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Maria Bernadete Gouveia (Bernadete)
First Impressions of Canada

Time 0:01:06


I loved the airport—it might sound silly, to you. But coming from an island, a very small airport, when you see something that's that big, it’s, Wow, this is beautiful. And, again, coming back home and see all the cars. Because in an island you don’t see too many cars and seeing all those cars it’s just—I can never forget. And it was night-time. Those lights and that go on the other direction. I even told my husband, Is that—back home we have these villages festivals and, then, they have lots of lights. So I was asking my husband, “Is there a festival going on?” (laughs) He said, “No, it’s the highway. The cars going to the other side.” Oh, my goodness. Do I sound silly? I did. (laughs)

Maria Bernadete Gouveia was born in 1946 on the Portuguese island of Madeira. When Bernadete was 18, she got engaged to Agostino Gouveia, who she had met at church. Agostino came to Canada in 1966 while Bernadete stayed in Portugal. Separated by distance, the couple were married by proxy in 1968. Bernadete immigrated to Canada in 1969, settling in Toronto, Ontario.

Bernadete found a job at a pen factory in Toronto two weeks after arriving in Canada. She remained with the company for five years before she resigned so that she could take care of her mother full-time. Bernadete and Agostino started their own family in Canada and had a daughter and a son.

In 1999, Bernadete began working for a Portuguese language magazine. This opened up opportunities in other print media and also in Portuguese radio and television. Bernadete is an active member of the Portuguese community in Toronto. She helped organize a trip for older Portuguese immigrants to visit Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and played an important part in the founding of the Gallery of the Portuguese Pioneers in Toronto in 2003.

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