Back in late May 2001, during the Official State Visit with President of the Portuguese Republic, Dr. Jorge Sampaio, many of us feel the Luso-Canadian Community of Ontario reached its highest level of recognition, pride and solidarity. All the stars aligned together to make this visit, “truly special.”
The community in 2001 was not fragmented. It’s “leaders” worked in close harmony. From the umbrella organizations like the Portuguese Congress to the Federation of Portuguese Professionals to the Alliance of Portuguese Clubs and Associations of Ontario (ACAPO) and its long list of active members; they all shared one common belief, celebrating a truly memorable visit and making history. Dr. Sampaio himself many years later made reference that his Toronto visit in 2001 was an iconic moment in his tenure as President of Portugal. There were many highs to the visit, however, none are more memorable than when the Portuguese Community closed down Dundas Street West and over 100,000 proud Portuguese Canadians expressed their appreciation of this tumultuous event as Dr. Sampaio walked in the midst of “his people.”
In early May 2018, Prime Minister Antonio Costa of Portugal will be in Canada on an “Official State Visit.” An unconfirmed schedule has the Prime Minister of Portugal visiting Ottawa on Thursday, May 3rd, Toronto on Friday, May 4th, and Montreal on Saturday, May 5th. For the portion of the Toronto visit on Friday, May 4th, Prime Minister Costa will be joined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada for an unannounced Community Luncheon. Speculation has it, the Toronto stop will serve as a catalyst for a much-needed relief to a continued issue in “Our Community,” the Undocumented Worker. Will there be a meaningful announcement of a program where many can finally find some solace, comfort, and security? Let’s hope that May 4th becomes “monumental.”
What would be the proper recognition, that we as a community can bestow on the two great leaders on this historic occasion? Would not it be a revisit of that incredible movement of solidarity & patriotism that we all shared on Dundas St. West back in 2001? On a perfect Friday in early May, after the announcement of a milestone agreement; the opportunity for the community at large to express its pride for Our homeland and rejoice in the country that has provided so many of us a great life and a future for our children. Appealing that the organizers leading this milestone visit consider our request.