Nancy Fernandes

Saudade Toronto | Toronto, Canada | @saudadetoronto 

Message Nancy Inspired | Saudade {Portuguese}

Where we met:

At a dinner party in Lisbon, Portugal.

How this meeting changed my life.

After connecting over a few glasses of wine, exchanging stories about our shared work in education, Nancy asked me: What do you want to do with your life Tara, what is your dream? I responded: To create greeting cards, tell stories, and help people feel connected. She said: Show me the cards. I was embarrassed as I didn't have any physical cards. She realized this and quickly said: No, I know you don't have the cards, show me the messages. I know you have them (on your phone). And I did. She loved them and said:

If you make them, I will buy them. And so I did. 

Can you tell us about your stores and what this word, Saudade means to you?

I'm a daughter of immigrants. I spent all my summers in Portugal. My parents met in Toronto – My dad was from the north and my mom was from the south, so I traveled throughout the country. Usually that doesn't happen because the immigration pattern is parents are often from the same neighborhood or have met in Portugal and go together to wherever they are immigrating to.

Because of this, all of my summers were so special to me. The landscape of Alentejo has defined my soul – the people, the beauty… This small country is so diverse in such incredible ways. Regardless of where I am, in every conversation I've had there is kindness. And you know, being the daughter of immigrants I felt so much saudade, a sentimental yearning for a former person, place, or time. And I missed, I missed my family.

Over the years, as I traveled back and forth between Portugal and Toronto, people shared how much they loved [the tableware, the home décor, the food, the fashion, and so much more]. I wanted to share these specialty items with Toronto and [this is how Saudade Toronto was born]. 

I own two shops, one in Little Portugal, Toronto, and another at a new location in Union Station.

They are my love letter to Portugal.

We sell goods celebrating Portuguese design and artisanal traditions. It is a project of passion that showcases the amazing creations, both traditional and innovative of Portugal.

How do you want to beknown?

I want people and their stories and traditions to be valued. And the importance of equity and social justice.

An example of this is in showcasing Portugal’s artisans, the beauty in their design, in an immigrant community, in a country (Canada), where people may not be aware. So, for me, it's layered. I want people to be respected and valued, for their art to be valued, because it's how we communicate. Culture is about celebrating.

What Nancy left me with…

Words are really impactful and when I read your messages, I thought they were poetry.

{After telling Nancy she changed the course of my life, by inspiring me to start my company.} I think that you changed the course of your life. I was just lucky to be on the journey. I remember when I first ordered the cards, and how [my customers] reacted to them; it was a feeling of connection.

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