Favourite Canadian Albums of 2010

on 1:52 am

I'm of the opinion that Canada has some of the best music in the world. The following are my fav. 20 Canadian albums from 2010 made by some of Canada's best musical artists. For those of you expecting Michael Bublé or Justin Bieber, sorry this list just isn't for you.
So here they are from 1 to 20 along with my fav. compilation and live album by Canadian acts. If you want to have a listen, I've included links to myspaces, etc.

1. Wintersleep - New Inheritors

2. New Pornographers - Together http://www.myspace.com/thenewpornographers
3. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs http://www.myspace.com/arcadefireofficial
4. Wolf Parade - Expo 86 http://www.myspace.com/wolfparade
5. Zeus - Say Us http://www.myspace.com/themusicofzeus
6. The Mohawk Lodge - Crimes http://www.myspace.com/mohawklodge
7. Tokyo Police Club - Champ http://www.myspace.com/tokyopoliceclub
8. Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles - The Grand Bounce http://www.gorddownie.com/mp/index.html
9. Apollo Ghosts - Mount Benson http://www.myspace.com/adrianteacher
10. Yukon Blonde - Yukon Blonde http://www.myspace.com/yukonblondeband
11. The Sadies - Darker Circles http://www.myspace.com/thesadies
12. The Golden Dogs - Coat of Arms http://www.thegoldendogs.com/parts/stream/
13. Jason Collett - Rat a Tat Tat http://www.myspace.com/jasoncollett
14. Hooded Fang - Hooded Fang www.myspace.com/hoodedfang
15. Ketcher Harbour Wolves - Anachronisms www.myspace.com/ketchharbourwolves
16. Boxer the Horse - Would You Please www.myspace.com/boxerthehorse
17. Born Ruffians - Say It www.myspace.com/bornruffians
18. The Acorn - No Ghosts www.myspace.com/theacorn
19. Ghostkeeper - Ghostkeeper www.myspace.com/childrenofthegreatnorthernmuskeg
20. Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record www.myspace.com/brokensocialscene

Top compilation: Thrush Hermit - The Complete Recordings Box Set http://www.myspace.com/thrushhermit

Top live album: The Weakerthans - Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre http://www.myspace.com/theweakerthans

So there you go. Would love to hear what you think.

All the best in 2011 for everyone!

Portuguese Ball Hockey Association is looking for players

on 1:06 pm

We here at canadianinportugal.com like to help out the community whenever we can. We recently received an e-mail from the Toronto-based Portuguese Ball Hockey Association (PBHA) asking us if we'd be so kind as to help them out in their search for players.

The reason they are searching as far away as Portugal is due to the fact that they are in need of players with Portuguese nationality. Although most of the players on the PBHA roster are of Portuguese descendents, most do not possess Portuguese citizenship and thus can not represent Portugal on the National Team and in international play.

So if you think you've got what it takes (and we know there's some of you out there) to wear the Portuguese colours (check them out below), you can get in contact with Fernando de Menezes at fernando_demenezes@rogers.com.

You can also visit the PBHA website at http://www.portugueseballhockey.com/, or check them out on facebook here http://www.facebook.com/The.PBHA.

Exchanging your Driver's license in Portugal

on 10:43 pm

As you may know, if you’re visiting Portugal, you are legally entitled to use your Canadian driver's license to drive.

The famous high-security Ontario Driver's License
However, if you're planning on staying in Portugal for longer than 185 days, you should exchange your Canadian driver's license for a Portuguese driver's license, within the first 185 days of your arrival. Having a Portuguese driver's license has many benefits. For example, many MacDonald's in continental Portugal super-size your menu for free if you have a valid Portuguese driver's license (*please note, this may not be true).

How'd this get here? I am not good with computer

After this brilliant exposé, you're probably itching to exchange your old, tacky Canadian driver's license for a hip, trendy Portuguese driver's license. However, there are a few requirements you must meet before you can apply to exchange your driver’s license:

  • You must be of the minimum legal age to drive, according to Portuguese law (18)
  • Posses physical and mental aptitude (a tough requirement, I had to cheat on this one)
  • Have legal residence in Portugal
  • Not serving any probation, inhibition, or any other sentence that interdicts you from having a drivers license.

If you meet all the above requirements, and still want to exchange your Canadian driver’s license for a Portuguese one, it’s actually quite easy.

     • First, you have to fill out a specific form, that can be found at this link.You can find instructions on how to fill it out at this link.  It’s a standard editable PDF, and you must fill it in electronically. It also has to be printed out in high quality since the Institution for Mobility and Terrestrial Transport (the Portuguese equivalent of the Minsitry of Transportation) uses high tech, state of the art digital recognition software to read it.

     • A photocopy of your ID card. The original must be shown when all the documentation is presented.

     • Your original Canadian driver’s license.

     • Two (2) colour passport photos

     • A medical exam, done by the health authority of your residence.

     • A psychological exam if you are planning to drive an ambulance, fire truck, or bus.

     • A declaration from the Canadian authorities that proves the authenticity of your Canadian driver's license, including, date of emission, validity, categories of vehicles that you can drive and any applicable restrictions.

     • Pay the administrative fee of 30€

Once you have all this, you’ll have to take it to the nearest IMTT, which you can find using the tool at this link.

Once there, they'll probably tell you that you've filled in something incorrectly, forgot some important document, or that they don't deal with these sorts of things; in other words, the normal Portuguese bureaucracy typical of public service. Be polite, insist, and they'll end up helping you out.

They'll give you a fancy sheet of paper that is to be used as a temporary driver's license until the real one arrives in the mail. The application can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks to be processed, so don't give up hope it doesn't arrive right away.

You too can be the proud owner of one of these beauties!

For more detailed information, please consult the following link:

As always, if you need anything else, feel free to shoot us an email.

Canadians in Portugal is a year old!

on 2:04 pm

I was looking over previous entries from this blog yesterday and noticed that on December 10th of last year, Gabe put up the first post on canadiansinportugal.com.

For those of you who may follow this blog, you may know that up until about six months ago, Gabe was the man behind this project. From what I gather, Gabe had intended to make this blog a bit more of a personal endeavour, recounting his own experiences in Portugal. However, just as identities are never stagnant, so has the face of this blog taken other shapes. In fact, after Gabe's invitation to have me join him on here, that face became two (sort of speak).

Thus far, the blog has been a lot of fun and a great experience for us, and I think we've contributed somewhat in helping to bring a little bit of Canada to Portugal and to Canadians in Portugal. Certainly we're going to keep on doing this and hopefully keep on growing. In fact, we'd love to hear from people out there if you have suggestions, ideas, etc. It would be great to do more in 2011.

Lastly, we want to wish everyone out there A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Ah snow ...

on 11:48 pm

In most parts of Portugal we never see it. In most of Canada seldom do we go without it.

A few years ago we witnessed here in Lisbon a somewhat solid liquid some unfamiliar with 'real snow' would call snow. Ofcourse as soon as it hit the ground it would pretty much disappear. From the windows of our apartments, this is what most of us saw:

Yes the above does look pretty sad, but Portugal does get its fare share of 'serious snow' as well. In fact, snowy Portugal can be quite nice. For example:

Surely these are different scenes from what we have in Canada.

But if in fact you're missing snowy Canada, I offer you these - enjoy:

How about that Canada/Portugal rugby today?

on 9:54 pm

So who among you were at Estádio Universitário this afternoon to see our Portugal national rugby team take on our Canadian national rugby team? If you were there, I'm sure you'll agree: a fantastic, fast-paced first half, and a slow second half with a lot of stops. The end result: Canada 23 - Portugal 20. (in the pictures, Canada in black, Portugal in red)

After the first 20 minutes it looked like Canada was going to walk all over Portugal, taking a quick 12-0 lead and pretty much dominating ever aspect of the game. Then, all of then sudden, Portugal turns it around and goes up 14-12. Canada got 3 back and at the half the result was 15-14 in favour of the Canucks.

The second half see-sawed back and forth: Portugal went up 17-15, Canada pulled it back 20-17, Portugal tied it at 20, and then with 5 minutes left the teams exchanged penalty kick attempts. Portugal missed, Canada didn't. And that's how it ended.

This was the last of a 4 game European Fall tour for team Canada ending with a 3-1 record, the only lost coming to Georgia, the wins coming against Belgium, Spain and of course, Portugal. At the same time, this was also the third and final game of the Super Bock Rugby Cup, held the last 3 weekends, that saw Portugal come out with a 1-2 record - a loss against the United States, a win against Namibia and of course, today's loss against Canada.

Anyway, it was good fun and tomorrow another Canadian tradition continues - live from Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium, the 98th Grey Cup pits the Alouetes de Montreal against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. I gotta go with the underdogs - go Riders!

Getting divorced in Portugal

on 11:11 pm

Time for another free lesson* in Portuguese law! This round is on the hallowed institution of divorce, regulated by Articles 1773 to 1793 of the Portuguese Civil Code. Divorce is quite popular in Portugal. In 2009 alone there were 72 divorces a day, with 26,464 divorces against 40,391 marriages.

Can't say it's not original..
*Obligatory Disclaimer: This information contained in this post is provided "as is" and does not constitute legal advice. I make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this post, and in no event shall I be liable for lost profits, or any special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of or in connection with any information stated in this post.

Please note that in this post I will only cover amicable divorce, or divorce by mutual consent. Litigious divorce, or divorce without mutual consent, is much more complex, and much messier. Therefore, this is for the case where the spouses have decided that married life is not for them, and they both can agree on everything.

Not all divorces have to be like this.
A few conditions for the below to be applicable: no minors and the spouses can agree on all terms of the divorce.

First, an application is made in the name of both spouses to the civil registry of their area, or a civil registry expressly designated by them, clearly stating all relevant personal details. In a divorce by mutual consent, the spouses do not have to give the reason for their application, just that both are legally capable of applying for a divorce and that all relevant documentation is attached. The application is signed either by the spouses or by their representative.

The application is lodged with a certificate containing a full copy of the marriage record (including any prenuptial agreement, if one exists), a detailed list of the communal property, including their respective values, and an agreement on the disposal of the marital home. The divorce application has an associated fee of €250.00

In Portugal a standardized application does not exist for divorces.
After the application and attached documents are lodged, the registrar will schedule a meeting with the spouses in order to bring about reconciliation.

If the spouses still intend to divorce, and having checked that the prerequisites are met, the divorce is decreed and registered. The spouses do not have to show up for this as long as they issue power of attorney to their representative. However, the power of attorney has to be signed before a notary public.

Fifteen days after this date the divorce is considered final, and all personal documents can be updated to reflect the new civil status.

Contrary to popular belief, this is a legal impossibility in Portugal.
The whole process normally takes two months from start to finish, depending on the schedule of the registrar. From a bureaucratic point of view, the divorce process is one of the quicker processes in Portugal.

For the lighter side of divorce, feel free to visit this site for some divorce cakes, and this site on how to pick the right divorce cake for you.

Hey PM Stephen Harper was in town!

on 10:03 pm

Did anybody see Canada's number 1 here in Lisbon the last couple of days? As you probably know it was this little meeting that brought him to town; this small gathering they call the NATO Summit. Besides closing down particular parts of the city and getting people to gather to manifest against the Summit, it's almost like it went unnoticed.

Now concerning the Canadian PM, he was kept indoors the majority of the time spent here, mainly down at the Feira Industrial de Lisboa (FIL) negotiating world affairs with the other world leaders. Besides the time spent at the FIL (on the 18th and 19th), we also know that he meet with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen the morning of the 18th to discuss Canada's role in Afghanistan and the pulling out of Canadian combat troops by the Summer of 2011, and the intent of only leaving Canadian military trainers to train Afghan security forces in Afghanistan.

For those of you who certainly didn't miss Barack Obama on every television and newspaper, but did not manage to catch a glimps of the Canadian PM, here are some photos:

We certainly enjoyed his visit, but lets hope that the next time he visits (along with his world leader friends) it will be for reasons other than those that also attract these folks:

Remember… Remembrance Day

on 11:53 pm

Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day, is in one weeks time. On the 11th month, of the 11th day, at the 11th hour, two minutes silence should be respected in remembrance of all those that have fallen in battle.

Canada, as part of the Dominion of the British Empire, was called upon to fight on its behalf when World War I broke out. The horrifying trench warfare of the First World War resulted in 67,000 killed and 173,000 wounded for Canadian forces. However battles such as Vimy Ridge, Second Battle of Passchendaele and the Battle of the Somme are still remembered today as part of Canada's founding myth, to both its identity and culture.

The Vimy Ridge Memorial

Portugal also fought on the “winning” side in World War I, having officially declared war on Germany on 9th March, 1916. In 1917 the first Portuguese troops were sent to the West Front, as part of the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps, and were involved in the fighting Flanders and then France. The 2nd Division of the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps was practically wiped out on the 8th and 9th of April, 1918, as the result of a massed German artillery attack and infantry offensive.

World War I Memorial in Coimbra, Portugal
Portugal lost almost 10,000 soldiers in the war, having mobilized almost 200,000 men. The economic and social costs of the involvement in World War I are said to have led to the fall of the democratic government and subsequent rise of Salazar’s dictatorship.

Unfortunately Remembrance Day is not commemorated in Portugal as it is in Canada, and I doubt anyone would recognize the reason behind having a poppy on your lapel.

However, if you have the time, I recommend reading “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque. It captures the futility of war quite poignantly. Or if you don’t have the time, at least read “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, and reflect on the sacrifice made by others, so long ago.

Canada vs Portugal - Rugby! (and social networks)

on 10:07 pm

I’ve recently heard of a new site called “Facebook”. A bit of a crazy name, but what can you do? Anyways, supposedly this site is the next big thing. Therefore, in an effort to show my “techno-hipness”, I’ve created a Facebook page for Canadians in Portugal. You can see the fancy widget thingie to the left.

An example of a "Facebook" profile

What does this have to do with Rugby, you may as?

The Canadian National Men’s Rugby team is coming to Portugal on the 27th November (Saturday) to play against the Portuguese National Rugby team at the Estádio Universitário in Lisbon, at 15h00!

João thought that we should take advantage of these new techno-fads in order to pass the message on. So that's what we've done, and the upcoming rugby match was the first post! Feel free to show up and support your country(ies)!

Here’s the Portuguese Rugby Federation website: http://www.rugbyportugal.com/
And the Canadian Rugby Federation website: http://www.rugbycanada.ca/

This event is supported by the Canadian Embassy in Portugal, so a round of applause for them as well! And hope to see you there!

The Gathering - thanks for coming out

on 12:32 pm

Hello all,

Just a brief post to thank the folks who came to our Canadian get-together on Saturday. What we lacked in quantity we certainly made up for it in quality.
Perhaps in the new year we can do it again, maybe in Cascais (as some of you came out from that direction), perhaps else where.
Do keep in touch and don't forget to visit us on the blog as you are doing right now.
Thanks again and hope to see you all again soon.

Crunch-time, or, how has the global crisis affected you in Little Ol' Portugal?

on 10:14 pm

The excellent blog posts on Canadian music have made start re-listening to a few bands, particularly Rush (though unlike João, I've always been a true fan).

Their music reminds me of small towns in rural Canada slowly dying off and disappearing, with the “old” way of life fading away due to closing factories, children growing up and leaving with no one to replace them, attracted by the opportunities that the big cities provide.

Abandoned shopping mall in Wallaceburg

I grew up in a small industrial town, and I remember the so-called “golden days”, when work was plentiful, and the economy booming. But that didn’t last long. Factories moved first to the USA, and then to Mexico. In Wallaceburg, the loss of the Glass Factory was the biggest blow, and the town went downhill from there. I left in 1999, which was really the beginning of the end.

Picturesque Wallaceburg

I’ve visited my hometown a few times, the last being in 2006. It was a ghost town. No children on the streets, all the old stores boarded up, and the factories abandoned. Even remembering it now saddens me somewhat.

Unfortunately in Portugal the economy is also facing serious problems. Not the same decline as Canada faced, since Portugal was never very economically strong to begin with. However, the VAT is rising yet again. Income tax as well. Deductable expenses are going to be severely capped. The budget is under heavy discussion, and risks not being passed in parliament. The plentiful subsidies formerly given by the European Union have long dried up. Austerity measures are in full swing. Recession looms overhead.

The Euro won't stretch as far as it used to. Not only will goods and services be more expensive, but we'll be effectively earning less each month. For many it's going to be difficult to make ends meet.

How are you dealing with the current crisis? Cutting down on the ivory back-scratchers? Or is it life as usual?


Canadian music 2: Rush

on 12:27 am

Earlier this past week I watched the documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage directed by Toronto-based film-makers Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen. As heavy metal enthusiast (their previous films include: Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, Global Metal and Iron Maiden: Flight 666), in Beyond a Lighted Stage, Dunn and McFadyen look back at the 42-year history of what could arguably be considered Canada's all time biggest rock band - Rush.

Be it their progressive stylings of the 1970s or their more synth-heavy sounds of the 1980s, the truth I have never been a Rush fan. After watching Dunn and McFadyen's Beyond the Lighted Stage, however, I admit to possessing newly garnished respect for Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart (aka Rush). The film goes through the various musical life stages of the band using the commentary of fans as well as their fellow rock n'roll peers. It also delves into personal aspects of the band, with particular attention given to drummer Neil Peart's anti-rock star mannerisms and his family tragedies.

The film is flawless film-making, leaving no stone unturned on the life of Canada's biggest power-trio. Well worth a watch and listen.

Now while on the topic of documentary films, Lisbon's annual documentary film festival DocLisboa is currently running until October 24th. Here are a few Canadian themed / Canadian made movies you might want to check out:

Petropolis - Aerial Perspectives on the Alberta Tar Sands - as the title indicates, the film looks at the Alberta Tar Sands (the largest oil reserve in the world) from an overhead perspective;

Les Signes Vitaux (Vital Signs) - a film that questions perceptions of life and death by questioning what people really need during their last moments of life (the movie is set in Canada);

Le Souffle du Désert (Desert Wind) - during 15 days 13 men (including some from Quebec) go walking in the Tunisian desert with the aim of reflecting on their masculine identities.

The NHL season starts tomorrow

on 7:09 pm

In Canada a true sign that Winter has arrived is that of hockey season kicking off. That season starts tomorrow and for folks like Gabriel (Go Leafs!) and myself (Go Canucks!), it's that time of year when we are brought closer to that quintessential element that defines Canada more so then anything else - ice hockey.

As has been the case for the last number of seasons, the NHL once again gets underway right here in Europe, mind you nowhere close to Portugal. From tomorrow until Sunday (Oct. 7th -10th) the cities of Helsinki, Stockholm and Prague will host back-to-back games. This is the closest we'll probably ever get to having the NHL anywhere close to us, but hey, as long as we have ESPN America showing us games on a regular basis, we can be happy with that.

But anyway here's what we would like to do. We would like to get the people out there who drop by our blog from time to time to tell us how their team (if you have one) is going to pan out this year. Will Toronto make the playoffs? Will Montreal be a playoff surprise like last year? Will the Sedins drive the Canucks all the way to the Cup? Or maybe Edmonton will revisit the days of Gretzky. We can't forget Calgary and Ottawa, maybe they'll pull something off.

Let us know. Leave a comment.

Announcement! Our Canadian, Luso-Canadian, Friends of Canada gathering is here!

on 6:53 pm

Alright, it's what everyone's been waiting for. After receiving some encouraging e-mails, we have decided that Saturday, Oct 23rd is the day we Canadians / Luso-Canadians / lovers of all things Canadian will gather.

We asked you and we asked ourselves: where would be a good place for such an encounter? For this first meeting we settled on Lisbon due to its centrality. But where in Lisbon could we have this? We don't have a Canadian eating or drinking establishment of any sorts in the capital. Our best solution: to meet halfway between continental Portugal and Canada by meeting at an Azorean establishment. We settled on Peter Café Sport at Praça das Nações.

So to sum it up:

WHEN: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23rd, 2010 @ 17:00

We figure an afternoon start will give people a chance to meet, talk, drink, etc. and then if people are interested in going for dinner, we will do just that. Please be aware that this is not a Canadian only event so do bring your non-Canadian loved ones and/or campanions.

For any further information or just to let us know that you'll be there, drop João (jmssardinha@gmail.com) or Gabe (gbsampaio@gmail.com) an e-mail.

Lastly, we also let our friends at Portugal Friends know that we'd publicise their Lisbon ex-pat gathering which will take place October 26th @ 18:00 at the Quadrante, Centro Cultural de Belem.
For more info., you can check out their website: www. portugalfriends.com.

Canadian music 1: Anne Murray

on 10:38 pm

I'm a big fan of Canadian music and as a result of that, I'm going to start expressing my love for the music that comes out of 'the Great Northlands' by blogging about it from time to time.

Today I'm going to talk about my brush with Canadian country music superstar Anne Murray right here in Portugal. Well, not Anne Murray herself, but with the song that made her a superstar south of the Canadian border in the 1970s: Snowbird (according to Wikipedia, Snowbird was the first single by a Canadian female solo artist to reach number 1 on the U.S. charts and to earn a gold record).

When I moved to Portugal in 1997, a couple of months after getting here, I went to a second hand cd and vinyl record trade show that was taking place in Cascais. While fingering through a basket of vinyl singles, I came across an old 45 of Anne Murray's Snowbird. I was very surprised by this discovery and, as I scoped it out of the basket, I became even more surprised as the record was a Portuguese pressing of Anne Murray's Snowbird, originally released in 1970 and put out in Portugal by the Portuguese record company Valentim de Carvalho. The single's packaging is all in Portuguese introducing Murray to the Portuguese public. The backside of the vinyl album reads that she's from Nova Scotia, a former student at the Univeristy of New Brunwick and a sign of Canadian's progress in the world of music. The reality is that not too many Canadian artists were making it over here at the time.

I ended up buying it for 200 escudos or, in todays money, 1 euro. The truth is I have never played it but I do fondly display it in my study room at home. I'm not much into country music but I couldn't pass up this little bit of classical Canadian culture in Portuguese, cheaply sold in Portugal. What a find.

Now I can't even imagine how shocked I will be if I ever come across a Stompin Tom Conner Portuguese printed 45.