toronto black film, black history month

Black History Month in Toronto

Black History Month is a celebration of blackness, and an acknowledgement of the histories that have informed, fed, and nourished Canada. With each February comes a crop of new events throughout Toronto. They are all focused on black artist and thinkers whose work, individually, contains a profound vibrancy, and a multifaceted-ness that continues to provide depth to the legacy of Black Canadians.

While Black History Month is an exciting time, with an abundance of exciting events and carefully curated, distinctly Canadian, and wonderfully unfurling launches of fantastic books and palpating festivals, the wealth of opportunities can make for some difficult decisions and unfortunate omissions. So, while your Facebook feeds begin to fill with invites, make sure you keep track of the ones you absolutely do not want to miss.

A great place to start is with Harbourfront Center. Each year, the space is used for the Kuumba Festival, which showcases an impressive array of events and talents ranging from music, to comedy, and, of course, family friendly events. The event goes for three days and is an impressive, vivacious celebration of Black Canadian talent. This year’s theme is “Black Like We”, and the festival will go from the 5th to the 7th. Whether you’re a filmmaker, a singer, or a painter, the variety the program offers will appeal to you.

The City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry, and Recreation Division is hosting a poster series called The Contributions of African Canadians. The poster series seeks to capture the key Canadians who have made significant achievement in Canadian history. The posters will be showcased first at the North York Civic Center from January 27th to February 3rd, then at the Scarborough Civic Centre from February 10th to the 17th, and finally conclude at City Hall from February 24th to March 2nd.

The City of Toronto has also launched the Mayor’s Black History Month Creative Writing Contest. The contest, which is open to young writers ages 11 to 17, is themed around famous black Canadians who have made distinct contributions to Canadian society. The contest winners will have their work published on the City of Toronto’s site and will present their work at a reception held on February 23rd.

Since February’s event list is extensive, On The Danforth encourages you to check out the various programs going on in your own neighbourhood. From the downtown core, to North York, and our very own Danforth, Black History Month celebrations will likely be taking place at school and public libraries near you. Take the time to ask your local librarian about events and showcases. A great resource is the Facebook page for A Different Booklist, which is Toronto’s only independent, black owned bookstore, for various types of programming taking place throughout February. Universities such as Ryerson, the University of Toronto, OCAD, and York are also hosting various events that are open to the public. Other hosts include Supafrik, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, which is hosting the much-anticipated Black Film Festival from February 10th to the 14th.

While we try to give you the most in depth information on this exciting month of literature, music, and the arts, it seems like we’ve only scratched the surface.

Happy Black History Month!

Photo Courtesy of the Toronto Black Film Festival.

Oubah is a writer and a Beyonce fan from Toronto. She is the General Editor of On The Danforth’s summer edition. You can find her on instagram. You can also find her IRL at a Different Booklist.

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