Mr. Speaker, today, June 10, is Portugal Day, a day we celebrate the great poet, Luis Vaz de Camoes, and also when we honour the contributions made by Portuguese Canadians in Canada and a relationship that dates back centuries.
Among the notables in this history are Gasper Corte Real, who in the 15th century discovered Conception Bay, or Pedro da Silva, who in 1705 was commissioned as the “first courier” in New France.
We also honour those on Canada's west coast like Portuguese pioneer, Jose Silva, also known as Joe Silvey, who braved enormous challenges in the late 1800s to become the first British Canadian citizen of Portuguese origin, and the first known European to marry an aboriginal. He also introduced net fishing along the west coast and opened Vancouver's first bistro known as “The Hole in the Wall”.
In 2003 Portuguese Canadians celebrated the 50th anniversary of official immigration to Canada when vibrant neighbourhoods developed in places like Portugal Village in Toronto.
Today, we recognize people like Bill Moniz, who works tirelessly to document Portuguese history in Canada or groups like ACAPO, who organize Portugal Day parades in Toronto each year that draw over 300,000 people.
As the first Portuguese Canadian member of Parliament, it is my honour to ask that all members of the House join with me in honouring Luis Vaz de Camoes and in celebrating Portugal Day.