Tonya Sutherland-Stewart

“Savouring the Past: Exploring Food and Freedom”
Picnic and artist talk

Saturday September 24, 2022
Art Windsor-Essex
401 Riverside Dr W. Windsor, ON

3:00pm – 5:00pm

National SiteEventbrite


Over the past year, Tonya has gone through the process of conducting research to better understand the important role food played in Windsor’s Emancipation Day celebrations. This has involved going through archival records, studying academic sources that discuss food history in Canada, and interviewing someone who participated in the festivities. During Tonya’s ONCD event, she will be giving a talk to share how these different paths of knowledge taught led her to better understand the foods of Emancipation Day, and the impact that they had on Windsor’s community. In addition to her talk and a brief Q&A, she will invite the audience to experience some of the spirit of the celebrations by sharing a meal and enjoying musical performances together. Attendees will receive a free sample of some of the barbeque foods that would have been served at the celebrations (e.g. ribs, chicken, baked beans); they may also bring their own picnics, or purchase food from vendors that will be onsite.


Artist’s bio:
An emerging heritage professional with a background in English and History, Tonya Sutherland is a Toronto-based recent graduate of the Master of Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto. She has worked on archival projects at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre, and the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. Tonya first became curious about Black Canadian history when she realized that, despite being a Black Canadian and majoring in history during university, she knew very little about the history of Black communities in Canada. For her Master’s capstone project, Tonya conducted a feasibility study for the development of a digital archive for the Jackson Park Project, which is a multi-platform not-for-profit created to explore, memorialize, and celebrate the history of the Emancipation Day celebrations that took place in Windsor, Ontario.

Partner bio:

Art Windsor-Essex (AWE) (formerly known as the Art Gallery of Windsor) is a not-for-profit art institute in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Established in 1943, the gallery has a mandate as a public art space to show significant works of art by local, regional, and national artists. Art Windsor-Essex has created, collected, presented, and conserved a collections of Canadian art, and is one of Windsor’s most notable cultural reserves.

Back to Creatives in Residence


Exploring Food and Freedom with Tonya Sutherland-Stewart

In the mid-twentieth century, Windsor hosted Emancipation Day parades and celebrations that would span several days.

Meet the Creatives: Stories Rooted in Food

Food is a universal resource. It brings everyone to the table, literally and figuratively. For Ontario Culture Days’ 2022 Creatives in Residence program, food is the second theme our artists are responding to.

Call for Musicians: The Jackson Park Project, in partnership with Ontario Culture Days, is seeking musical performers for a public event in Windsor, ON.

The event will teach about the food history that surrounded the Windsor Emancipation Day celebrations from the 1930s to 1960s, and evoke the atmosphere of those celebrations with food and musical performances. Musical performers working in a style fitting the time period (for example, jazz, soul or gospel) are encouraged to apply.

For information and to apply, please contact Noor Khan at

Artistic programs are made possible thanks to support from Canadian Heritage, the Province of Ontario, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Toronto Arts Council.