2006 COPA Recipients

Filomena Carvalho (Vision)

In 1981, Filomena Carvalho joined the staff of the Immigrant Women's Health Centre (IWHC) as the Portuguese counsellor. The centre currently serves Toronto's immigrant and refugee women in fourteen languages, and provides clinical services and multilingual educational material on sexual and reproductive health.  Filomena's leadership at the IWHC helped establish the Mobile Health Unit, a fully outfitted clinic in a van that travels to factories and workplaces all over Toronto. This unit is staffed by a physician, nurse-practitioner and counsellors, like Filomena, who provide education, counselling and referrals on issues related to birth control, sexually-transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy.  She has also taught English as a Second Language in factories such as Adidas, S.R. Grant, Maple Lodge Farms Ltd. and Omega through the Toronto Labour Council.  In 2003, Filomena won the City of Toronto’s Constance E. Hamilton Award on the Status of Women and the Marion Powell Award, an effort to recognize individuals who have demonstrated leadership, commitment and dedication to the advocacy in women's health over his or her career. Filomena donated the $10,000 she won from this award towards a new mobile health clinic unit which was destined to visit factories where many immigrant women work.

Maria Miranda Lawrence (Arts & Culture)

Maria de Lourdes Tavares Miranda Lawrence was born in Ajuda, Bretanha, São Miguel, Azores, July 2, 1953. At the age of three, Maria and her mother joined her father in the northern B.C. town of Kitimat. Her art emerged from childhood observation. At the age of 18, she began a three year Fine Arts program at Kootenay School of Art, Nelson, B.C. completed with honors. She married a fellow graduate, and moved to Vancouver Island where they raised two daughters. For over fifteen years she has offered personalized instruction to young and emerging artists. The Arts: music, dance, drama, literature and visual arts all inspire her to create paintings and sculpture. Maria is proud of her roots, and through her imagery and interaction will continue to celebrate our Portuguese heritage.  Maria Miranda is a signature member of the Canadian Portrait Artists, an executive member of the Island Illustrators Society, a Luso-Artist, an active member of the Canadian Federation of Artists and is a founding member of the Vancouver Island Arts & Cultural Accord.

Arthur Mendonça (Arts & Culture)

Arthur Mendonça was born in Toronto in 1976 and grew up on the island of São Miguel, Portugal. In 2002, he received his BAA in fashion design from Ryerson University. During his studies he apprenticed at NY Based Design in New York.   Arthur launched his own line for autumn 2003 under the Arthur Mendonça label.  He won the Fashion Export Award for New Designer of the Year in 2004 and was also invited by SAGA FURS that year to the SAGA Design Centre in Denmark. Arthur Mendonça’s collections are known for their vibrant feminine energy. Luxurious fabrics, striking silhouettes and expert tailoring combine to deliver bold, polished and sexy clothes. They have been praised by fashion luminaries Phillip Bloch, Jeanne Beker and Margherita Missoni and are coveted by celebrities such as Maria Bello and Nelly Furtado. Arthur Mendonça collections have been presented on runways in Los Angeles, Montréal, São Paulo and Toronto. The autumn 2006 collection was presented during Olympus Fashion Week in New York in February 2006 and is currently available at both the New York and Toronto showrooms.

Joseph Melo (Entrepreneurship)

In April 1954, Joe Melo, a 29-year old Portuguese farmer borrowed enough money to pay his passage to Canada, arriving with only $225 with which to build a new life. While he first settled in Halifax, his move to Kingston launched him on a journey that would take him from the world of construction to his own restaurant and eventually to the development of what is now the largest hotel in southeastern Ontario.  By 1960, Mr. Melo bought into a restaurant in downtown Kingston, affectionately named “The Azores” after his Portuguese birthplace. It was a fateful day in 1965 when he was invited to move his restaurant to the then 55 unit Ambassador Motel. In 1973 when the motel’s original owner wanted to sell, Mr. Melo, now married to his sweetheart Maria and father of 4 children, exercised his earlier negotiated option to purchase the motel and in so doing solidified his position in an industry that continues to be his family’s lifeblood today. A series of renovations over the more than 35 years since has transformed the Ambassador from a 55 unit motel with an outdoor pool and restaurant to a Conference Resort which today boasts 251 rooms, 19 meeting rooms with over 19,000 square feet of meeting space including Kingston’s largest and grandest ballroom, an indoor waterpark, restaurant and lounge. In 2000, Mr. Melo’s vision to develop a hotel in downtown Kingston was realized with the new Four Points by Sheraton in the downtown core. Mr. Melo is dedicated to the Kingston community, as evidenced by the many community events he sponsors and causes he supports, particularly youth programs.

Egidio Nascimento (Leadership)

Egidio Nascimento was born in São Jorge, Azores in 1966. He immigrated to Canada with his parents and sister at the age of five. After graduating from  University of Ottawa he joined Peat Marwick (now KPMG) and obtained his designation as a Chartered Accountant. During his tenure at KPMG Egidio lectured at the University of Ottawa. Egidio served as CFO of NetActive Inc., where he was instrumental in the company's spin-off from Nortel Networks Inc, responsible for filing a prospectus with the Ontario and Quebec Securities Commissions, and integral in landing over $29 million of equity financing. Egidio recently served as VP Finance of Genome Canada which raised $300 million in funding from the federal government during his four-year tenure. He recently returned to the private sector as CFO of Variation Biotechnologies Inc., an Ottawa based emerging biotech company that develops synthetic vaccines for influenza and HIV.  Egidio is also the co-founder of an aerospace coatings company.  He  serves (has served) on several Boards, is the co-founder and founding president of Casa Portuguesa de Artes e Cultura in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, is past director and member of the Portuguese-Canadian Business Association of Ottawa-Gatineau, and founder and organizer of the Luso-Canadian Golf Tournament which has benefited various Portuguese associations. Egidio has given marriage preparation courses for the past thirteen years. He is married with two children and loves traveling and golf.

Victor da Rosa (Education/Academia)

Victor M.P. Da Rosa was born in Portugal, on March 4, 1947. He attended primary and secondary schools in Portugal, and Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis (USA). He studied at the Universities of Brussels, Indiana (B.A. Sociology; M.A. Latin American Studies), Montréal (M.Ed. Andragogie - Adult Education), and McGill (Ph.D. Social Anthropology).  He has held teaching and research appointments in several universities, including Central Missouri State University, McGill, Concordia, Laurentian, Växjö (Sweden), Fernando Pessoa (Portugal), ULBRA (Brazil), and UniPiaget de Cabo Verde. Since 1971, he has been teaching sociology and anthropology at the University of Ottawa where he obtained his tenure in 1981 and was later promoted to the rank of "Full Professor". Prof. Da Rosa is presently the director of graduate programs in sociology.  He is a founding editor of Antropologicas, has been a member of the advisory board of several social science journals, and is the author/co-author of many articles and books dealing with ethnic relations, international development, and anthropology in general. Prof. Da Rosa has received several honours and awards, including: the Portuguese Government’s "comendador" of The Order of Prince Henry The Navigator (1989); winner of Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations’ teaching award (1988); and, recipient of the "University of Ottawa Award for Excellence in Teaching - Distinguished Professor of the Year” (1997).

Nelly Furtado (Força Award)

Singer/songwriter Nelly Furtado heavily credits her ethnic background and childhood for spawning her creativity as a female and as an inspiring musician. Born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Furtado's working-class parents, who are of Portuguese descent, instilled a hardcore work ethic during her upbringing. She spent eight summers working as a chambermaid with her housekeeping mother, quickly realizing what it meant to work for a living.
She turned to music for enjoyment, learning to play the guitar and the ukulele, and listened to mainstream R&B like Mariah Carey, TLC, Jodeci, Salt-N-Pepa, and Bell Biv DeVoe. Later, she delved into her older brother's collection of Radiohead, Pulp, Oasis, Portishead, the Verve, and U2, pushing Furtado to fully embrace different musical genres, specifically Brazilian music and material by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Amalia Rodrigues. Hip-hop was also a big catalyst in shaping Furtado's musical appreciation. After high school, she headed to Toronto where she worked at an alarm company by day and experienced the music scene by night. She joined a hip-hop duo, Nelstar, and this opportunity led Furtado back to her hip-hop influences of De La Soul and Digable Planets. This allowed her to get comfortable with writing her own melodies and freestyle rhymes.
When Furtado started cutting loose at a local Toronto club during the week, her musical aspirations began to swirl. Brian West and Gerald Eaton, of Canadian funk-pop group the Philosopher Kings, were instantly impressed by her strong sense of performing and asked to produce her demo. During those sessions, Furtado created some of the moving work that landed on her debut for Dreamworks, Whoa, Nelly!, released in fall 2000. A headlining tour of the U.S. in spring 2001 sparked more interest from fans and critics, and a spot on Moby's Area:One summer tour allowed singles "I'm Like a Bird" and "Turn Off the Light" to receive bigger praise. Furtado's greatest achievement followed a year later when she earned four Grammy nods, including Song of the Year for "I'm Like a Bird."
Folklore appeared in November 2003, nearly two months after Furtado gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Nevis. The record was a general disappointment, failing to capitalize on the success of her previous work. She didn't return to limelight until summer 2006, with her third record, Loose. Produced almost entirely by Timbaland and boasting a much more appealing and timely style, the album earned significant attention, putting Furtado's career back on the fast track. Lead track "Promiscuous" became an instant hit, earning her a number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Loose also topped the Billboard Top 200 album chart during its first week of release in later June 2006, becoming Furtado's first-ever number one album.

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