Toronto celebrates Black History Month

Mayor John Tory has proclaimed February as Black History Month in the City of Toronto. Many programs and events will be held at historic sites, community centres, libraries and other public spaces throughout the month including exhibits, educational presentations, food tastings and performances.

Free programming and events for adults and children will take place at community recreation centres, including art and poster displays, movie nights, Black history presentations and more. Residents can contact their local recreation centre for details. A map of recreation centres is available at https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/maps/centres/index.html?marker=702.

Mackenzie House presents Black History Month programming every weekend in February from noon to 5 p.m. Members of the public are invited to learn more about the literature and newspapers of the early Black community in Ontario and the Black Victorians of Toronto, including those who published newspapers during that era. Visitors can take home a piece of this important history when they print a souvenir copy of Mary Ann Shadd Cary’s newspaper, The Provincial Freeman, in the re-created 1850’s print shop. The souvenir is included with regular admission.

Mackenzie House will also feature the Archives of Ontario exhibition Enslaved Africans in Upper Canada that focuses on their actions to resist servitude. The exhibit will be on display until Sunday, April 28 and is included with regular admission.

The Empress Walk, in partnership with Toronto History Museums, presents Art ‘n’ Soul: Art & Wellness for Cultural Communities at Fort York on Saturday, February 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants can discover the connection between the arts, health and wellness in Toronto’s cultural communities. The event will feature a panel discussion, workshops and a presentation by Giselle Wilson, founder of The Empress Walk. Admission is free. Registration is required on Eventbrite at http://ow.ly/nJju30nvYAu. More information is available at http://empresswalk.org/.

Toronto Archives invites members of the public to visit two online exhibits – Black History in Toronto, available at http://ow.ly/QfMC30nvYMk and Caribbean Connection: One Man’s Crusade, available at http://ow.ly/9IO830nvYSw. Follow Toronto Archives on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/torontoarchives this month for images celebrating the history of Black Canadians in Toronto.

Foodies can join tastings, workshops and demonstrations that explore how people thrived during Canada’s bitter winters at Hungry for Comfort: A Celebration of Food History on Saturday, February 23, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. In partnership with the Ontario Black History Society, the spotlight is on culinary stories from various Black communities across Canada. Advance tickets are required and include lunch and refreshments: https://fortyork.streamintickets.com/.

A Black Canadians in Sports exhibit from the Ontario Black History Society, showcasing Canadian values, culture and identity, will be on display in the Toronto City Hall Rotunda, 100 Queen St. W. from February 25 to March 1. A Blacks in the Military exhibit will also be on display in the Metro Hall Rotunda, 55 John Street, from February 4 to 7.

Montgomery’s Inn is hosting a Beer Diversity event on Friday, February 22, 7 to 10 p.m. where participants 19 years of age or older can enjoy a cold pint in a legendary 1840s barroom as craft beer expert Ren Navarro discusses diversity in Canada’s beer industry. Advance tickets are required and available at http://montgomerysinn.streamintickets.com.

Toronto Public Library celebrates Black History with a collection of programs and special events that honour Black heritage and consider the historical significance and contemporary contributions of Black activists and artists from around the world. More event details are available at http://www.tpl.ca/blackhistory.

The City of Toronto strives to create and sustain equity in government to serve and reflect all people and is implementing positive change in its workforce and communities to achieve access and realize equitable outcomes for all residents.

The Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, unanimously adopted by Toronto City Council, is being implemented by the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism (CABR) unit to ensure that systemic changes are made to eliminate anti-Black racism in Toronto. More information is available at https://www.toronto.ca/abr.

More information about City of Toronto’s Black History Month activities is available at https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/history-art-culture/black-history-month/.

“Forty years ago, Toronto became the first municipality in Canada to proclaim Black History Month and acknowledge the trials and tribulations of Canadians of African descent or origin whose human rights must be promoted and protected. I encourage all Toronto residents and visitors to consider participating in these cultural activities taking place across the city, learn more and recognize the contributions and achievements of Toronto’s Black community.”
– Mayor John Tory