Contextualizing place: the Portuguese community in Toronto

Darlene Abreu-Ferreira
Graduate Studies, York University- CANADA, 1994
January, 1994
Master's Thesis


The purpose of this study is to understand what “place” means for members of Toronto’s Portuguese community in the central city. This objective evolved from a concern with understanding why most of the people in this community have remained “residentially stable” for the last twenty years. This idea stemmed from the author’s personal experience as a member of Toronto’s Portuguese community. An ethnographic methodology, within a humanistic framework, was used to conduct the research and analysis. In-depth, unstructured interviews were used to obtain the data. The informants were male household heads, who were homeowners, and had lived in the same residence, in the “core of Toronto’s Portuguese community,” for at least ten years. The interviews were subjected to a qualitative analysis and “themes” emerged. A second set of interviews, with the same informants, were conducted in order to corroborate the interpretations from the first round of interviews. The product of these interviews represent the informants’ life experiences. The primary conclusion from the study is that, for the informants, “residential stability” does not exist apart from their life experiences. Instead, these life experiences reflect the creation of “place” and attachment to “place”.