Every year, during the week of June 10, the Portuguese-Canadian community in Toronto comes together to celebrate Portugal’s national day. Since the initial migration of Portuguese people to Toronto, the community has doubled in size, resulting in a larger celebration to commemorate their origins each year.
In Toronto, celebrations in honour of Portugal Day began in 1966. They were much smaller in scale, but after the creation of the Alliance of Portuguese Clubs and Associations (ACAPO) in 1986, they grew bigger and bigger each year.
Portugal Week consists of various celebrations and rituals. One its largest and most enjoyed events, is the Portugal Day Parade. The parade is a demonstration of several different cultural traditions, and of how Portuguese-Canadian companies, soccer teams, and other associations, have made a positive impact within Toronto’s Portuguese community. For years, the parade would run along Dundas Street West, finishing off at Trinity Bellwoods Park. After the parade, many head to the park, where a stage is set up to have Portuguese singers perform for the public, as well as carnival rides, tents with traditional Portuguese foods, and even hot air balloon rides. This year, the post-parade celebrations will be taking place at Earlscourt Park.
These festivities are very important to the Portuguese community, as it allows them to maintain a connection with their homeland, by celebrating their origins alongside their family and friends in their new home.
For a list of this year’s Portugal Day activities, click here.
There are also other independently organized events happening around the city, such as a Jane’s Walk through Kensington Market, that demonstrates and explains the history of Toronto’s Portuguese community by visiting important landmarks in the city.
Later that day, you can visit the Dundas West Fest in Little Portugal, a street festival where local businesses will be collaborating to celebrate the neighbourhood’s heritage.
We will also be hosting a talk led by Portuguese Historian Daniel Bastos, where he’ll be explaining some the history of Portuguese immigration to Canada.
1- Hatfield, E. (n.d.). Toronto's Portugal Day has a long history. Retrieved May 30, 2016, from https://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/3411603-toronto-s-portugal-day-has-a-long-history/