"We now have this great rooster and I hope it goes down in history so that everyone can come to Toronto and visit it, because it is unique in this area," said Lusa Anabela Taborda, president of the Little Portugal Commercial and Services Association.
The official opening ceremony of the Barcelos rooster in Toronto's Little Portugal took place on Saturday, at 1212 Dundas Street West, at Lakeview Avenue Parkette.
This is a physical mark of the Portuguese presence in the heart of Little Portugal in Toronto, in an art project “the fruit of two societies, the Portuguese and the Canadian”, underlined Ana Bailão, Portuguese-Canadian councillor for the Municipality of Toronto.
“The Barcelos rooster is also a symbol of honesty, integrity and hope, which we so much need right now. With the public competition for the decoration of the rooster, we also wanted to involve the Canadian community in the creation of this Portuguese-Canadian rooster”, added the vice-president of the Canadian autarchy.
In a partnership with the Little Portugal Commercial and Services Association at Dundas, Toronto City Council, the Consulate General of Portugal and the Associação Migrante de Barcelos, the 2.8 metre tall and 1.9 meter long rooster was donated by municipality of Barcelos.
The Consul General of Toronto, José Carneiro Mendes, stressed that the 'Rooster of Barcelos' also meets the values of Canadian society.
“Little Portugal currently represents in Toronto as a place of diversity and multiculturalism. It's not like it was in the past, but it perfectly embodies the spirit of this country. It is also an asset to this city, for the cultural diversity, multiculturality that Canada pursues, the Portuguese values, the Rooster of Barcelos, the Barcelos community, are Canadian values, it will attract people who will come here to see the Rooster Barcelos”, stressed the diplomat.
Although Portugal is located more than five thousand kilometres from Canada, the Barcelos rooster will in the future also serve as a "source of inspiration for the Portuguese community in Canada", that "hope is the last to die" because it succeeds.
The winning artist of the public contest Julia Prajza explained that she was inspired by “Portuguese culture and landscape”, a mixture of joy, hope and optimism, celebrating Portuguese culture, enhancing the colours of the sea in Portugal and the sunshine, in a modern touch of traditional art”.
The event was attended by various personalities, including the Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, and the Federal Minister for Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen.
Also participating in the ceremony were the Rancho Folclorico of the Associação Migrante de Barcelos and the Portuguese-Canadian singer Vicky Rai.
Since last June, Galo de Barcelos has been a registered trademark in Portugal, whose Municipality of Barcelos is the owner of the trademark.
The Canadian Government estimates that more than 480,000 Portuguese and Portuguese descendants live in the country.