TESSEL: A Community Conversation at Kuumba. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Spotlight on Black History and Black Futures in Ontario

January 30, 2023

This February, honour and recognize the diversity and contributions of Black communities across Ontario with these Black History and Black Futures events. From historical exhibits to forward-looking celebrations, these events offer a glimpse into the past and a vision for the future.


A rehearsal of The Story of Samuel Stout. Photo by Nawal Salim

Durham

Durham Region’s Together We Rise Durham: Excellence Through the Arts event will feature keynote speaker Cameron Bailey (CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival), plus live music, artistic displays, networking, and more.

Theatre on the Ridge will present a staged reading of 2022 Creative in Residence Uju Umenyi’s play about Samuel Stout, Port Perry’s first Black resident. The play will explore hidden stories, unpacking the ways history is written and erased, and seeks to share Stout’s experience of racism in a small town in Ontario. Read more about Umenyi’s work.


Clef Notes to Canvas. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton.

Halton Hills

The Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton’s Black History Month events will include a showcase of Afrocentric art and artifacts, opportunities to learn about the Underground Railroad, and an interactive art session called Clef Notes to Canvas, facilitated by local artist Omar ”Oms” Hopkinson.


Ottawa

Experience the award-winning tragicomedy Is God Is, about twin sisters on a quest for peace and revenge. The play will be presented by National Arts Centre from February 9-18, is produced by Obsidian Theatre, Necessary Angel, and Canadian Stage, and is curated by Black Theatre Workshop.


Owen Sound Potters Field Memorial. Photo by Luke Den Tandt.

Owen Sound

Erasing Erasure, a presentation at the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre, will shed light on the efforts that led to the recognition of over 1,200 individuals buried in unmarked graves in Owen Sound’s Potter’s Field, many of whom were fleeing slavery in the US and who faced systemic racism in Canada.


Sean Jones at Kuumba. Photo be Anna Keenan.

Toronto

Kuumba, Toronto’s largest Black Futures Month celebration, features a variety of dance, music, workshops and literary events that put the spotlight on contemporary artists and thought leaders from the Afro-diaspora in Canada.

The AGO will host a series of events including a marketplace in partnership with Black Owned Toronto,  a family-friendly read aloud with storyteller Valene Campbell, artist talks, music by Molly Johnson and more.

Toronto Black Film Festival an annual film festival held in February each year as part of Black History Month will feature a selection of African, Caribbean, African American and Black Canadian films.

These Are My Reparations, conceptualized by Kim Ninkuru, and produced in partnership with Xpace Cultural Center, Charles Street Video, Wildseed Center for Art and Activism, and InterAccess, is a sci-fi, multi-media installation taking place at various locations across Toronto. The project addresses the way in which Black feminine people are taken, used and distorted for mass consumption.


Sault Ste. Marie

​​The African Caribbean Canadian Association of Northern Ontario is hosting its annual dinner on February 25th at the Bushplane Heritage Museum as part of their Black History Month celebration to honour and acknowledge the important role that Black people have played in shaping the cultural landscape of Canada.


The Amherstburg Freedom Museum. Photo courtesy of The Amherstburg Freedom Museum.

Windsor

Windsor-Essex Black History Month events will take place at locations across Windsor and will include Black history highlights, art exhibits, a featured talk with author Desmond Cole, and a musical performance by the Windsor Symphony Orchestra at the Capitol Theatre.


Plus:

Want to learn more about Black history in Ontario? Our Windsor and Owen Sound ON Culture Guides have your 2 and 3 day self-guided itineraries at the ready.

Black creativity happens year-round. Read Glodeane Brown’s interview with three Black creatives on Investing in Black Futures.