News Release
July 30, 2021

Today, Mayor John Tory proclaimed August as Emancipation Month in Toronto and raised the Black Liberation flag at Toronto City Hall. The month is an opportunity to acknowledge the legacy and history of slavery in Canada while celebrating the rich contributions that people of African descent have made to our city and country.

During Emancipation Month, the City recognizes the struggle for human rights for those of African descent and encourages all residents to learn about the significance of the month and participate in programs organized by the City and community partners.

By recognizing Emancipation Month, the City also acknowledges an abhorrent period in history and the importance of the City’s ongoing commitment to eliminate discrimination in all its forms.

Throughout the month, there will be opportunities organized by the City and community partners for residents to be engaged.

The City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit will host its first virtual town hall on Saturday, July 31, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to engage residents with live performances, updates on the unit’s past and future actions from the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism and opportunities for Toronto’s Black communities to comment on this year’s priorities. For more details and registration information, visit the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism page

This morning, the Mayor unveiled a new bronze sculpture by artist, Quentin VerCetty as a memorial to abolitionist figure Joshua Glover. It is located in the park also named for Glover in Etobicoke, just down the road from Montgomery’s Inn where Glover was employed for many years.

On August 1 from 1 to 3 p.m., A Different Booklist Cultural Centre, with support from the City of Toronto, presents Emancipation on Bloor to mark this year’s Emancipation Day. Visual expressions and statements along the Bloor Street Cultural Corridor from Yonge Street to Christie Street will be amplified with artistic animation at key intersections along Bloor at Yonge, Bay, Avenue Road, St. George Street, Spadina Avenue, Brunswick Avenue, Bathurst Street, Palmerston Avenue, and Christie Pits Park.

Toronto History Museums launches new content for the Awakenings program in time for Emancipation Month that includes an augmented reality (AR) art installation; a reimagined contemporary portrait of Mary Ann Shadd, the first Black woman in North America to publish a newspaper; and a film that centres on Emancipation in present day Toronto as an act of remembrance, protest and resiliency. The new Awakenings program for Emancipation Month will launch on August 9 at Toronto History Museums .

Launched today, “Ancestral Uprising” is an augmented reality (AR) art installation by one of the world’s leading Afrofuturists, Quentin VerCetty. The work, recognizing the current Black Lives Matter movement, presents counter monuments expanding the act of democratization and what is made visible in history. Serving as a call to action for the public to create a movement and share the monument, using the hashtag #AncestralUprising #Awakenings @TorontoHistoryMuseums it looks beyond the past to envision the value of Black futures.

This year, Toronto Archives has partnered with the TTC for a new and exciting online and onsite exhibit. To commemorate Emancipation Day, the Archives has created social media posts highlighting the Underground Railroad Freedom Train, a live virtual event hosted by A Different Booklist Cultural Centre at 10:45 p.m. on July 31. The Archives is also sharing a Did You Know? History of Emancipation Day on its Twitter account with a link to its Black History Corner Exhibit partner, the Ontario Black History Society and their virtual event being held on August 1 at 6 p.m. For more information on both events, check the Archives’ Twitter (@TorontoArchives) and Instagram (@toronto_archives) accounts.

To learn more about Emancipation Month in Toronto, visit: Emancipation Month – August 2021

“Through the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, the City has a strong mandate to confront anti-Black racism by making systemic changes in our own organization that impact residents and staff, and encourage organizations and institutions to do the same. Recognizing Emancipation Month is a way to recognize and acknowledge the wrongs that were made in the past to understand how we can do better in the future.”
– Mayor John Tory

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Media Relations