Portia White sings "Think on Me"

In the 1940s contralto Portia May White was celebrated as Canada’s singing sensation.

Produced by Kate Jaimet

Posted November 8, 2021

Born in Truro, Nova Scotia, in 1911, Portia May White became an international singing sensation in the 1940s with her rich contralto voice. But her career was short-lived due to management difficulties and ill health. Although she never made a commercial recording, some of her practice sessions were recorded backstage.

A selection of those tracks, digitized by the National Archives of Canada, was released by her family on CD in the early 2000s. In this video, White performs her signature song, “Think on Me.”

You can read a full length article about Portia White’s life, written by filmmaker Sylvia D. Hamilton, in the December 2021-January 2021 issue of Canada’s History. You can also find this issue on your local newsstands!

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