- Question 3
- Most Portuguese immigrants
to Canada found it easy to integrate and adjust to their new home.
Many of the early Portuguese immigrants to Canada were poor and illiterate.
They had left families behind in Portugal to work in the menial jobs
on railways and farms that Canadian workers were increasingly refusing
to accept. Canada was a completely unknown world for the Portuguese.
The men who came by the boat load were soon separated from each other
and, incapable of speaking any French or English, they lived in virtual
isolation for months on end. Their only means of communication was
with hand gestures they invented to explain to employers and fellow
workers their needs or problems. Most worked long days with poor shelter,
insufficient food and low wages. Many went for long periods of time
without work and often encountered prejudice and discrimination in
trying to find work because they were Portuguese.