Words By: Izabela Shubair
Whether you love music, shopping, dance, food and drink, or film, we’ve got you covered with February outings that highlight Black Canadians’ contributions to the country’s cultural diversity.
Curate how you honour and acknowledge the achievements of Black Canadians in ways that really resonate with you. Our round-up of diverse Black History Month events in Toronto leave room for education, entertainment, reflection, and celebration.
If You Love Dance: Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre
When: Feb. 3 and 4 at 8 pm
When famed American dance company Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre (AAADT) returns to the city, it will be a homecoming for one Toronto dancer. In her inaugural season with the company, Hannah Alissa Richardson, who grew up in Vaughan, will be the sole Canadian performing. Catch Hannah on stage as AAADT offers two mixed programs, including the company’s beloved Revelations, at Meridian Hall.
If You Love Documentaries: Screening of Steadfast: The Jean Augustine Story
When: Feb. 11 at 9 am
In 1993, Jean Augustine became the first Black woman elected to the House of Commons. She then introduced the motion to recognize Black History Month in Canada. Now, the icon’s life is documented in Steadfast: The Jean Augustine Story, screening at Etobicoke’s Cineplex Cinemas Queensway on Feb. 11. Dr. Augustine will be on hand, and the event includes performances by participants from the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment.
If You Love Wine: Black Grapes
When: Feb. 15 at 5 pm
Designed entirely out of shipping containers, the Stackt Market offers unique shopping experiences and events in Toronto. On Feb. 15, check it out and raise a glass to Black winemakers. Black Grapes, which runs from 5 to 9 pm, will feature wines from places such as Canada, the United States, South Africa. You’ll also get to sample snacks from Boukan Edible Bliss and Flavours of Guyana, along with the traditional cheese and charcuterie bites.
If You Love Music: King’s Playlist
When: Feb. 24 at 7:30 pm
Music is powerful. If you’ve ever wondered what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. may have listened to to boost his spirits as he worked tirelessly to secure equal rights, King’s Playlist at Parkdale Hall is your opportunity to find out. This concert features classic songs from King’s era by artists such as Canada’s queen of jazz, Jackie Richardson, and composer-guitarist-singer Don Ross.
If You Love a Formal Affair: Black Diamond Ball
When: Feb. 25 at 5:30 pm
Dance the night away as you celebrate the community’s accomplishments at the Black Diamond Ball. The gala, taking place at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, into an opportunity to connect while supporting Black businesses, arts, and the community. Proceeds from the ball support mental health and education initiatives. You’ll also have a chance to shop from numerous locally-owned businesses, which will be onsite.
If You Love a Festival: Everbloom
When: Feb. 25 at 3 pm
Everbloom, which first launched online in 2021, moves from the digital space to The Great Hall for its in-person debut. With its Black in Canada theme, the new Toronto festival will celebrate and feature Canadian artists and their work. Alongside live music, experience drag performances and a vendors’ market where you can buy directly from local Black-owned small businesses.
If You Love Shopping: Black Owned Toronto Marketplace
When: Feb. 25 at 11 am.
Typically, you’d head over to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to take in art. On Feb. 25, make your way there for the art of shopping. The Toronto art gallery is partnering with Black Owned Toronto — an online platform with a space in Scarborough Town Centre — for a marketplace. You’ll be able to buy from 25 local businesses selling everything from hair care and scents to candles and kids’ books.