Toronto History

Black History Month

Each year, the City of Toronto is proud to support events and exhibits scheduled for Black History Month, inviting members of the public to explore and celebrate the heritage, traditions and culture of African-Canadians.

Women in front of YWCA's Ontario House, 698 Ontario Street - ca. 1912 Photographer: William James City of Toronto Archives - Fonds 1244, Item 71.22

Black History Month began in the United States as "Negro History Week" in February 1926, through the work of African American scholar Dr. Carter G. Woodson. His aim was to raise awareness and understanding in the school curriculum of the African experience around the world. The United States began to formally celebrate Black History Month in the 1960s. Through community activities, organizers sought to present a more balanced and accurate picture of Black history.

City of Toronto proclamations:

  • Black History Month
  • Bob Marley Day

In the 1950s, community organizations such as the Canadian Negro Women's Association began to celebrate the importance of the history of the black community in Toronto. In 1979, Toronto became the first municipality in Canada to proclaim Black History Month through efforts of many individuals and organizations such as the Ontario Black History Society. In 1995, Toronto Area MP Jean Augustine introduced a motion which was passed unanimously by the House of Commons to recognise Black History Month across Canada.

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

Exhibits

Black History Month

Journey to the Present

Journey to the Present traces the history of peoples of African descent. This comprehensive exhibit consists of nine components, each focusing on a different era

Poster Series