Portuguese-Speaking Heritage Month is proudly recognized during the month of June at the Toronto District School Board. This year we recognize the significant contributions of Portuguese-Speaking individuals both nationally and internationally.
The contributions of the Portuguese-Speaking heritage to Canada are significant as they include the arts, sports, and public life. Canadians, along with all TDSB students, staff, and its communities and beyond all enjoy the energetic and vibrant traditions that are shared through the customs of this heritage. Over 1,400 TDSB students speak Portuguese as their mother tongue or as a primary language.
The bossa nova style of composition is known as the music of Brazil. This method of music is attributed to João Gilberto, a singer/songwriter and a musician whose passion was creating and performing music of his heritage. Watch a performance of his amazing music.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a renowned sports figure recognized for his talents on the soccer field. Cristano was born on February 5, 1985, and raised on the Portuguese island of Madeira. He has played with many teams throughout his career including Manchester United and Real Madrid and is currently playing with the Juventus Football Club since 2018. He was considered one of the highest-paid athletes by Forbes (2016 and 2017) and Time (2014) listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Representing the citizens of Ontario in various government elected positions continues to be a way for Canadians to demonstrate their democratic privileges. Currently, Ana Bailão was elected in 2018 as City Councillor at the City of Toronto and acquired the position of Deputy Mayor. Ana Bailão was born in Villa Franca de Xira in Portugal in August 1976 and moved to Toronto with her family at the age of 15. She was elected as City Councillor in 2010 and continues to serve the citizens of her ward.
Internationally there are 250 million Portuguese-speaking people worldwide, making it the fifth-most spoken language. The heroic efforts of many Portuguese-Speaking individuals had a momentous impact on thousands of people around the globe. This year, 2020, we mark the 75th Liberation Anniversary. We take this opportunity to highlight four Portuguese-Speaking individuals: Joaquim Carreira, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Sampaio Garrido, and José Brito Mendes who risked their own lives to save thousands of Jewish individuals from the Holocaust through selfless acts. Their names have been engraved on the ‘Wall of Honor’ of the ‘Righteous of the Nations Garden’ at the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem, Israel.
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