S.L. Benfica House & F.C. Porto House
Founded on June 15, 1969 and September 21, 1987.
The rivalry here is different than in Portugal. Here we are all friends… I think it’s a completely different way from what it’s like in Portugal. It’s a way of people coming together and socializing – Cesário Brás.
Since 1969 that Portugal’s biggest soccer clubs have been represented by dedicated clubhouses in Toronto, where their fans gather to listen to and watch their match broadcasts. These predominantly male clubs serve an important social function in the Portuguese community, as a space where intergenerational bonds are formed among soccer lovers.
Soccer has been one of the most cherished forms of social gathering, entertainment, and linking to the homeland for Portuguese immigrants and their descendants. Every Sunday afternoon, men gathered in the clubs and cafés to listen to the broadcast of matches from Portugal’s national soccer league. Even after they started being broadcast by international Portuguese television networks in the 1990s, soccer fans continued to gather in these community spaces to watch them together and share in their electrifying atmosphere. Occasionally, homeland soccer clubs played exhibition matches for their fans in Canada. Sport Lisbon Benfica was the first, in 1966, when it played in Toronto with the Mozambican-Portuguese Eusébio in its roster – one of the sport’s all-time greatest and earliest international superstars.
Portugal’s biggest soccer clubs have opened official branches and youth academies in Canada, where their diasporic fanbase have gathered and new talent has been scouted. Toronto’s Benfica House (Casa do Benfica), founded in 1969, was the first official branch to open overseas and one of the earliest social clubs in that community. Besides being a clubhouse for fans to gather and listen or watch matches, the Benfica House also had a rancho folclórico and offered activities similar to other non-affiliated community clubs. The Porto House (Casa do Porto), founded in 1987, was also the first Futebol Club do Porto branch to open outside of Portugal. Other Portuguese soccer clubs have representations in Toronto, including the Sporting Club of Portugal, which runs a popular youth soccer academy.
Hora dos Portugueses