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Exploring the history behind Black History Month

February 16, 2021

Written in collaboration with Sylvia Harnarain.

What is Black History Month?

In Canada, we celebrate Black History Month during the month of February to acknowledge and honour the history of the influential Black Canadians who have made impactful contributions to our society.  

How did Black History Month come to be in Canada?

Founders of the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) Dr. Daniel G. Hill and Wilson O. Brooks created a petition for February to be named Black History Month in the City of Toronto. This was granted in 1979 [1]. February as Black History Month was made official in 1993 in Ontario and then Canada-wide in December 1995 [1]



Listen to this playlist as you read through the rest of this article as a celebration of Black history through music!

This would not be a Black History Month article without highlighting some Black Canadians who have had an immense influence in various fields. 

Elijah McCoy - STEM

McCoy used his knowledge and mechanical engineering background to invent and patent many things; he has more than 50 patents to his name. For example, he improved the lubricating process of coal-powered locomotives by developing a lubricating cup. 

Bruny Surin - Sports

Bruny Surin is a great athlete with many national and international titles. In the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, he won a gold medal in the 4x 100-metre relay. 

The Honourable Jean Augustine - Politics 

The Honourable Jean Augustine was the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to the House of Commons and appointed to the federal Cabinet. Her activism has had positive impacts on minority and women’s rights. 

Dionne  Brand - Arts

Brand’s poetry and other writings explore themes such as gender, injustices, and feminism. Her work has not only earned her various awards but has also been used as a mode of activism. 


While we aim to celebrate and uplift African-American individuals through this article, we would also like to acknowledge the unjust oppression they have faced throughout history and continue to face. We see you, we support you, and we stand by you. 


Local Black-Owned Businesses 

Restaurants and Bakeries


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Gift Boxes, Decor, and more!

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Branding and Web Design

Beauty and Skin Care


Health & Wellness

Check out these Instagram pages for informative content. 

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The BIPOC Club is an Ontario Tech club that supports students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of colour.

Check Your Privilege

Check Your Privilege is a page dedicated to posting informative content as a guide to anti-racism. 

Upcoming Black History Month Initiatives