Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers’ Cardboard Suitcase

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Manuel Camacho’s
Cardboard Suitcase

Worn black cardboard suitcase belonging to the “pioneer” Manuel Gomes Camacho. Multiple stickers on it say: “Companhia Nacional de Navegação, Funchal, Cabine Class;” “American Export Lines, Tourist Class C;” “Italian C;” “United States Customs Services, Inspected Baggage.”

Audio caption

Gilberto Fernandes
Click for Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers’ page

Manuel Gomes Camacho

Place of origin:  Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Manuel Camacho was born in São Roque, Funchal district, Madeira island, on January 6, 1919. Before moving to Canada in 1953, he worked as a grocery clerk, and as a shipping and receiving clerk at the Pontinha harbour in Funchal. Manuel was among the first groups of Portuguese workers to arrive in Canada under a bulk order labour migration agreement negotiated between the governments of Portugal and Canada, which started in 1953. Manuel and a group of other Madeirans arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax on June 2. From there he was sent to Vancouver to work on a cattle farm. After two years, he moved to Toronto, where he found a job at a restaurant washing dishes. Shortly after that, he started working as a longshoreman in the Toronto docks, from which he retired in 1988.

His wife, Maria Ângela Xavier Abreu, joined Manuel in Canada in September 1959.

Manuel Camacho was one of the founding members of Madeira Park and the Canadian Madeira Club

After retirement, he became very ill and lost his left leg; he kept his partial mobility with the aid of a prosthetic leg. He passed away in 1992.