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 ( or Gabe ( 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.

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.

The “Injunção”

on 11:31 pm

Time for a little free legal lesson, this time concerning a very popular instrument used for debt collection, namely by services providers, known as the “injunção” (created by Decree-law 269/98, of 1st September).

An injunção is defined as a formal order to pay. It is a very simple, cheap, and quick way of getting a credit recognized. All the applicant/creditor has to do is fill out a simple form online, normally done by a lawyer, with a summary description of the debt. The application will only be sent to the debtor after the judicial fees are paid, which can be either €25.50 or €52.00 depending on the value of the debt. No proof of any kind is required at this time.

The (in)famous "Citius", birthplace for many an injunção

Though ff you’re the applicant, don’t think that the injunção is a magic bullet. If the debtor does not intend to pay they will oppose it, take it to court, and prolong the process as long as possible. However, in the majority of cases debtors do not contest an injunção (which is what any applicant hopes for).

Call a lawyer if you get one of these in the mail

The debtor has 15 days (consecutive, not working) in order to present a defense in writing or to pay the amount claimed.

If a defense is offered, a trial will be scheduled and both applicant and debtor must offer any legally admissible form of proof (witnesses, documents, etc.). Any defense can be offered, such as the debtor stating that he has already paid off his debt, or that he owes nothing due to creditor breach of contract.

Failing the production of a defense or voluntary payment, the “injunção” gains executive force, meaning it has exactly the same value as an unappealable judicial sentence, and is full irrefutable proof of the existence of that credit/debt. An injunção, from start to executive force, can take under two months.

With this document, the applicant can move for the court to seize the debtors property to make good on his debt, either by seizing cash directly (garnishing wages, apprehending bank accounts) or by selling the debtors property in auction (cars, houses, etc.). Note that in Portugal it is illegal for a creditor to gain property over a debtor’s asset by way of defaulting on a loan and/or payment. The debt can be made good from the proceeds of the sale of the asset, but never by the asset itself.

Something to break up the monotony

Unfortunately this next step (the “acção executive”) is a relatively slow, costly, and many times, unprofitable experience.

What to take away from the injunção? Use it if a debtor has yet to pay despite constant promises to do so. It’s cheap, fast, and effective. And as a debtor, always offer a written defense if an injunção is received, otherwise your situation will become significantly more complicated.

For example: I have a friend that recently received an envelope from the court, and promptly decided to ignore it. He wasn’t new to the debt scene, and had faced threatening letters from lawyers and debt collection agencies before. A few weeks pass and he receives another, and then another, this second one being quite bulky, though it also goes in the cupboard unopened. Out of sight, out of mind.

Good or bad, depending on your situation

A few weeks pass and he decides to show me the envelopes. I open them immediately. The first was the injunção application; the second is letter stating that due to no defense being offered the injunção has gained executive force. The bulky envelope was a court notice stating that his house had been apprehended by court decision and was going to be put up for sale, and he had 20 days to offer a defense.

I opened the envelope on the 27th day.

Funny, despite being such a simple figure in Portuguese law, I haven’t even touched the surface. And this must be a thoroughly boring post for 99% of you.

I'm baaaack...

on 10:28 pm

for good this time. Seriously.

After a whirlwind tour of Paris and Brussels with the girlfriend, back to work. I heartily recommend a visit to Paris, it's a magnificent city.

My apologies for the lack of updates from my part. I've already promised João that I'd pay him a beer as compensation (and this is a legally binding contract!).

The days are starting to get shorter. The melancholy feeling that the end of summer brings is starting to creep up. Prepared for the cold, rainy days of Portuguese winter?

Feel free to email us your recommendations on what you'd like to see covered here. Help us help you!


Yes ... you too could be on TV!

on 6:11 pm

We recently received an e-mail from the folks at Leopard Films, the people behind the worldly renown TV show House Hunters International (shown in over 40 country - but apparently not in Portugal), asking if we knew of any Canadian, American, British, etc. expats who had recently bought a home in Portugal and are living here on a full-time basis that they could profile on their show. Our answer was no ... we don't anyone who fits the bill, however we thought it would be nice to help out the folks at Leopard films and spread the word on their search.

So if the above description is you or someone you know, you can reach Soraya Spiers at Leopard Films ( and she'll provide you with all the information you need.

The show does provide a handsome payment for those who participate.

Who knows, maybe the bright lights of television await you.