Canada Post marks the annual Black History Month with a new stamp for commemorating Mathieu Da Costa, an interpreter for Europeans who were trading with Indigenous people in the New World.
Believed to be of African or even Euro-African descent, Mathieu Da Costa‘s connection to Canada came in the year 1608 when Da Costa signed a contract to work for French fur-trader, explorer and governor of Acadia, Pierre Dugua de Mons.
On the occasion of the Black History Month, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued on February 1, 2017 the following statement:
Throughout our history, Black Canadians have played a key role in building and shaping the diverse, compassionate, and prosperous country that we are all so proud to call home.
Every February, Canadians celebrate Black History Month by acknowledging the remarkable achievements and contributions that Canadians of African and Caribbean descent have made to Canada.
I urge all Canadians to reflect on the bravery and courage of individuals like Viola Desmond, a prominent Black Canadian businesswoman who changed the course of Canadian history by defiantly refusing to leave a whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946.
In recognition of her impact on the civil rights and freedoms movement in Canada, the Government of Canada chose Viola Desmond as the face of Canada’s ten dollar bank note.
This year, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, let us never forget the stories of Black Canadians’ courage in the face of intolerance. Diversity is our greatest strength, and we must always continue to build a country that affords equality and opportunity for all.
On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I encourage all Canadians to participate in the many events that will take place across the country throughout February.
Together, let us celebrate the heritage of Black Canadians, and honour the integral role they have played in shaping our democratic and free society.
In Toronto, Black History Month’s programs are taking at libraries, community centres and other public centres across the city. According the City’s statement:
There will also be lectures on Canada’s hip hop music scene, jazz and poetry celebrating the late Austin Clarke, cutting-edge sounds from Toronto Mass Choir, dance and art exhibits and films for the whole family.
Parks, Forestry and Recreation programming and events for adults and children will take place at many community centres throughout the city and will include art and poster displays, movie nights, black history presentations and more.
Mackenzie House, operated by Museums and Heritage Services, is presenting Black History Month exhibits on weekends in February.
Toronto Archives invites members of the public to visit its online exhibits entitled Black History Month in Toronto and Donald Moore: Caribbean Connection: One Man’s Crusade.
A special highlight will be the unveiling of an artifacts display significant to Toronto’s black history in the City Hall rotunda later in February.