February is Black History Month in Canada. During this time, and all year long, TD is proud to support arts and cultural organizations and events through the TD Ready Commitment
(the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform) that work to amplify diverse voices and make an impact in their communities.
Are you looking to show your support for Black History Month, but you’re not sure how to get started? You could try honoring Black History Month 2023 by attending or supporting an event in your community.
Below, TD Stories has compiled some of the programs supported by the Bank through the TD Ready Commitment in Canadian cities this February. From concerts and film screenings to art exhibitions and book lists, here is a summary of some of the many arts and cultural events happening this month, based on input supplied by these organizations.
African Art & Cultural Community Contributor CCC. Inc. (AACCC): Issamba Showcase
February 17-19, Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver
The AACCCS provides a range of educational and artistic events and programs to promote the arts and cultural heritages of Peoples of African Descent in British Columbia. From February 17-19, it will present the Issamba Showcase with Mamadou Diabate and Percussion Mania in Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver. Learn more about the Issamba Showcase here.
Ethnik Festivals Association: Ethnik Festival of Arts & Culture 2023
February 24-25, Calgary
The Ethnik Festival of Arts and Culture is an annual Black History Month celebration in Calgary. This year, the event runs on February 24 and 25. It begins with a cooking competition featuring celebrity chef Roger Mooking and culminates in a mainstage event with musicians, spoken word artists and more. Children under 12 are free. Learn more about the Ethnik Festival of Arts & Culture here.
Art Gallery of Ontario: You Look Beautiful Like That: Studio Photography in West and Central Africa
Until June 2023, Toronto
The Arts of Global Africa and the Diaspora curatorial department aims to dismantle Eurocentric perspectives and amplify under-represented artists to further break down barriers within visual arts. Until June 2023, Art Gallery of Ontario visitors can take in the new exhibition You Look Beautiful Like That: Studio Photography in West and Central Africa, which explores this photographic medium from the 1860s until the 1980s. Learn more here.
The Royal Conservatory of Music: TD Jazz: Great Composers series
February 11 and 25, Toronto
The TD Jazz: Great Composers series celebrates the all-time greats in this Black-led genre. On February 11, enjoy the music of Oscar Peterson, Nat King Cole, Tommy Dorsey, and more with renowned musicians at Koerner Hall in Toronto. On February 25, hear the music of Thelonious Monk and mark the centennial of Charles Mingus with the Grammy-nominated MONK’estra led by John Beasley. Learn more about TD Jazz and these two concerts here.
Jesse Ryan & Kaiso Street Collective Premiering Music of the Mighty Bomber
February 17, Toronto
Hear fresh musical arrangements from the golden age of calypso, re-imagined through the lens of modern jazz. Black Canadian-Caribbean saxophonist and composer Jesse Ryan leads the Kaiso Street Collective in a powerful program celebrating the connections between jazz and Afro-Caribbean traditions. Learn more about this concert here.
Small World Music Society: Cheikh Ibra Fam
February 18, Toronto
The Small World Music Society presents musician Cheikh Ibra Fam and the new sounds of Senegal in a concert at Revival, a venue in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood. This organization is committed to breaking down barriers and highlighting the GTA’s diversity through music. Learn more about the Cheikh Ibra Fam concert here.
Culchahworks Arts Collective: King’s Playlist
February 24, Toronto
For Black History Month 2023, the Culchahworks Arts Collective—which highlights important, yet little known stories about Black Canadians—will remount its 2016 production, King’s Playlist. This show, directed by Culchaworks’ founder and artistic director, Andrew Craig, imagines the songs that would have been on Dr. Martin Luther King’s playlist and features soprano Denise Williams. Learn more about King’s Playlist here.
Harbourfront Centre: Kuumba: A celebration of Black History Month
February 1-28, Toronto
For the 28th edition of Kuumba, the Harbourfront Centre’s Black History Month programming, the Toronto-based organization will host multiple events, including a documentary film screening and drag show. Learn more about Kuumba here.
Toronto Black Film Festival 2023
February 15-20, Toronto
The 11th annual Toronto Black Film Festival runs from February 15-20 and will showcase work by Black creators while providing a space to consider major cultural and socioeconomic issues. The event includes both in-person and virtual screenings, helping to make it accessible to everyone in Canada. Learn more about the Toronto Black Film Festival here.
Toronto Public Library
The Toronto Public Library holds Black History events year-round by hosting authors, speakers and other special guests. For readers city-wide, and beyond, it curates Black History month reading lists for booklovers of all ages. Learn more about the Toronto Public Library’s programming here.
Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton
February, Halton Region
Since 2002, the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton has been hosting Black History Month programming for those in Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville. These events have grown significantly, from 4,000 to 200,000 participants. This year’s event will kick-off with a launch at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, followed by a range of public and in-school programs throughout the Halton region. Learn more about the CCAH’s events here.
Obsidian Theatre Company: Of the Sea
March 25-April 1, Toronto
Together with Tapestry Opera Company and TO Live, the Obsidian Theatre Company will premiere Of the Sea, a new Black Canadian opera written by Black Canadian playwright Kanika Ambrose and composed by Métis, French-Canadian musician Ian Cusson. Of the Sea will feature an all-Black cast of performers when it makes its debut at the Bluma Appel Theatre in downtown Toronto. Learn more about Of the Sea here
and read about Obsidian Theatre Company here.
Carrefour jeunesse-emploi de Côte-des-Neiges: Monnaie Money 13th Annual Black History Month Talent Show 2023
February 25, Montreal
Carrefour jeunesse-emploi de Côte-des-Neiges produces the annual Monnaie Money Talent Show during Black History Month. The Montreal-based show sees 25 youth acts competing for prizes while bringing diverse voices and communities together. Learn more about Monnaie Money here.
Fondation Dynastie: Gala Dynastie
March 26-April 1, 2023, Montreal
For an event that occurs after Black History Month, look at Fondation Dynastie, which will present a week-long program that includes two awards galas (one for those in media and one for individuals working in arts and culture), a summit, talks and a comedy show. Learn more here.
Fondu au Noir / Fade to Black
February 8-12, Montreal
The 12th annual Fondu au Noir/Fade to Black Festival runs from February 8-12 with both in-person and virtual programming that includes concerts, film screenings, panel discussions and visual arts workshops. Learn more about Fondu au Noir/Fade to Black here.
Orchestre classique de Montréal: World Premiere of the Opera La Flambeau
February 7, Montreal
During the first week of Black History Month, Orchestre classique de Montréal will host the premiere of La Flambeau, based on the eponymous Haitian play, created by composer David Bontemps and librettist and playwright Faubert Bolivar. This new opera will be performed by an all-Black cast. Learn more about La Flambeau here.
For more Black History Month events in Quebec, visit Mois d’histoire des noirs.
Halifax Black Film Festival
February 24-28, Halifax
The Halifax Black Film Festival (HBFF) creates space for discussing cultural and socioeconomic issues by presenting outstanding cinematic works by Black creators. This year’s festival runs both online and in-person. Learn more about the Halifax Black Film Festival here.
Halifax Public Libraries: African Heritage Month 2023
Throughout February and March, Halifax Public Libraries will host events for Haligonians of all ages, including author talks, film screening, workshop and more. A marquee event for 2023 is “Exploring Your Family Stories,” all about helping people explore their own families through genealogy, archival materials, and lived experiences. Learn more here.
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21: African Heritage Month Calypso Celebration
February. 7, Halifax
In association with Joy Bullen, Culturpreneur, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 kicks off Black History Month with three musicians as they explore the connection between jazz and Afro-Caribbean music in a one-night-only concert. Learn more here.