The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is scheduled to visit Canada, from September 13 to 17, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese wave of immigration to the country.
After his trip to Canada, President Rebelo de Sousa is scheduled to travel to New York City, United States to participate in the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations September 17-23. The itinerary details for the visit have not been disclosed to the public.
During his visit to Canada, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will tour both Montreal and Toronto. This occasion holds special significance as it coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Portugal and Canada.
While in Canada, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will hold meetings with various community leaders and dignitaries. The engagements will emphasize the importance of the relations between Portugal and Canada, as the Portuguese community celebrates its immigrant experience with a series of cultural events.
The trip highlights the ongoing commitment of both countries to fostering strong diplomatic relations, cultural exchange, and collaborative ventures. The President’s presence celebrates the enduring friendship between Portugal and Canada.
As indicated by the Emigration Observatory’s data, the Portuguese-born population residing in Canada numbered approximately 134,000 individuals in 2021. This figure is significantly supplemented by Portuguese descendants, estimated at around 400,000 individuals, according to official statistics from the 2021 census.
The first wave of Portuguese immigrants to Canada arrived in the 1950s and 1960s, mainly from the Azores and Madeira islands. For the record, the first official group of Portuguese immigrants landed in Canada on May 13, 1953.
They were attracted by the country’s growing economy and job opportunities in the agriculture, construction, and manufacturing sectors. Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, a second wave of immigrants arrived, fleeing political instability and economic hardship in Portugal.
One of the largest ethnic groups in the country, today most Portuguese Canadians are concentrated in the Greater Toronto Area, followed by Montreal and Vancouver.
Additional, vibrant Portuguese communities have been established in Hamilton located just outside of Toronto; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Edmonton, Alberta: Calgary, Alberta; and Ottawa, Ontario.
Following the model of other Portuguese communities worldwide, the Portuguese community in Canada has established strong ties with Portugal, several language schools, cultural centers, and community organizations that aim to preserve and promote their language and culture.
For more information on scheduled celebration events visit the organization website.