A museum and library, the Real Canadian Portuguese Historical Museum was established in 1986 to promote research about, and appreciation of, the heritage of the Canadian Portuguese community. The organization is powered by volunteers who have gathered a large collection of artifacts, and created on-site education programs and exhibitions to share Portuguese and Canadian culture.
A walk through the halls of the museum ensures that no visitor can be ignorant to Portugal’s contributions to the world at large. More importantly, the museum also highlights the Portuguese Canadian experience.
The museum has come a long way since Antonio Alves, its founder, started the project with a small assortment of items that barely resembled a collection. Originally from Lisbon, Mr. Alves arrived in Canada in 1959 and pursued his interests in history and heritage by volunteering at the First Portuguese Canadian Cultural Center. In 1986, the Amigos de Lisboa (Friends of Lisbon) donated the museum’s first piece, a Portuguese flag.
Despite limited resources, it continuously meets its goals of keeping the spirit and heritage of the Portuguese community alive. By catering to youth, the museum has taken necessary steps to guarantee a bright future. In fact, Mr. Alves dream that all of the city’s cultural groups will one day work together to form the basis of a City of Toronto museum. Such a development, they argue, could show Toronto at its best, past and present.
Located in Etobicoke, The Canadian Portuguese Historical Museum is a remarkable place where history meets art, and where the chronology of the Portuguese, from the homeland to Canada, is on display. Since 2009, this museum has been located at the Ferma Food Products building, 44 Atomic, the site of a local, Portuguese-owned and operatedbusiness that has provided a space for the museum’s rare and fascinating collection of materials. The museum’s aim is to preserve the cultural spirit and historical memories of the Portuguese community in Canada. In doing so, it might be an inspiration for others to work to preserve their history.