Celebrate Black History Month in 2023 at Toronto Public Library

February 1, 2023 | Rachelle

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February is Black History Month and there are so many ways to celebrate. Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month events and celebrate Black culture, heritage, and achievement all year long but February is a time when you'll see a vast array of activities. The theme this year, is Ours to Tell. Check out the Canadian Heritage website to learn about significant events in Black history, interesting facts, and download the poster. 

Picture portraying golden yellow background as well as various print-inspired designs found in Black communities.
Government of Canada -

This theme shines a bright light on our successes, triumphs, and trailblazers. Black Canadian History is not the same as African American History. Sure, there are some things that we have in common with our neighbours to the south but there is so much to commemorate and celebrate right here in Canada.

Black History Month signifies many things to people of African descent. It can be a time to ponder, a time to celebrate, a time for action, or a time to learn. Canadian Heritage provides many Black History resources, including links to eight video shorts. Each provides a glimpse into what Black history is all about.

Take this short quiz to test your knowledge. Then check the answer through the links provided.

  1. Who was the first Black person to arrive in Canada? Answer
  2. Who was first Black woman to publish a newspaper in North America? Answer
  3. Who is the first Black female Member of Parliament? Answer
  4. When was Black History Month first officially recognized in the House of Commons? Answer
  5. Who was the first Canadian-born Black person to become a physician? Answer
  6. Who was Canada's first Black Member of Parliament? Answer

How did you do? Fear not, if you did not know some of these facts. There are many ways to learn about Black Canadian history and culture. In honour of Black History Month, we have curated a diverse reading list for adultsteens, and children. More great reads can be found in The Rita Cox Black and Caribbean Heritage Collection. To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of this iconic collection, staff from the Maria A. Shchuka branch used images of book covers to design an imaginative collage in homage to the collection’s namesake.

Art mural Dr. Rita Cox with a shirt made of book cover images.
Collage of Dr. Rita Cox at Maria A. Shchuka Branch

Check out our Black History webpage, your portal to upcoming in-person and online Black History Month programs, and replays of past events. Here you will also find links to blog posts, podcasts, and our Black Voices playlist. Toronto Public Library celebrates Black History year round, so check back regularly for new content.

Keeping with the theme, Ours to Tell, please join us on February 22nd, from 7:00-8:00 pm for Invisible Boy: Finding the Self. In this Live & Online program, Harrison Mooney, shares about his life as a reader, writer, and transracial adoptee. Born to a Ghanaian immigrant mother, Mooney was adopted as an infant by a white family and raised in the Bible belt of British Columbia. If you are unable to attend, a recording of the event will be available on Crowdcast.

A young man posing in running position. Text on poster reads "live & online" and "toronto public library"
Harrison Mooney, award-winning journalist and best-selling author.

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