Must-see Black History Month events in Toronto

January 24, 2017

By Jenn Reid

February is Black History Month across Canada and the U.S., a celebration of the Black community and its place in our countries. Toronto is a multicultural city committed to diversity, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of ways to observe, celebrate and learn about Black history all month long. [Image credit: Malcolm X courtesy of Warner Bros].

Must-see Black History Month events in Toronto

Free Kuumba Festival

Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre has the longest-running Black History Month celebration in Canada, the free Kuumba Festival! The event has been an annual thing for more than 20 years, and for 2017 it's expanding into two weekends. On February 3 to 4 and 10 to 11 check out musical performances, workshops, family events, stand-up comedy and even a skating party.

Rhubarb Festival

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s annual festival of experimental theatre and performance art features the first Toronto performance of Black Lives, Black Words. You can check out the play February 24 and 25, which consists of a series of ten-minute stories from local Black playwrights and authors exploring their lives and experiences.

Friday Night Live at the ROM

The Royal Ontario Museums Friday night party is going to be an Afro Fête! February 3, enjoy reggae music from artists Exco Levi and High Priest, snack on East African food in the Afro lounge and tour the ROM exhibit Art, Honour, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana.

Photography at Ryerson Image Centre

The Ryerson Image Centre has dedicated its entire block of winter programming to photography exhibits about historical and present-day struggles for justice within the Black community. In collaboration with the Black Artist's Networks Dialogue, the exhibit displays of photos from 1963 Alabama, 1971 New York and present-day protests in Toronto.

Toronto Black Film Festival

Carlton Cinema hosts the Toronto Black Film Festival from February 15 to 19. Films at this year’s fest include a documentary about historically Black universities in the U.S., a series of short films, a Master Class session with international filmmakers and more.

Viola Desmond Lecture

Nova Scotian Viola Desmond was recently chosen to be the first Canadian woman to appear on our money, and you can learn all about her life and accomplishments at the Danforth/Coxwell Library February 15, with speaker Andrea Scott.

Nyam: An Afro Culinary Experience

The Dylan Bar on the Danforth hosts a one night only pop-up dining experience that highlights the history of Black food. Chef Teneile Warren creates a three-course meal that blends African, Jamaican and Canadian cuisine. Make sure to grab tickets in advance to this dinner happening February 13.

Measha Brueggergosman: Songs of Freedom

Award-winning Canadian singer Measha Brueggergosman takes to the Harbourfront Centre stage February 12 for a special performance of her new album, Songs of Freedom. The record is a look at Brueggergosman’s spirituality, Christian faith and Cameroonian heritage.

Whether you want to celebrate through learning and education, dancing, listening to music, or expanding your palate to include delicious African cuisine, these Toronto events give you the chance to enjoy Black History Month to the fullest.

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