Portuguese organizations in Toronto, whose activities drew significant attention from Canadian media, and opposition from the dictatorship’s diplomats and its supporters in the Portuguese community; especially during the highjack of the Santa Maria steamship by Captain Henrique Galvão and his Iberian “freedom fighting pirates” in 1961. This organization played a major role in the political history of Toronto’s Portuguese community, was an active member of the Frente Patriótica de Libertação Nacional, and consulted the interim revolutionary government after 1974 on matters relating to emigration policies.
Here you will find a small selection of the PCDA’s historical records at the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, including its newsletter, photos, and correspondence with Humberto Delgado, Henrique Galvão, Fernando Piteira Santos, and others.
Portuguese-Canadian Political Candidates in Toronto
In this section you will find a series of political flyers and other literature distributed by Portuguese-Canadian politicians to their electorate and constituents in Toronto. Most of the records here were collected by Domingos Marques in the 1970s-90s and were included in his records donation to the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, York University Libraries, through the Portuguese Canadian History Project. Other records are from the private collections of city councillors Martin Silva and Ana Bailão.