Would you like an ice rink in Lisbon?

on 11:39 am

If so, you're not alone and now there's something you can do about it.

In Portugal, Montreal-born Mauricio Xavier is Mr. Hockey. He was on the Portuguese National Ice Hockey team that played two games against the First Portuguese club in Viseu in June of 2000, the only Portuguese national ice hockey team ever assembled, he does colour commentating for NHL games on Sportv, and he is also an active member of the Portuguese Ice Sports Federation (www.fp-dg.com/).

The jersey worn by Pedro Regado, the first Portuguese player to score a goal wearing the Portuguese colours, now hangs in the NHL Hall-of-Fame in Toronto

Now here in Portugal, during a 10 year stint (1996-2006), the only place one could hold an official ice hockey game or a figure skating event was at Palácio do Gelo in Viseu. With the closing of this facility in 06, however, any Winter sport requiring an ice surface has pretty much been left out in the cold.

Presently, Mauricio is trying to change that. Along with the folks at the Portuguese Ice Sport Federation, he is heading up a campaign to get an official ice surface built in Lisbon. They are not asking for Maple Leaf Gardens to be built in the heart of Lisbon. What is being asked for is the construction of an official ice rink where ice hockey, figure skating even curling can be played by people of all ages at different levels.

So if you'd like to get behind this cause or just simply show your support, you can start here:


Once we get this rink up, if you're the holder of a zamboni drivers license, they'll be hiring ...

Another voice ...

on 1:58 pm

That would be mine.

Hello all, I'm João. Gabriel kindly invited me a couple weeks back to be a contributor to our Canadians in Portugal blog. How could I say no.
So yeah, now all those interested will get to read my rants and insights as well.

I grew up in the town of Prince George (PG), British Columbia, aka the Spruce Capital of the World (see picture), located 778 kms north of Vancouver, 737kms west of Edmonton and 400 kms from Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway to the north (in Dawson Creek, BC). If you're thinking 'wow, that's out in the middle of nowhere!', ... I'm not going to argue with you.

I can't say I miss PG all that much (I've been away for 13 years now), although there is one thing I miss: driving the highways of Western Canada for hours on end just to get somewhere, often doing so without seeing any sort of civilization along the way.
Easyjet wasn't providing cheap flights up to Prince George when I used to live there (and they still aren't). Driving to Vancouver was always cheaper then any Westjet or Air Canada flight. So the best option - drive.
Of course nothing compares to this here in Portugal. I mean, being in Lisbon, as is my situation, in 2-3 hours you can get anywhere - the Algarve, Porto, Serra da Estrela, and so on and so forth... Sure it's convenient, even handy, but where's the adventure?

Prince George is a city of 80,000 strong give or take. To get to another city of the same size, which would be Kamloops to the south, it's 530 kms. That's a good 6 hour drive for most. I say this to anybody here in Portugal and the majority can't fathom such distances - they can't comprehend such geographies.

But to me, driving those highways under those big skies that never seem to end ... that's one thing I miss.

Thinking of starting your own business in Portugal?

on 10:55 pm

 You might want to think again, or at least plan very well.

I was reading a thread on partner responsibility on www.expatforum.com the other day, and it occurred to me that ex-pats living in Portugal might have plans to start their own business here, or to move here from abroad for that effect. I know that many already have.

According to recent statistics, in Portugal, 16,258 companies were created in the first six months of 2010. However, 5,200 companies were dissolved during that same time period.

And the number of insolvencies in the first six months of 2010 reached 1,840, an increase of 2.5% compared to the same time last year. I'm sure you've seen the tell-tale signs, abandoned shop windows with declarations of insolvency taped to them, or decisions by the board of directors stating that they are planning to request insolvency, as below.
Insolvencies are, to say the least, a hassle. They invariably involve the Portuguese Revenue, Social Security, and all other creditors; banks and other financial institutions, former employees, suppliers, etc. And, of course, lawyers. They are a very timely process (though efforts are under way to speed up the process), and would really put a damper having moved to Portugal, what with consuming all of your investments.

I don't mean to be a nay-sayer, nor dissuade anyone from coming to Portugal to start up a business. I myself know of several ex-pats that managed to find success here. But like any big decision in life, remember to plan well, and inform yourself very well before stepping into the financial landmine that is the life of a start-up business owner in Portugal.

For more on the insolvency process in Portugal, I recommend visiting the "European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters" website at http://ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/bankruptcy/bankruptcy_por_en.htm

I hope that this is the first and last time you see anything this in-depth on insolvency in Portugal...