Timeline: Portugal-Canada diplomatic relations began

After becoming one of the founding members of NATO on April 4, 1949, Portugal’s diplomatic relations with allied nations intensified. Including with Canada, which was then trying to pull away from the United Kingdom’s diplomatic influence and assert itself as an independent nation on the international stage.

Prior to 1952, Portugal had one Consulate-General in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and was represented by vice-consuls in North Sidney, Halifax; St. John, New Brunswick; and Montreal, Quebec.

  • January 18, 1952
    The governments of Portugal and Canada established diplomatic ties by opening legations (diplomatic ministries below the rank of embassies) in Lisbon and Ottawa. Portugal’s first ambassador in Canada was Luís Esteves Fernandes, who conciliated that role with that of Portuguese ambassador to the United States (since 1950). Canada’s first ambassador to Portugal was William Ferdinand Alphonse Turgeon, who conciliated that role with that of Canadian ambassador to the Republic of Ireland.

  • May 1952
    The first Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Portugal in Ottawa was Caldeira Coelho. He would play a major role in the intergovernmental negotiations leading to labour migration agreement that gave rise to Portuguese mass migration to Canada.

  • June 20, 1952
    Ambassador Luis E. Fernandes presented his diplomatic credentials to the Governor General of Canada Vincent Massey.

  • May 1954
    The Danish-Canadian Verner R. Willemsen, an insurance broker with business dealings in Portugal, was the first honorary consul of Portugal in Toronto.

  • 1955
    The Consulate-General of Portugal in Montreal was established. The first Consul General was Henrique José Vital Gomes.

  • August 1, 1956
    The Consulate-General of Portugal in Toronto was established. The first Consul General was Armando Nunes de Freitas. The consulate was originally located in the Commerce & Transportation Building on 159 Bay St. Consular staff were hired from among those newly arrived Portuguese immigrants with higher education and who could speak English.

  • 1959
    The Consulate-General of Portugal opened in Vancouver.


Various records, Arquivo Histórico-Diplomático do Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros, Lisbon, Relações Políticas com o Canadá: Estabelecimento de Relações Diplomáticas, PEA M296.