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Mayor John Tory proclaims February as Black History Month as City celebrates with in-person events across Toronto

Arshad Khan

On 1st Februaty, Mayor John Tory will again proclaim February as Black History Month in Toronto, recognizing the history, heritage and contributions of Black Canadians.

The City of Toronto is proud to celebrate Black History Month through the production and support of numerous events and activities across the city. This year, the City is happy to once again safely offer in-person events following a two-year pivot to virtual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From musical performances and exhibits featuring Toronto artists, to book readings and film screenings, the City is providing opportunities for all ages.

Black History Month is an opportunity for the City to recognize the past and present positive contributions Black Canadians make to life in Toronto. In Toronto and beyond, Black Canadians have made important contributions to education, medicine, art, culture, public service, economic development, politics and human rights.

More information on the City’s Black History Month events and activities can be found on the City’s Black History webpage.

All City Black History Month exhibits and events are free for the public to experience.

Black Women in Leadership photo exhibit

The Toronto Archives, in partnership with the Black Artists’ Networks in Dialogue Gallery and Cultural Centre (BAND), presents the Black Women in Leadership photography exhibition featuring portraits of 40 Black women leaders by four Toronto-based visual artists.

On display until August 2023, the exhibit celebrates and highlights Black leaders across various sectors who have led and continue to inspire change in their communities while paving the way for the next generation of leaders through community involvement and advocacy.

Black and white photography collage of women featured in the Black Women in Leadership exhibit at the Toronto Archives.
The Black Women in Leadership exhibit at the Toronto Archives will be on display until August. Photos by Janice Reid, Leyla Jeyte, Jon Blak, and Patricia Ellah.

“Did you know?” poster series of notable Black Canadians

The poster series “Did you know?” will be displayed again at City outdoor ice rinks, the Earl Bales Ski and Snowboard Centre and open City golf courses. The posters, painted by local youth artists, feature captivating illustrations of notable Black figures and their contributions.

Outdoor skating events and entrepreneur market

Afternoon skating will take place at Nathan Phillips Square on Monday, February 6 (for Bob Marley Day) and at the Harry Gairey outdoor rink on Saturday, February 11 to provide a space for residents to celebrate the month with skating.

Entrepreneur market

A Black Entrepreneurs Market will take place at the Centennial Park Ski Chalet on the evening of Friday, February 24 and during the day on Saturday, February 25.

Exhibits and screenings at Toronto Cultural Centres and Galleries

The Clark Centre for the Arts is presenting exhibits by Toronto artists Dionne Simpson and Charmaine Lurch and hosting a film screening and talk with director Alicia K. Harris.

The Etobicoke Civic Centre Art Gallery exhibit “A Glimpse of Black Life in Victorian Toronto” recognizes how Black residents have enriched the city while artfully exploring prejudices imposed upon Black individuals in the 1800s.

Celebrating Black authors at Toronto Public Library

Featured Black History Month events include readings and conversations with author Andrew Hunter about his book It Was Dark There All The Time: Sophia Burthen and the Legacy of Slavery in Canada at three locations during the month. Ron Nelson will also reminisce and speak about the 40th anniversary of the start of his influential Toronto hip-hop radio program Fantastic Voyage on Monday, February 6.

Libraries celebrate black history year-round with events and programs that honour Black heritage and consider the historical significance and contemporary contributions of Black activists and artists worldwide.

Honouring Black Freedom at select Toronto History Museums

The City’s museums will deliver a free event series in February that will honour Black Freedom through music, culture and storytelling that will uplift and warm the soul of those who experience it. Programming will be hosted at Spadina Museum (285 Spadina Rd.), Mackenzie House (82 Bond St.) and Todmorden Mills (67 Pottery Rd.). The Dis/Mantle immersive afro future reimagining of the Spadina Museum exhibition will continue until May 28. Entry to Toronto History Museums is now permanently free.

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