Black History Month in Toronto 2014
February is Black History Month in Toronto (and Canada), and there are plenty of Toronto events celebrating and honouring the legacies of black Canadians past and present.
In 1979, Toronto was the first municipality in Canada to officially recognize Black History Month, but it wasn't until 1995 that the House of Commons voted to establish it across the country. Black History Month helps Canadians to remember accomplishments and contributions made by black Canadians, who helped to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate, and prosperous nation it is today. Look at the list below for educational and interactive events that offer insight into the experiences of black Canadians throughout history.
Toronto Black Film Festival / various venues / February 11th to 16th
The 2nd edition of The Toronto Black Film Festival will offer 33 films depicting black realities from around the world. There will also be concerts, panel discussions, exhibits, workshops, conferences and opportunities to meet artists and speakers. Venues include Isabel Bader Theatre, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Carlton Cinema, and the Al Green Theatre, with tickets to the various events running anywhere from free to $249.
Kuumba / Harbourfront Centre / February 7th to 9th
The Kuumba Black History Month celebration will hold three days of music, comedy, dance, film, and family activities showcasing the vitality of Toronto's African and Caribbean communities. There will be a comedy night ($18) to kick off the festival, followed by the DJ'd event Soca on Ice (free), and The Known Unknown concert (free) which presents local musicians on the rise.
Mackenzie House Celebrates Black History Month / Weekends in February
Visit Mackenzie House on weekends in February to take a step back in time. Learn about early black communities in Victorian Toronto, including their publishers and newspaper journalists. They are open for Family Day on February 18th, and regular admission is $7.
Toronto Public Libraries are also holding multiple BHM across the city, including a speaker gala, African drumming tutorials, and historical storytelling. Check them out below.
- Celebrating Black History Gala at Toronto Reference Library - January 31st
- Storytelling with Rita Cox at Parkdale Library - February 1st
- Tracing Your African Heritage in the British West Indies at North York Central Library - February 1st
- Black History Month Celebration: Drumming with Amma Ofori at York Woods Library - February 1st
- Hands-on Drumming with African Drums for Youth at Don Mills Library - February 1st
- Ontario Black History Society's Annual Brunch at Liberty Grand - January 26th
- TIFF Black History Month - February 1st - 23rd
- Building Black at Daniels Spectrum/Artscape - February 1st
- Black History Month Celebration at Ben McNally Books - February 23rd
- MLK Was Here at Hart House - February 12th
- Know Your History Celebration at The Assembly Hall - February 23rd
- Talking Points: A Special Cocktail Reception with Kenneth Montague and Jerome Havre - February 26
Photo by Light Brown Photography / Mark Somerville