Author: Stephen Weir | Date: 24 January 2019
It’s not a big secret – Toronto is about to become the epicentre for the country’s most important Black History events this February. At a press conference on Tuesday, January 22nd, Black History Month organizers and key officials from the Toronto Dominion (TD) Bank unveiled a record number of 90+ different February events that will occur for the most part in the GTA.
The presser was held at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre on Bathurst Street. It was a full-house with radio, television and print journalist on hand to learn about all-things-Black beginning next week.
Music. Fashion. History. Food. Performance. There is a mammoth formal gala, crazy good concerts and small unique happenings for 28 days in a row. It all begins next Tuesday – yes in January – at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre when the Ontario Black History Society stages a brunch for 700 people to witness keynote presentations and entertainment, focusing on the evolving story of Black Canadians.
After the formalities end the fun really begins. The Kuumba Festival runs for 3-days at Harbourfront featuring the work of photographers, filmmakers and community leaders from Canada, the Americas and the UK.
Also happening on February 1st is an art show opening and launch at the Uber-cool Gladstone. The hotel is hosting How Does it Feel – a multi-media exploration of the diverse forms of Black Love in the community.
The downtown Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) is screening award-winning films throughout the month. The annual festival has teamed up for the first time with local chefs to create the TBFF Food Experience, a showcase of delicious cuisine from the rich and diverse community.
“Our history of genuine support for the Black Community and--Black History Month over the last 11 years truly embodies what (the bank is all about)” said TD’s National Manager, Al Ramsay. “Our Black History Month celebrations have grown since then, extending through multiple partnerships. We have over 90 programmes and events.”
“This year we are investing over $1.5 million in Canada's Black History Month events and initiatives to celebrate our diversity, creativity resilience, and achievement,” he continued. “This is indeed one of the largest if not the largest Black History Month celebration in Canada.”
With that funding Toronto continues to honour its culture in a many very cool ways throughout Black History Month. There is a show at the Reference Library that explores the hip-hop culture. Tribute to the Legend of Reggae: Into The Dancehall is a live February 16th show at the Rose Theatre in Brampton featuring well-known Jamaican performers.
Also in Brampton? On the 24th the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives is launching a photography exhibition that first showed in Washington DC as part of the opening of the African Art Museum. North is Freedom by Yuri Dojc and presented by the Ontario Black History Society celebrates in pictures the descendants of freedom-seekers who escaped slavery in the United States
The Big events include the TD Black Diamond Ball at the Royal York Hotel and William Franklyn’s Leathers in Concert at the Aga Khan Museum.
The Tuesday presser was not a typical boring cavalcade of talking ends. This was a media event that included a hot dance duet and a mini-fashion show right through the middle of the camera bay highlighted how the month is going to sparkle and amaze!
Learn more about the community, inclusive grassroots efforts and Toronto’s notable history during Black History Month by checking out the TD website with a detailed event listing