6 Inspiring Ways to Celebrate Black History Month Across Canada

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While Black excellence should be celebrated every day, Black History Month is still an important opportunity to applaud the achievements and legacy of Black individuals past and present – from supporting Black‑owned businesses and non‑profit organizations to reading literature by Black authors and learning about Black heroes.

Celebrating may look different during a global pandemic, but now it’s easier than ever to join virtual experiences taking place across Canada. Scroll through our list of Black History Month events happening across the country in February.

February 1, 2021
A man with eyes closed and face raised from the film Dope is Death
   Photo: GAT PR
  1. Toronto Black Film Festival —

    The ninth edition of the Toronto Black Film Festival, whose mission is to amplify Black voices through diverse storytelling on the big screen, takes place February 10 to 21. This year’s lineup includes Shaquille O’Neal, Danny Glover, Alexandria Ocasio‑Cortez and Alice Walker among other powerhouses. Be sure to catch the closing night film Dope is Death, a documentary following Dr. Mutulu Shakur, stepfather of the legendary rap icon Tupac Shakur.

Multiple works of art hanging on the walls for the Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting Art Auction
  1. Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting Art Auction —

    If you’re looking for a new piece of art, look no further than Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting’s Black History Month art auction. For sale are both consigned pieces – created by Black artists and celebrating Black subjects – and work by artists from a variety of backgrounds sold to benefit charity. A minimum of 70 percent of the proceeds from the charitable pieces sold will be donated to the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum. The auction takes place from January 28 to February 20.

A man playing a traditional African instrument for Issamba
  1. Issamba, a Journey Through African Rooted Rhythms —

    Immerse yourself in the spellbinding beauty of African music through an interactive 90‑minute show filled with dance, African instruments and traditional songs. The February 20 performance stars Merlin Bleriot Nyakam, a dancer, singer, actor and choreographer who has performed on Angélique Kidjo’s Fifa world tour, along with other renowned African‑born artists.

Prof. Debra Thompson standing outside on a summer day
   Photo: Debra Thompson, McGill
  1. The Great White North: Race and Reckoning in Canada —

    Does Canada actually differ from the United States when it comes to our foundational ideas and narratives surrounding anti‑Black racism? Join Prof. Debra Thompson, PhD, on February 18 at 4 p.m. EST as she hosts a lecture and Q&A on this issue. Her discussion will challenge Canada’s national identity and whether our distinction between ourselves and Americans holds true by drawing on personal, analytical and political insights.

A sign for the Halifax Black Film Festival
  1. Halifax Black Film Festival —

    For anyone looking to catch an inspiring flick or two, the fifth annual Halifax Black Film Festival is celebrating Black History Month by promoting films that depict the Black experience. Taking place from February 23 to 28, screenings will showcase a unique array of perspectives and voices in cinema.

A performer from 21 Black Futures
   Photo: CBC and Obsidian Theatre
  1. 21 Black Futures —

    Toronto’s Obsidian Theatre Company, which is dedicated to the expression of the Black voice, commissioned 21 Black playwrights to write a short piece envisioning “the future of Blackness.” Each “monodrama” stars a Black actor and was directed by a Black director. It will premiere on CBC Gem in three parts on February 12, 19 and 26.