by Lesley-Anne Longo
Published at 2023-02-02
Cities across Canada are celebrating Black History Month with film screenings, gallery exhibitions, concerts, and performances. From coast to coast, here are some great events happening in Canada—hopefully in a city near you!
Black History Month at VIFF Centre
The VIFF Centre in Vancouver is presenting a month of movies shining a spotlight on Black film, Black film artists, and Black thinkers and activists. This year’s Black History Month programming includes two series: Icons, which celebrates the accomplishments of American movie stars like Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, and Chadwick Boseman; and Dispatches, which focuses on documentaries, ideas, and social justice.
When: Various dates from February 1 to 28, 2023
Time: Various times
Where: VIFF Centre – 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver
Tickets: $10 for students and accessible pricing, $13 for seniors, and $15 for adults. 3-pack of tickets available for $27-$30. Buy tickets here.
Out of the Sun: On Black History and Storytelling
BC Black History Awareness Society is presenting a live-streamed conversation with award-winning Canadian novelist Esi Edugyan, a two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize winner and internationally bestselling author. She will discuss her book, Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling with the live and live-streamed audience. This special evening will include an on-stage conversation, a Q & A session, and a book-signing opportunity with Esi Edugyan. There will also be a musical performance by Yoro Noukoussi.
When: February 16, 2023
Time: 5 to 7 PM
Where: In-person at Hermann’s Upstairs Lounge, 753 View Street, 2nd floor, and online
Cost: Free, though donations are suggested. Buy tickets here.
Rhythm and Rhymes: A Black History/365 Event
This event offers an exciting opportunity for youth and families to learn and create together with award-winning artist Bubba B the MC. Using his book/CD as a starting place to centre themes of reading, literacy, and Black History month, Bubba B demonstrates his technique for bringing different ideas together to create a whole new hip-hop song.
When: February 12, 2023
Time: 2 to 3 PM
Where: Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery – Central Library, 800 3rd Street SE
Tickets: Free. Reserve a spot here.
Black Futures Month at Twisted Element
Join Black Lives Matter YYC, Ninth & Brick, and Inclusive Canada at Twisted Element for an evening of shopping and performances! The market opens at 5 PM with various local Black vendors, and the performance begins at 6 PM.
When: February 12, 2023
Time: Starts at 5 PM
Where: Twisted Element – 1006 11th Avenue SW
Tickets: By donation. Reserve a spot here or make a donation at the door.
Shall We Gather: Orchestral Music by Composers of African Descent
Chamber Orchestra Musaic is honouring composers of African descent with an upcoming concert, Shall We Gather, at Bethel Mennonite Church. The program includes works from composers from Ghana, the United States, Cuba, Jamaica, and the United Kingdom.
When: February 26, 2023
Time: 3 PM
Where: Bethel Mennonite Church – 465 Stafford Street (parking off of Harrow Street)
Tickets: $30 for adults, $25 for youth/seniors, and $15 for those under the age of 15. To reserve your ticket, call (204) 487-0302, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or purchase at the door.
Virtual Museum Field Trips
Black History Manitoba is hosting virtual field trips to showcase Black history in Canada. This live, interactive field trip to the Manitoba Museum is aimed at school groups, homeschoolers, and families. The virtual tour will focus on Black communities in Canada, with an emphasis on stories from Manitoba.
When: February 8, 2023, from 1:30 to 2:15 PM, and February 22, 2023, from 10:30 to 11:45 AM
Where: Your living room!
Tickets: Registration is free. Register for the February 8 tour here, and the February 22 tour here.
Toronto History Museums Programming
Throughout the month of February, Toronto History Museums (THM) will be hosting an event series to honour Black Freedom through music, culture, and storytelling through its museum sites at Spadina Museum, Mackenzie House, and Todmorden Mills.
The Spadina House Museum’s immersive exhibit Dis/Mantle, inspired by the efforts of Black abolitionists, has been extended to May 28. Museumgoers can participate in the exhibit through the sewing of an “identity quilt,” as well as include their written reflections on Dis/Mantle, throughout February during regular museum hours.
There are a couple of other interesting events happening through this series, so check out the details in this Toronto Star article!
Toronto Black Film Festival 2023
The Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) runs from February 15 to 20, and guests can expect to see a curated showcase of thought-provoking Black films. This year’s festival aims to “give unique voices in cinema the opportunity to present audiences with new ways of looking at the world.”
The 2023 schedule and other events happening throughout the festival (including performances and even entertainment industry panel discussions) can be viewed here. Ticket prices will vary depending on whether viewers want to experience TBFF in person or virtually.
Nuits d’Afrique Concert Series
Productions Nuits d’Afrique, a non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination, development, and influence of world music from African, Caribbean and Latin American cultures, is presenting six special concert events during Black History Month. These concerts include blues, hip-hop, Afropop, reggae, funk, and soul performances. For more information on specific concerts and tickets, check out the Productions Nuits d’Afrique website.
The Underground Comedy Railroad
The Underground Comedy Railroad, the first-ever all-Black comedy tour in Canada, will be hosted by the Comedy Nest nightclub on February 19. The annual tour has travelled across Canada during Black History Month since 2012. This year’s show features hilarious stand-up comics Rodney Ramsey, Daniel Woodrow, Kevin Christopher, Tamara Shevon, George Rivard, Alan Shane Lewis and Keesha Brownie.
When: February 19, 2023
Time: 8 PM (Doors open at 7:15 PM)
Where: The Comedy Nest – 2313 St. Catherine Street W
Tickets: $32.34. Purchase tickets here.
Make Day! Africville’s Legacy
At Make Day! Africville’s Legacy, visitors will pair watercolour and acrylic painting with collage, led by artist and educator Kim Cainvisitors, and will learn about the community of Africville, its history, and its destruction, while making a 3D pop-up of Africville. This program is great for children ages 5+ accompanied by an adult.
When: February 5, 2023
Time: 10 AM to 4 PM
Where: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia – 1723 Hollis Street
Tickets: Cost of regular admissions to the museum.
Screening of Black Ice
Oscar-nominated director Hubert Davis brings filmgoers the story of Black contributions and racial injustice in hockey in Black Ice. From the Coloured Hockey League founded in 1895 to the NHL, this film provides a look into Canada’s national game. Davis brings together an incredible roster of players to offer insight and testimony, including women and men from both major and minor leagues. Their stories are eye-opening and often painful, but their bravery in sharing their stories, along with their faith in the fundamental beauty and excitement of hockey, infuse Black Ice with a galvanizing sense of hope for a more inclusive future. The event will be followed by a panel discussion.
When: February 21, 2023
Time: 6:30 PM
Where: Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 – 1055 Marginal Road
Tickets: Free, but registration is required. Register here.
We hope one of these events will entice you to get out and participate in Black History Month in the coming weeks!