Comunidade newspaper, 1975-1979. Part 1: Records and commentary

Comunidade provided information to help Portuguese immigrants adjust to the Canadian way of life, its practices and customs and values, while offering advice on everyday practicalities and lifestyle decisions. In the section titled "Things That Preoccupy Canadians", readers were reassured that they would not be out of place in Canada; that it was a "land of immigrants", and with the multitude of languages found in Toronto, it was near impossible to find a "real Canadian". Somewhat cynically, Comunidade also recognized how Portuguese immigrants quickly adopted what it saw as widespread consumer desires of Canadians; no longer just a "house, four walls and a roof" but "a car, a television, and other home accessories become a 'necessity' and no longer a luxury in this society," May 20, 1976, year 1, n. 14: 1-2 (trans. Gilberto Fernandes). Furhter, readers were told that 'moonlighting' - have more than one job - was not uncommon. In fact, this was necessary if one wanted to realize 'the dream' of owning a house, cottage, or a boat or trailer for vacation. Acquiring these assets in Canada required credit, something that Canadians had in large amounts.

In this cartoon, Canaguês has bought a car to drive the family on his spare time, something he has very little of since he has to work weekends to pay for it.

In 1976, Comunidade organized a number of roundtable discussions and published a series of articles on 'the family', 'working women', 'children’s education', and 'women and health'. These roundtables were composed of people associated with Comunidade as well as members of the community with some expertise in the subjects being discussed. Comunidade also organized a series of workshops and information sessions for the community on practical matters like, "Things you should know before and after you buy a house." Some of the questions addressed in those sessions were then published in Comunidade.


Those who work in social and information services know how many thousands of Portuguese need and recur to these services to ask for information of all kinds.

Some go to the office to fill up an unemployment insurance card, others because they were disqualified and don’t know why; some go to see if they have received “a little something from Welfare”, other to request pension because they have reached that age; some to complaint about the unfair way they were treated at work by the foremen, others because of the thousand and one complications of “Compensation”; others because they don’t have anything to eat at home, others because they were abandoned by their husband, their wife, or their kids; some because they are desperate to pay their “mortgages” and interests, others because they were fooled in the purchase. In all of these cases there is an element of ignorance, anxiety and suffering. In this crisis, people run everywhere in search of help, of a solution. There is, thus, a psychological disorientation for not knowing what to do.

The newspaper COMUNIDADE launches an appeal to our readers to come to the information talks announced in this issue, so that you learn what to do in a crisis situation, or you can help someone who needs it.

These talks, although they don’t resolve all the problems, will be an important step to combat ignorance, the complete dependency and insecurity that exists among thousands of Portuguese that have settled in this land.

Come, then, and you will be welcomed” (Domingos Marques, Editor) October 01, 1976, Year 2, n. 4: 1.

In this article, Comunidade enouraged parents to enroll their children in summer programs such as language classes, arguing that the two months they had for vacation could be used to develop valuable skills and expand their horizons. The article highlights the programs offerred by the West End Y.M.C.A., where editors João Medeiros and Domingos Marques worked.


Children in Canada have the months of July and August for vacation. Vacations are for resting, but resting doesn't mean doing nothing. Occupying free time or vacations with something enjoyable and useful is more enjoyable than doing nothing. Doing nothing is tiring and boring. Parents should, as much as possible, offer their children educational and recreational opportunities that enrich them physically and mentally, swimming, go to parks, child plays or museums, observe nature, play, learn songs, dances or the mother tongue, its something that the child can do in the summer with getting tired and with great utility for his future education. In reality many parents find themselves working and have little time or money available to go out with their children and provide them with educational and recreational experiences.

However, there are various organizations that organize summer programs for children which offer various recreational and educational opportunities. Various schools offer english classes in the morning for students falling behind in that language, which is essential for their school progress. The West End Y.M.C.A. has a program that combines the learning of Portuguese with recreational activites and walks. Other organizations have summer camps at accessible prices.

We encourage parents that they try and offer something to their kids personally. But if they can't, for whatever circumstamces, contact the organizations in your neighbourhood, such as libraries, schools and social organizations. The children at the end of summer will be healthier and more enriched mentally if instead of the street they have something interesting to do."

The article featured a number of statements from children enrolled in the West End Y.M.C.A. programs, one of which was from a precocious 11 year-old Betty Silva, who said:

"In the century in which we live, studying is very important so that in the future we can follow a safer career whether its being a teacher, a doctor, nurse or secretary. That is why in the doctor's and lawyer's offices they have people that can speak Portuguese. School also provides education... When I was little all I did was ask questions, my intelligence was not developed, and I learnt little or nothing, but now that I study I am capable of giving answers and feel much more confident. Truth is that knowledge takes no room. That's why I go to school," July 1977, Year 2, n. 30: 1& 7 (trans. Gilberto Fernandes).
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