Every February, Canadians participate in Black History Month to honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present. This month, we are shining a spotlight on notable Black Canadians who have had an impact on many lives across the country and the world through their personal and professional work.
Check out our events calendar for a listing of Black History Month events.
Anne Clare Cools is the first black member and the longest serving member of the Senate of Canada. As a social worker, Cools was a pioneer in the protection of women from domestic violence, running one of the first domestic violence shelters in Canada.
Dionne Brand is an accomplished poet, writer, filmmaker, educator and social activist. Her acclaimed works have earned her numerous awards and recognition, including the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, the Trillium Book Award, and appointment as poet laureate of Toronto.
Donovan Bailey is one of the greatest sprinters of all time. Track and Field News named him “Athlete of the Decade” in the 100-metre. We know him as “The World’s Fastest Man”.
Michael Lee-Chin is a Jamiacan-Canadian business magnate, investor and philanthropist who serves as the Chairman and CEO of Portland Holdings Inc. He has made several large pledges and/or donations in Canada to the Royal Ontario Museum, the Rotman School of Management, McMaster University and the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.
Jean Augustine is a trailblazing politician, social activist, and educator. She was the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to the House of Commons, the first African-Canadian woman to be appointed to the federal Cabinet, and the first Fairness Commissioner of the Government of Ontario.
Measha Brueggergosman is a Canadian soprano who performs both as an opera singer and concert artist. She has performed internationally and won numerous awards. Her recordings of both classical and popular music have also received awards. She is recognized as one of the top sopranos in North America.
Monica Gaylord is a Canadian pianist and harpsichordist. She became the orchestral pianist for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre ORchestra. In 1986, Gaylord joined the teaching staff at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where she co-authored the institution’s piano workbooks.
Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard is a highly regarded Nova Scotian educator, social worker, researcher, and community activist. In November 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed her to the Senate as an independent Senator representing Nova Scotia.