Every February, Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month events, exhibits, and festivities that celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians, past and present.
As new Canadian citizens, I invite you to explore the rich history of Black Canadians this month! Take advantage of free admission through Canoo to visit a museum (such as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg or the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa) or a historic site to learn about the history of Black Canadians. For instance, did you know that Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site in Dresden, ON sits on part of the original property purchased in 1841 to establish a refuge for those escaping slavery in the United States?
There are also a variety of exhibits and events happening for Black History Month. Check out the new art exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires; a free jazz concert at Belfry Theatre in Victoria; a talk at Hart House in Toronto, The (in)Visible Black Woman; the Black History Month Expo at Aberdeen Pavilion in Ottawa; and more (see below!).
No matter where you are in Canada, there are festivities, exhibits, and resources you can access to celebrate Black History Month!
Happy Black History Month!
Anja, Canoo’s Membership Officer
1. Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site (Dresden, ON)
2. Canadian Museum of History (Ottawa, ON)
3. Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Winnipeg, MB)
4. Canadian Military Museum (Ottawa, ON)
5. Museum of Anthropology (Vancouver, BC)
6. Aga Khan Museum (Toronto, ON)
Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires at the AGO
The new exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires, upends and overturns familiar representations and monolithic notions of Black women today. Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires is the first large-scale solo exhibition by this African-American contemporary artist to be staged in Canada. It will spark timely and urgent conversations about race, representational politics, Black celebrity culture, and sexuality. See it for free with your Canoo app! Learn more here.
Black History Month Jazz Concert
Enjoy an evening of music at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, BC, on February 17. Classic Jazz and Blues and the Sweet Notes In Between will feature jazz, blues, gospel, and soul by two great bands. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission by donation. Find out more: www.belfry.bc.ca/news/black-history-month-concert/
Black History Month Expo in Ottawa
Join Black History Ottawa (BHO) for the Black History Month Expo at Aberdeen Pavilion (1000 Exhibition Way, Ottawa) now until February 4, 2020. Admission is free! The Black History Month Expo features exhibits and activities recognizing the Black Canadian experience. The exhibits include The International African Inventors Museum exhibit, which showcases innovators of African descent from across the diaspora; The Black Canadians In Sports exhibit, which highlights the accomplishments of Black Canadian athletes; and The Mobile Museum on Black Hockey History exhibit, which presents 200 years of hockey achievements using various displays.
The (in)Visible Black Woman at Hart House
It’s a peculiar sensation to be visible and invisible at the same time. As a Black woman, particularly within higher education, the idea of being both visible and invisible is a major reality. Dr. LaToya Brackett is no exception to this experience. In this talk at Hart House in Toronto on February 11, 2020, she will share her personal stories while discussing the complexities of how whiteness can be present even in black spaces. Small registration fee required for non-students. Learn more and register here.
5 Artists 1 Love Exhibition Launch at the AGA
In celebration of Black History Month, join 5 Artists 1 Love for the free exhibition launch on February 8, 2020 at the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) in Edmonton. The Art Showcase brings together five featured African-Canadian artists and features local fare, spoken word, and a special live music “Tiny Desk Series” performance. For more information, please visit the AGA website.
Decolonizing Voices: A Celebration of Canadian Black HERstory at the MOA
On February 6, join the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) in Vancouver for a celebration of the contributions of Black Womxn Canadians with an evening of academic and artistic performances. The night (free with museum admission) features readings and artist talks from artist Adelene da Soul Poet (Bertha Clark); artist, poet and educator Chantal Gibson; and Nya Lewis, founder and director of BlackArt Gastown. Each of these womxn will explore how we can decolonize institutional prejudice and evaluate how colonialism has woven its way into our lives. Learn more here.
Learn more about Black Canadians and their history through Parks Canada
Through Parks Canada’s online resources, you can explore the history of Black Canadians and their contributions to Canada. Learn about notable individuals of significance to Black History Month, such as Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott and his service in the Civil War (African-Canadian Surgeon Helps in U.S. Civil War); jazz pianist and performer Oscar Peterson (Oscar Peterson’s Tribute to Canada); prominent journalist, publisher, broadcaster, and civil rights activist Carrie Best (A Voice for Equal Rights in Nova Scotia); composer and teacher Nathaniel Dett (Listen to R. Nathaniel Dett); and civil rights activist Viola Desmond (Viola Desmond: Movie Night Becomes a Fight for Civil Rights).
Meet Canoo member Shameka and her family. Shameka thinks that cultural places “help people to have a deeper appreciation and understanding of different cultures, [which] leads to persons feeling more connected and comfortable in society.” Learn more about Shameka’s experience with Canoo in the Canoo Spotlight.
Attend a citizenship ceremony this month
The Institute for Canadian Citizenship invites you to attend a citizenship ceremony organized by us; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; and other partners. Every month, we co-host ceremonies across the country in public spaces that you can attend as a guest for free. This month, ceremonies will focus on Black History Month! Join us as a guest at one of our ceremonies:
1. At the YWCA of the National Capital Region in Ottawa, ON on February 12, 2020 at noon
2. At MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB on February 14, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.
3. At Dartmouth High School in Dartmouth, NS on February 19, 2020 at noon
4. At Chateau St. Ambroise in Montreal, QC on Friday, February 21, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.
5. At Mohawk College in Hamilton, ON on February 25, 2020 at 11:30 a.m.
6 Degrees, the global forum for inclusion, heading to Montreal for first time
The inaugural edition of 6 Degrees Montréal will take place on March 30, 2020 at the Museum of Fine Arts. Questions of inclusion and belonging, civic engagement, fighting mis- and disinformation, and strengthening democracy continue to be at the forefront of Canadian political and social conversations. 6 Degrees Montréal 2020 will examine these challenges, empower citizens and community members, and connect Québec to our international coalition. Montréal is a uniquely rich city, providing the opportunity to learn on the ground, explore best practices, and disseminate the knowledge we acquire through our networks worldwide.
The Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) launches Citizen Resilience Project
Digital spaces create unprecedented opportunities for people to connect, but they also allow the spread of false, inflammatory, and even hateful content that can heighten divisions and fuel distrust in public institutions, and each other. The ICC has launched the Citizen Resilience Project to help Canadians be more resilient against these online threats. The project aims to empower Canadians to recognize the threats of false information, to fight against it as informed citizens, and to engage in inclusive, productive discourse. We’ll be sharing more in the coming months. In the meantime, check out our website and join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #CitizenResilience.