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

Spotlight on Black History and Black Futures in Ontario

January 30, 2023
Several hands posed
TESSEL: A Community Conversation at Kuumba. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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.

Man makes music with a steel pan

Barrie
MacLaren Art Centre celebrates Black History Month with art workshops, virtual tours, and talks. Join a lunch and learn with Debbie Opoku-Mulder, family-friendly activities led by Shanique Brown and Angela Francis, and a presentation and steel pan performance with D’Jango Pan Fyah.

Tow people hold 1 black and white photo together

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.

Man painting long canvas on an easel

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.

Man smiles and poses in front of Harbourfront centre signage

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.

Black memorial tombstone with words "Potter's Field Memorial"

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.

Interior of museum with several artifacts

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.

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.

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.

Vaughan
On February 22nd, attend a free screening of “Steadfast: The Messenger and the Message,” at the City Playhouse Theatre. The film is an autobiography based on the life and achievements of the Honourable Jean Augustine.

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.