Today, Canada is one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world, and the Portuguese can be considered important contributors to this diversity. In this piece, I will be focusing on Canada’s contribution to Portuguese immigration.
Prior to the first major wave of Portuguese immigration in 1953, Canada uncovered the need to develop three major industries to benefit its economy; fishing, farming, and railroads . In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s Canada was in need of people to work in these industries, and as a consequence, Canadian immigration policies became more lenient . The Canadian government began sending out requests for workers shortly afterward .
Men from mainland Portugal and the Azores islands heard about the call for workers through their city centres (“Centro das Freguesias”), and most viewed it as their golden ticket away from Salazar’s regime . Canada was a new land that depicted hope and prosperity in its future, and many men desired that for their families. Although the list of hopeful immigrants was long, there was a set of requirements that needed to be fulfilled before one could be cleared for immigration . All potential immigrants had to pass an oral and written Portuguese test, and if passed, were also required to pass a physical and medical exam in Lisbon .
The eighty men who fulfilled all of the requirements, boarded Saturnia and shortly after, two other ships called Vulcania and Nea Nellas docked in Halifax, bringing with them over 100 Portuguese men to work in Canada . In the years that followed, after having spent some time establishing themselves, these men began bringing their wives and families over to their new home.
** Click on “The Pioneers” tab to view the individual biographies of the men who traveled aboard Saturnia.
 Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 (The Portuguese in Canada) https://www.pier21.ca/research/pier-21/the-portuguese-in-canada
 Andre-Gee, E. (2013, June 30). Little Portugal pioneer has 60th anniversary in Canada. Toronto Star.
 (n.d.). Kensington Market Historical Society https://kmhs.ca/footnotes/kensington-market-in-the-1930s-1940s