Each February, the City of Toronto is proud to produce and support events and exhibits during Black History Month, inviting the public to explore and celebrate the heritage, traditions and culture of Black Canadians.

In 1979, Toronto became the first municipality in Canada to proclaim Black History Month through the efforts of many individuals and organizations such as the Ontario Black History Society.

Black History Month is an opportunity for the City of Toronto to recognize the contributions that Black Canadians make to the life of Toronto in such areas as education, medicine, art, culture, public service, economic development, politics and human rights.

The City annually marks Black History Month and works continually throughout the year on the goals defined by the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, which was endorsed by City Council in 2017.

Below are 2024 City of Toronto events and activities. All exhibits and events are free unless noted. Also, check out the community events calendar.

Black Defenders of Upper Canada tours

February 1 to 29, hourly during opening hours

Join a tour of Fort York National Historic Site to discover the contributions made by Richard Pierpoint and the Coloured Corps during the War of 1812 and learn about connections to the African Diaspora through ingredients used in the historic kitchen. Learn more.

Print Mary Ann Shadd Cary’s newspaper

February 1 to 29 during opening hours

Visit Mackenzie House for a tribute to the life and work of Mary Ann Shadd Cary, the first Black woman to publish a newspaper in North America. Print a copy of her newspaper, The Provincial Freeman, on the historic press and customize it with your own name. Learn more.

Toronto Public Library events

Browse upcoming events at numerous library branches in celebration of Black History Month. Some events require advanced registration.

Wawa Aba & Dane Dane – Building Black Civilizations: Journey of 2000 Ships

On view until December 15

Explore Ekow Nimako Studios’ exhibition at the Clark Centre for the Arts which includes an expansive reimagining of the mysterious sea voyage of Mansa Abu Bakr II, the visionary ninth ruler of the medieval empire of Mali, using over 500,000 black LEGO® elements.

Black Frequency

On view from February 3 to 28

Immerse yourself through storytelling, art and sound in an exhibition at Clark Centre for the Arts curated by Monique Armstrong, Founder of B. Emerging Creatives Canada. Focus on black history, inclusion and progress through the perspective of a first generation Canadian. Learn more.

Why?

On view from February 10 to March 24

Come to Todmorden Mills to experience Why?, an art exhibit by award-winning Hip Hop and R&B producer Matthew Burnett, showcasing his creative musical journey, delving into the essence of Black music and belonging. Learn more.

Eglinton West Growth and Transformation

Explore this stretch of Eglinton West from Bathurst Street to Dufferin Street – home to Little Jamaica – which has developed quickly over the past century and continues to transform. View the tour.

Arts in Oakwood

Take in the area and landmarks of Oakwood Village, a neighborhood just south of Little Jamaica and known for its Caribbean, Portuguese and Italian communities. View the tour.

Public Art & Parks Honouring Black Figures

Joshua Glover Park & sculpture of Joshua Glover Step Forward into History by Quentin Vercetty

Hubbard Park

Jean Augustine Park

Rita Cox Park

Herbert H. Carnegie Centennial Centre

Angela James Arena

Stanley G. Grizzle Park

Randy Padmore Park

Len Braithwaite Park

Viola Desmond Park

Online Exhibits & Stories

Explore Caribbean Connection: One Man’s Crusade, an exhibit looking at Donald Moore, a community leader and civil rights activist who fought to change Canada’s exclusionary immigration laws.

Read about some incredible women – like Salome Bey and Mary Ann Shadd Cary – who have made important contributions to Toronto’s history.

Dive deeper into to the life and work of Mary Ann Shadd Cary, the first Black woman to publish a newspaper in North America and her influence on Black journalism.

Black History Month YouTube Playlists

Watch videos created by Black artists for Toronto History Museums.

Watch Black firefighters speak candidly about Black History Month and their experiences in the Toronto Fire Services.

Social Media

Social media users can follow the following City accounts for images and stories of significant Black figures to celebrate #BlackHistoryMonth:

Resources

Discover history through archival evidence of the Black population in the City Archives.

See milestones in Canadian Black history.

Learn about Dr. Rita Cox and the Rita Cox Black and Caribbean Heritage Collection at Toronto Public Library. 

Bookshelf

Browse lists of fiction and non-fiction ebooks available through the Toronto Public Library on OverDrive:

Online Museum Shop

Explore unique items from the Museum shop that celebrate Black culture and significant Black figures in history.

WHEREAS in 1979, the City of Toronto was the first municipality in Canada to proclaim Black History Month, formally recognizing the significant role Black Canadians have played in building and shaping the socioeconomic, political, and cultural fabric of our city.

Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate the history, culture, contributions, and achievements that Black Canadians have made to our city and country. This month is also a time to recognize our shared responsibility in standing up against systemic anti-Black racism, reaffirming our commitment to being allies who promote equal rights, opportunities, and equity for Black communities. By learning about historic discrimination and marginalization faced by Black Canadians, we can have a greater understanding of how best to address and eliminate systemic anti-Black racism and oppression.

Through the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism – developed and implemented by the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism (CABR) unit –advancements have been made towards eliminating institutional barriers for Black residents. Through the Action Plan, the City continually strives to develop a culture that values inclusion, opposes racism and discrimination of all kinds, and prioritizes the well-being and advancement of Black Torontonians.

This effort coincides with the United Nations’ declaration of the International Decade for People of African Descent from 2015 – 2024. Now in its final year, the International Decade for People of African Descent encourages the global community to recognize people of African descent as a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected. Recognizing that more work needs to be done, the City of Toronto remains committed to ensuring that its policies, programs, and services are free from anti-Black racism and discrimination.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mayor Olivia Chow, on behalf of Toronto City Council, do hereby proclaim February 2024 as “Black History Month” in the City of Toronto.

Olivia Chow
Mayor of Toronto