In Quebec, links to Portugal go back hundreds of years. Portuguese navigators and fishermen followed the massif eastern coast cod stocks.
Portugal’ legacy is in Canadian cartography. Indeed, the name of Bay of Fundy comes from Rio Fundo which means Deep By. In 1498, Joan Fernandes mapped part of Canada’s eastern coast for Portugal and gave it the name of Labrador. The first Portuguese Quebecer was Pedro da Silva who came from Lisbon in 1677. He was the first postmaster of the route between Montreal and Quebec City.
Nevertheless, most Portuguese arrived in Quebec after the World War II. In the 50s, Portuguese was Quebec’s largest Latin community. At that time, Canada was looking for farm workers. Thus, many farmers from the Azores islands of Portugal came to Canada to work on Canadian farms. Within a few years, most had moved to Montreal or Toronto. In the 60s, in Montreal, the nucleus of Portuguese community started on the Bullion Street and Roy.
Men often got jobs as clerks while women usually worked in the garment industry. A few of white collar workers got jobs in real estate and with travel agencies. Many young Portuguese fled military service at the end of the 60s, when Portugal was trying to quell revolutions in its African territories.
But since 1974, when Portugal ended over 50 years of military rule, emigration has slowed markedly.
Today, about 20 thousand Portuguese or people of Portuguese origin live in Quebec.