September 15, 1959
Founded in Toronto’s Kensington Market, the Portuguese Canadian Democratic Association (PCDA) / Associação Democrática Portuguesa was the first politically progressive organization in the community, dedicated to fighting the Estado Novo dictatorship as part of the Portuguese opposition’s “external front.” Most of its members were urban workers from the mainland – especially from the greater Lisbon and Porto areas – many of them with experience with clandestine political and labour organization in Portugal. Some of the founding members had gone into exile after supporting the opposition’s candidate Humberto Delgado during the 1958 bogus presidential elections. Its membership and activity increased after the outbreak of the Colonial Wars in Angola in 1961, when war resisters and other anti-fascist activists began arriving in Toronto. The PCDA’s leaders regularly corresponded with various leaders of the anti-Salazar opposition in exile, including Delgado, Henrique Galvão, Fernando Piteira Santos, and others. Since 1962, they integrated the National Liberation Patriotic Front / Frente Patriótica de Libertação Nacional, a transnational network of Portuguese exiled organizations based in various cities around the world. After 1964, the PCDA became
The PCDA organized numerous events and distributed a sizable amount of political literature among fellow immigrants in Canada and the United States.
Besides their dedication to homeland politics, the Associação Democrática was one of the first Portuguese organizations to become involved in Canadian electoral politics, particularly with the NDP and other parties to its left, and to promote Canadian citizenship among Portuguese immigrants.
It closed in 2007.