Report card: Youth Summer Program 2017: a success!

The Portuguese Canadian History Project (PCHP) had the pleasure and privilege of co-organizing the York University’s Portuguese & Luso-Brazilian Studies program’s 1st Youth Summer Program, titled “The Lusophone World: Global and Local Communities,” which took place between July 10th and 14th. posterTogether with professors Maria João Dodman and Inês Cardoso (Dept. of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics), and Abubacar Fofana León (Harriett Tubman for Research on Africa and its Diasporas & Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean), our lead director Gilberto Fernandes assembled a week-long program of diverse educational activities for students between the ages of 14 and 18 (or grades 9 to 12). Besides the in- and out-of-classroom activities, this program offered free daily breakfast, lunch, and snacks, along with public transit fare for the students. The program was made possible due to the generosity of our sponsors: Manuel da Costa, President of Viana Roofing, Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers, Portuguese Canadian Walk of Fame, and other organizations; Narda Razack, Associate Dean of Global and Community Engagement, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University; Marcie Ponte, Executive Director of the Working Women Community Centre; and the Camões Institute. The organizers are also grateful for the commitment of volunteers Natasha Silvestre, Thiago Fin, Denis Iwamoto, Karen Melo, and Alexandra Cruz, who offered more than five days of work towards making this program a success. We are also grateful for the help given to us by many TDSB and TCDSB teachers and administrators, who helped us advertise our program through their networks and connect directly with students and parents. This initiative would have been impossible without their contributions.

Along with teaching youth about the Lusophone world through activities that mixed learning with recreation, this program aimed to introduce high school students to university life. Most of the 26 students in the program were of Portuguese background, while others were of Angolan, Brazilian, Guatemalan, Filipino, Indian, Irish, Italian, and Vietnamese heritage.

Day one: The Ipanema-born musician Luanda Jones opened the day with some of Brazil’s iconic samba and bossa-nova songs. This was followed by a Portuguese language workshop led by the York University/ Camões Institute Prof. Inês Cardoso. After having lunch at the Underground restaurant, the youth participated in a “meet and greet” session with six Toronto-based lusophone professionals: musician Luanda Jones; CBC Radio producer Debbie Pacheco; community activist Fátima Borges; dancer and choreographer Salomão Almirante; playwright and professor Aida Jordão; and York University historian and professor José Curto.

Day two: Tuesday morning was dedicated to the history of Portuguese colonial encounters in Africa and Brazil, with presentations by York University’s Prof. Maria João Dodman, Prof. José Curto, and the PhD candidate in history Abubacar Léon. In the afternoon, the students were treated to workshops on African dances, led by the teacher and choreographer Pulga Muchochoma; and on Capoeira, led by Hélio de Souza.

Day three: Prof. Gillian McGillivray, of Glendon College (York University), started the third day with a presentation on the history of Brazilian racial policies and identities through the lens of Samba music. She was followed by Andrea da Costa, curator at the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers, who delivered a presentation on digital news media and how to differentiate between “fake” and “real” news content. This summer program follows several initiatives led by the Portuguese & Luso-Brazilian Studies program designed to highlight innovation, commitment to education, and community empowerment. One of the ways that it promotes student engagement is by offering a free trip to the Azores to the best student in the POR1000 Elementary Portuguese course. During lunchtime, students had the opportunity to hear from Christian Araújo, one of the past winners of the Portuguese Gives You Wings award, sponsored by Azores Airlines. In the afternoon, the students learned how to film high quality footage using their smartphones and inexpensive materials in a workshop led by Bruno Véras, PhD student in history at York University.

Day four: On Thursday morning, students were offered two workshops. At the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, York University historian Gilberto Fernandes and head archivist Michael Moir led an archival research workshop by way of a “scavenger hunt,” using the PCHP’s collections. Meanwhile, at Founders College, students enjoyed a theatre workshop led by the actor, director, and playwright Aida Jordão. After lunch, students chose between playing basketball, visiting the Career Centre, or practicing their group projects. In the afternoon, the renowned painter Auerbach Vieira led a workshop on abstract painting, which prompted the students to create their own artworks using watercolours.

Day five: On the last day of the program, Gilberto offered a shorter version of the PCHP’s walking tour “Portuguese Toronto: Early Decades” in Kensington Market. The students were able to explore the history of Portuguese immigration to Toronto on foot and through the aid of our digital companion on izi.TRAVEL. After this tour, we were received by Andrea da Costa at the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers. There, the students watched a series of animated videos about the history of Portuguese immigration to Canada, produced by Andrea. After this screening, the groups prepared their presentations that they delivered at the closing ceremony, which followed. Our sponsors Manuel da Costa and Narda Razack addressed the crowd of students, parents, volunteers, teachers, and local lusophone media with positive messages focusing on the value of education, personal growth, and gratitude. Maria João, Inês, and Gilberto hosted the rest of the ceremony, which included opening and closing performances by Luso-Can Tuna; the students’ group presentations; and a brief presentation by the 15-year-old women’s right activist and program-participant Chiara Picão, about her charitable initiative Literally Climbing Mountains for Girls Education.

The first youth summer program of York University’s Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Studies program was a great success! Besides advancing their knowledge about the Lusophone world and university life, the students left with new friends, memories, and references that will hopefully be advantageous to them in the future. The organizers too learned a great deal from preparing and running this program, and extended their network within Toronto’s school boards, which they look forward to building on in the future.

Until next year.

“Summer of ’77”: thank you note.

Thank you to everyone who came to our “Summer of ’77” Community Conversation at the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers last night. We had wonderful presentations that were both enlightening and moving.  The discussion afterwards was stimulating, engaging, and generated a lot of positive energy, which will propel us forward, towards other events addressing important historical and contemporary issues. Great things can happen – and did happen last night – when we put academic historians, community advocates, historical agents, and people who have been impacted by past events, and their legacies, in the same room, talking to each other. One of the most important conversations that we started last night was about Portuguese-Canadian queer history and identity, and how it is tied to the legacy of 77. Together we identified a path forward: find more Portuguese-Canadian LGBTQ (his)stories, showcase them, and build on them, so that Portuguese-Canadian queer adults and youth can have a frame of reference in which to talk openly about their experiences, and conciliate those identities in a positive and meaningful way.

We had lots of news coverage, including Laura Fraser’s story on – today’s editors pick – and CBC Radio, with contributions from some of our panelists.

In case you missed our roundtable discussion last night, you can watch the live recording on the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers’ Facebook page (apologies for the technical difficulties). The audio recording of the presentations will be made available on at a later date.

Follow or contact the presenters Gilberto FernandesDaniel RossTom Hooper, and Valerie Scott for more information on their research and advocacy.

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Community Conversation: “The Summer of ’77: How Emanuel Jaques’ Murder Changed Toronto,” June 22


On the 40th anniversary of the murder that shocked Toronto, historians Gilberto Fernandes, Daniel Ross, Tom Hooper (York University), and sex worker/advocate Valerie Scott (Sex Professionals of Canada) will discuss how the death of the young Azorean shoeshine boy Emanuel Jaques impacted the city’s Portuguese, LGBTQ, and sex worker communities, and led to the “revamping” of Yonge Street. This conversation coincides with Ontario’s Portuguese Heritage Month celebrations and Pride Week, beginning on June 23rd.

When: Thursday, June 22, 2017, 6pm-8pm
Where: Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers (960 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto, ON)

This Community Conversation is organized by the PCHP with support from York University’s Department of History, Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Studies Program; the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers; and

All are welcome!


PCHP’s et al. multimedia exhibit @ Dundas West Fest, June 11

For this year’s Dundas West Fest, the IC Savings branch in Little Portugal is hosting a multimedia exhibit curated by a group of local young historians, visual and digital artists, featuring historical photos, artifacts, videos and interactive displays. Join us as we reflect on Little Portugal’s past, present and future, represented by the members of the PCHP, Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers, Huntclub Gallery and Victory Social Club.

The exhibit, which opens at 1.30pm, June 11, will be preceded by our Jane’s Walk Portuguese Toronto: Early Decades, starting in Kensington Market at 10am and ending in Trinity-Bellwoods Park at noon.

In anticipation to your visit, we invite you to download the free mobile application izi.TRAVEL onto your mobile device you can interact with the digital displays.

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Exhibit unveiling @ Museum Strathroy-Caradoc w/ Nuno Cristo & Anthony de Sa: photos

The PCHP is grateful to the Museum Strathroy-Caradoc, and particularly its curator Christian Siroyt, for inviting us to display our traveling exhibit “The Portuguese in Toronto, 1953-2013” in their beautiful building (and town), and for being so accommodating throughout the curating process.

Our gratitude extends to Manuel da Costa and Andrea Carvalho of the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers for lending us several artifacts from their collection, and to Anthony de Sa and Nuno Cristo for having accepted our invitation and coming all the way from Toronto to Strathroy on a week day. As always, we are indebted to the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, especially our colleague Anna St. Onge, who was instrumental in getting many of the materials ready in time for the exhibit’s unveiling. The PCHP’s connection with the Strathroy-native Clara Thomas also presented us with the opportunity to celebrate the memory of that pioneer scholar, teacher, and overall promoter of Canadian literature, through the words of her friend John Lennox. Thank you also to the Portuguese Canadian Club of Strathroy for supporting some of the costs of the opening reception on July 9 and for helping spread the word about the exhibit.

Finally, thank you to all those who came out to our launch and participated in a wonderful evening of public history, music and storytelling. We are proud to have provided Strathroyans with the opportunity to discover or reconnect with two celebrated Portuguese-Canadian artists from Toronto. Your engagement and praise has furthered our already strong motivation to organize future PCHP roadshows to other Portuguese-Canadian communities in Ontario.

Our exhibit will stay at the Museum Strathroy-Caradoc until October, 2015.

PCHP exhibit @ Museum Strathroy-Caradoc w/Gallery of the Pioneers, Nuno Cristo & Anthony de Sa: July 9, 6pm

On July 9, starting at 6pm, the PCHP and the Museum Strathroy-Caradoc (34 Frank St., Strathroy) are hosting a reception for the unveiling of our traveling exhibit “The Portuguese in Toronto, 1953-2013,” which will stay on display at the museum until October.

The museum’s invitation to host the PCHP’s traveling exhibit has given us the opportunity to introduce the sizable Portuguese-Canadian community of Strathroy-Caradoc to the work of Portuguese artists and cultural organizations in Toronto. Keeping in line with our collaborative spirit, we are pleased to partner with the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers, author Anthony de Sa, and musician Nuno Cristo, in what we hope is the first of many PCHP “roadshows”. Our photographic exhibit has been greatly enhanced by the artifacts lent by the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers. Nuno Cristo and Anthony de Sa will enrich the July 9th reception, the first performing and speaking about the cavaquinho (ukelele) in the context of Portuguese diaspora, and the latter offering a reading from his national bestseller Kicking the Sky (2013). In recognition of the PCHP’s ongoing partnership with York University’s Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections – named after that Strathroy-born pioneer scholar of Canadian literature – John Lennox will also say a few words honouring Clara Thomas’ memory.

All are welcome to attend what promises to be a memorable summer evening in Strathroy.

PCHP + IC Savings reception @ Dundas West Fest: photos

Yesterday was the unveiling of our five-year strategic plan Preserve, Share, Explore and the official launch of our fundraising campaign with York University. The event, which integrated the Dundas West Fest program, was held at the IC Savings branch in Little Portugal and hosted by its manager Anabela Taborda.

We were privileged to share the space with a display of Clay and Paper Theatre’s fantastic marionettes, and the works of Viktor Mitic Art or War collection.

We are honoured by the presence of academic, cultural, civic, and political leaders from and associated with the Portuguese-Canadian community, and are grateful for the words of praise and encouragement from our friends and community partners Ana Bailão (City Councilor), Andrew Cash (Member of Parliament), Cristina Martins (Member of Provincial Parliament), Prof. Craig Heron (Department of History, York University), and Anna St. Onge (Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, York University Libraries).

We are especially grateful to Anabela Taborda, a good friend and ambassador of the PCHP, for organizing this reception at the IC Savings’ Little Portugal branch. Her leadership, dedication, and solicitude are an inspiration to all community-minded organizers, and a wonderful example of what a credit union can and should be.