Anotonio da Silva was born in the village of Vila Nova de Gaia, near the city of Oporto, Portugal. His mother sold fresh fish in the local market. His father was absent, most likely a fisherman lost at sea. Poor and illiterate, the most Antonio could hope for would be the harsh life of a fisherman. So at the age of 13, he secretly fled Portugal, stowing-away aboard a schooner bound for Newfoundland.
Antonio eventually found remarkable similarities between his Portuguese heritage and the people of Newfoundland. Both cultures were closely tied to the sea; both were deeply rooted in Catholicism. And both enjoyed the common folklore of music, dancing and a good kitchen party.
Today, that bridge joining Portuguese and Newfoundland cultures lives on as strongly as ever amongst Antonio's seven children, 37 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.