On Thursday, Mayor Olivia Chow proclaimed February as Black History Month, launching the City of Toronto’s annual celebration of Black Canadians’ heritage, traditions and culture. Read the full proclamation on the City’s webpage: https://www.toronto.ca/city-go
Black History Month recognizes the contributions of Black Canadians to education, medicine, art, culture, public service, economic development, politics, human rights and more in Toronto.
2024 marks 45 years since Toronto became the first municipality in Canada to proclaim Black History Month through the efforts of many individuals and organizations such as the Ontario Black History Society.
In addition to the month-long observance, the City works throughout the year on the goals defined by the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, which was endorsed by City Council in 2017 and responds to the priorities identified by Toronto’s diverse Black communities.
In 2019, the City officially adopted the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, which ends this year. The City has continued to centre and amplify its work through the action plan to align with the three themes of the Decade: Recognition, Development and Justice. Information on the action plan is available on the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism webpage: https://www.toronto.ca/communi
Black History Month 2024 Events and Activities
This year, residents and visitors are invited to participate in a wide range of Black History Month events including storytelling and poetry readings, Black vendors markets, exhibitions, history and art tours and musical performances.
• Exhibit: Print Mary Ann Shadd Cary’s newspaper at Mackenzie House
• Black Money Talk and exhibit: African Diaspora and Histories and World Currencies at Blackhurst Cultural Centre
• Why? – a presentation by Matthew Burnett of his musical journey at Todmorden Mills
• Storytelling and poetry readings with local Black authors in multiple locations
• Ekow Nimako Studios’ exhibition: Wawa Aba and Dane Dane – Building Black Civilizations: Journey of 2000 Ships at Clark Centre for the Arts
• Black Frequency exhibition at Clark Centre for the Arts
• Free community workshops focused on artmaking for Black wellness and stress relief at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre
• Good Vibes Family Day weekend at Todmorden Mills
• Canada Black Music Archive celebration at City of Toronto Archives
• Just Us photographic exhibition showcasing StreetARToronto mural projects at Worth Gallery
• Black Vendors Markets at Ellesmere and Ethennonnhawahstihnen’ Community Centres
A comprehensive list of in-person and online events and activities led by Toronto History Museums, Cultural Centres, Toronto Public Library and community groups – including what to expect and schedules – can be found on the City’s Black History Month webpage: www.toronto.ca/blackhistorymon
“It is an honour to proclaim Black History Month through February in Toronto. This city’s story has been and continues to be written by many Black Canadians from all walks of life. Throughout the year and especially this month, I encourage Torontonians to learn about the history and ongoing contributions of Black changemakers. At the same time, let us also take a moment to acknowledge and stand up against systemic anti-Black racism and oppression, which has absolutely no place in our communities.”
– Mayor Olivia Chow
“During Black History Month, and all year long, I invite Torontonians to explore the many opportunities to learn about and celebrate Black history and contributions of Black leaders in our city. As we mark 45 years of Black History Month in Toronto, I want to recognize the enduring work of the Ontario Black History Society and many others who are committed to remembering, documenting, and honouring Black history.”
– Councillor Alejandra Bravo (Davenport), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee
“Black History Month serves as a crucial juncture for the Black Canadians summed up in one word, ‘Sankofa’. It is a time to reflect on our history, celebrate our remarkable achievements, and to look forward to the opportunities yet untapped. The Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism has been our guiding light in empowering the diverse Black communities across Toronto. It has paved the way for revitalizing public spaces, economic empowerment, facilitating mentorship and safeguarding the well-being and interests of Black people in Toronto. As we celebrate this month, let’s commit to keeping the spirit of ‘Sankofa’ alive and maintain the momentum of this significant work in the days and future years to come.”
– Councillor Chris Moise (Toronto Centre), Chair of the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisory Committee
SOURCE City of Toronto