Agostinho Malaquias came to Canada aboard the Vulcania ship, arriving at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia on May 7, 1955. He had $100 with him. Back in the town of Sobral da Lagoa, Portugal, he had left behind his parents, Maria Condessa and Antonio Malaquias, and his siblings, Antonio, Albeno, Jose, Germano, Gracenda and Patrocinea.
Before leaving Pier 21, Agostinho bought bread and cold cuts for the long train ride to Montreal. Once there, he was to work on a farm in St. Martin for $49 a month, which was less than his room and board. After the first month, however, he received no money. He went to the Immigration Department and then to the Portuguese Council where he spoke to a representative from South Africa who spoke Portuguese.
Agostinho decided to leave that job and began looking for work elsewhere. He was successful in finding a job working at a farm market with his friend, Jose Mendonca. When their new boss heard their story, he took them to a lawyer. Six months later, when both men were living in Kitimat, British Columbia, they received a cheque for $22 from their former employer.
In Kitimat, Agostinho and Jose tried to work at a manufacturing camp where there were plenty of jobs, but no beds. There was a waitlist of 500 people. The men were staying at a hotel for $14/night, but found that they were quickly running out of money. The hotel was located near a railway station, so they decided to head over there to ask if there were any jobs available. There were, and Agostinho and Jose began working at the station, for $2/day. Agostinho stayed in Kitimat for the winter, and then moved on to Vancouver where he got a job through a construction union, building a bridge at the Fraser River. After that, he began working in a paper factory in Nanaimo.
In 1958, Agostinho went back to Portugal to visit his family. This was when he met his future wife Maria, who was from Caldas da Rainha. The two married in 1959 and had two daughters, Ellen and Betty. They now have four grandchildren and are living in Toronto.
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