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Andrew Swan, MLA Minto
March 10, 2016

Portuguese Association of Manitoba

Mr. Speaker, this year the Portuguese Association of Manitoba celebrates its 50th anniversary. The association is a big part of the life of Manitoba's Portuguese community.

Last week, the association celebrated its anni­versary with many joyful events. My wife and I were honoured to join my colleague, the member for Logan (Ms. Marcelino), at the gala dinner attended by more than 500 guests.

The Portuguese community in Manitoba has contributed much to our province. While at one time many people took up construction and industrial work, many public works have been and still are built through the labour and skill of Portuguese immigrants. Today, the community features entrepreneurs, teachers, lawyers, architects, doctors, police officers and others.

There are more than 35,000 Manitobans of Portuguese descent. The association has more than 1,000 members and owns the impressive centre at Notre Dame and Yonge Street. The centre is home to many events, not only for the Portuguese community, but the rest of the community as well.

Many members of the Portuguese community will tell you about their own experiences in language school or dance groups run by the association, which continue today.

The association also owns the Portuguese Park, near the community of St. Laurent on Lake Manitoba. The Portuguese community worked with local residents and provided a new concrete floor for the hockey arena. This weekend you can and you should, vote for St. Laurent in the Kraft Hockeyville contest.

While members of Manitoba's Portuguese community now live in many neighbourhoods in Winnipeg and beyond, there is no question the heart of the community still beats in Winnipeg's West End–and if you have any doubt, Mr. Speaker, I invite you to come down to Sargent Avenue this summer any day that Portugal is competing in the Euro 2016 soccer tournament.

Congratulations to all the directors, staff and volunteers of the Portuguese Association of Manitoba on 50 years of excellence. I look forward to celebrating many more milestones with the association and the community in the years to come.

Parabéns e obrigado. Thank you.