The First Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo in Toronto through my Father’s Camera

“à saída da igreja” 

The first festa do Senhor Santo Cristo in Toronto took place in May of 1966.  I was still living in the Azores then but my father, Antonio Cabral de Melo, who had immigrated to Canada the previous year, documented the first procession with his camera, writing “à saída da igreja,”  on the back of his photograph.

On this 70 anniversary of the Portuguese in Canada, I honour my father’s coming to Canada with these few photographs which are a witness to the love of a 37 year old who left wife and child, as did thousands of others, in the hope of establishing a better life for themselves and their families while creating the traditions of their past into their future.

This year, there will be another procession at St. Mary’s Church on Sunday, May 14, and I will be attending in the desire to connect with a feast that had been important to my father throughout his life.


About thetorzorean

The musings of a torontonian azorean on identity and belonging. You can find me at
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11 Responses to The First Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo in Toronto through my Father’s Camera

  1. Rita Botelho says:

    Great photos Emanuel.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. crr29061 says:

    fascinating story and I love the vintage images 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carol Wells says:

    Those photos are such a treasure Emanuel. They must bring back very special memories of the festival that was celebrated in the Azores and continues here. May you enjoy your experience on Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ilda says:

    Bonita homenagem ao teu pai! The apple didn’t fall far from tree.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Berta Henriques says:

    Beautiful pictures….brings back so many wonderful memories. Miss him so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nuno França says:

    Que Relíquias! !


    Liked by 1 person

  7. thetorzorean says:

    Muito obrigado, Nuno. Abraço!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Laureano Soares says:

    Lindas Fotos muito bem conservadas. E que bela homenagem a seu pai meu caro amigo Emanuel. Abraço

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Humberto says:

    Great pix and great memories. St. Mary’s was our church and I was baptized and did my first communion there with Padre Cunha (in the second picture). Senhor Santo Cristo was, in my youth, always the most important Portuguese festival in Toronto. It established us as a community here. I loved the little fairground they set up in the adjoining schoolyard. The ground was always littered with the little unrolled papers people would buy to win a set of cooking pots or a new appliance. I remember it was attended by newlyweds Pierre and Margaret Trudeau in 1970 or 71 ! I was there and it was my first experience seeing someone famous in real life !

    Liked by 1 person

    • thetorzorean says:

      Thank you so much, Humberto, for sharing your wonderful memories of the festa and of your early roots with St. Mary’s and Senhor Santo Cristo. Your comment is a rich contribution to the history of the Portuguese in Toronto and I’m honoured that you shared it here on my blog.


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