Photos by Antonio Cabral de Melo
The second procession of Senhor Santo Cristo in Toronto was held on April 30, 1967. My father’s photographs document, each with a caption written on the backside, a moment in the history of Portuguese immigration to Canada.
I am grateful for these images which I first saw while still living in the Azores and which are still in my possession as tangible evidence of my father’s care and love, not only for the religious significance of the festa but for thinking of me and my mother, so far away at the time, and sharing with us his life in Toronto.
These photos of a public event were taken to be shared as a private moment with his wife and son, at a time when neither Facebook nor Instagram existed for the sharing of every moment of life on-line with everyone you know. But in the spirit of the 70 anniversary of the Portuguese coming to Canada, I make these images public in honour of my father who in life never sought the limelight nor ever did anything for the glorification of self but simply for the pleasure and delight of his family.
These photographs have started to fade after so many years, but they are still a vivid and impressive record of a day in the religious life of Azoreans who brought their love of Senhor Santo Cristo with them from their island home.
For many years, as a member of the Irmandade do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres, my father had the honour of being one of the men chosen to carry the andor in procession.Antonio Cabral de Melo is the third man from the front in this photo taken in 1972.
Can the fading photos be restored digitally to their original sharpness?