TD Sponsors 90 events for Black History Month

Al Ramsay (insert) and a taste of what you will see at the TD Black Diamond Ball.

By Stephen Weir

Toronto is about to become the epicentre for the country’s most important Black History events  next month.

 At a news conference on Tuesday, Black History Month organizers and key officials from the Toronto Dominion Bank unveiled a record number of  more than 90 February events that will take place for the most part in the GTA.

Music. Fashion. History. Food. Performance.  A mammoth formal gala. Concerts and small “unique happenings” for 28 days in a row.

It all begins next Tuesday – yes in January – at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre when the Ontario Black History Society stages a brunch for 700 people to witness keynote presentations and entertainment, focusing on the evolving story of Black Canadians.

After the formalities end, the fun really begins. The Kuumba Festival runs for three days at Harbourfront, featuring the work of photographers, filmmakers and community leaders from Canada, the Americas and the United Kingdom.

On February 1, an art show opens at the Uber-cool Gladstone. The hotel is hosting How Does it Feel – a multi-media exploration of the diverse forms of Black Love in the community.

The downtown Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) is screening award-winning films throughout the month.  The annual festival has teamed up for the first time with local chefs to create the TBFF Food Experience, a showcase of delicious cuisine from the rich and diverse community. 

“Our history of genuine support for the Black Community and – Black History Month -over the last eleven years truly embodies what the bank is all about,” said TD’s National Manager, Al Ramsay at the news conference  held at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre on Bathurst Street in Toronto.

 “Black History Month celebrations have grown since then, extending through multiple partnerships. We have over 90 programmes and events.”

“This year we are investing over $1.5 million in Canada’s Black History Month events and initiatives to celebrate our diversity, creativity resilience, and achievement,” he noted.

“This is indeed one of the largest if not the largest Black History Month celebration in Canada.”

With that funding, Toronto continues to honour its culture  throughout Black History Month.  There is a show at the Toronto Reference Library that explores the hip-hop culture.

And  at the  Rose theatre in Brampton  on   February 16, there  will be A Tribute to the Legend of Reggae: Into The Dancehall, featuring well-known Jamaican performers. 

Also in Brampton, on  Feb.24,the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives is launching a photography exhibition that first showed in Washington DC as part of the opening of the African Art Museum. North is Freedom by Yuri Dojc and presented by the Ontario Black History Society celebrates in pictures the descendants of freedom-seekers who escaped slavery in the United States.

The Big events include the TD Black Diamond Ball at the Royal York Hotel and William Franklyn’s Leathers in Concert at the Aga Khan Museum.

For  more information  about the community, inclusive grassroots efforts and Toronto’s notable history during Black History Month, check out the TD website with its detailed event listing