Black History Month 2017 in Victoria BC.

Black History Month 2017 in Victoria BC.

Black History Month continues to grow from strength to strength in Victoria BC with organizations like the BC Black History Awareness Society, the Victoria African & Caribbean Cultural Society (VACCS), and the  African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island (AHAVI)–together with partners Greater Victoria Public Library, Belfry Theatre, Intrepid Theatre, UVic Legacy Gallery, Garth Homer Centre, École Victor-Brodeur, Cook Street Activity Centre, Cedar Hill Recreation Centre, and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria–presenting a complete month of talks, performances, festivals, film, art exhibitions, a community dinner and an awards ceremony.  Many of the events are by donation.

In addition, actor Justin Carter will present his two solo shows—Son of Africville and My Father to Whom I Am Not Related–during the month at the Victoria Event Centre on February 6th and 13th respectively.

Many people are unaware of the major contributions black pioneers made to the City of Victoria and the province of BC—here’s an opportunity to learn more, and to celebrate the achievements of Afro-Canadians today.

Saturday January 28 noon-3 pm Central Library Victoria’s Black History Month Kick Off

Kick-off Black History Month at the library. Enjoy music, cultural information and snacks available for purchase in the courtyard. Chat with members of the BC Black History Awareness Society, the Victoria African and Caribbean Cultural Society, the African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island and the Victoria African and Caribbean Students Association. Drop-in.

Thursday February 2 8 pm Metro Theatre   Just an Ordinary Lawyer with Tayo Aluko

Nigerian Tunji Sowande quietly breaks through multiple barriers to become Britain’s first Black judge in 1978. Also a fine concert singer and keen cricket lover, he muses on international politics and history as they affect the Black world from Africa to the USA and Britain, from the point of view of one who would rather watch sports, and spread love and peace through the medium of song.

Recalling heroic sporting achievements alongside epoch-defining political events, Tayo Aluko follows the multi-award-winning Call Mr. Robeson with another “brilliantly put together history lesson delivered as art” (

Here’s my interview with Tayo Aluko:

Saturday February 4   1-6 pm Oak Bay High Auditorium VACCS Drum & Dance Festival

Featuring drum workshops and performances, African and Caribbean food, music and more!

Saturday February 4 6:30-9 pm Dave Dunnett Community Theatre Black History Month Kick-Off Show

You won’t want to miss our Black History Month Kick-Off Concert featuring a variety of world class African musicians, dancers and artists.

An unforgettable evening Final Show with Naby Camara, Jacky Ésombé and more

Opening guests: the Victoria Percussion Orchestra and the UVic African Music Ensemble.

Saturday February 4   3-4:30 pm UVIC Legacy Gallery.  FREE event.
The Mystery of Grafton Tyler Brown: Race, Art and Landscape in 19th Century British Columbia.

Afternoon presentation about BC’s first black professional artist; with UVIC History Department Chair John Lutz and writer and art historian, Robert Chandler.  Light refreshments provided. FREE.

Sunday February 5    10 am   Shady Creek Church
Black History Service

Saturday February 11 4:30-10 pm Garth Homer Centre African & Caribbean Dinner, Performance, Dance.  Ticketed event.  Contact

Join AHAVI for an evening of food, music, entertainment and dancing that celebrates the many and diverse cultures of Africa and the Caribbean.

Sunday February 12   2-3:30 pm Oregano’s Ross Bay Cemetery Tour.

A guided tour of the graves of the black pioneers and others, including Sir James Douglas. Hosted by John Adams of the Old Cemeteries Society and Valin Marshall of the BC Black History Awareness Society.  $5.00 or $2.00 for Old Cemeteries Society members

Wednesday February 15 1-3 pm GVPL Juan da Fuca Branch Black History Month: Underground Railroad: Adam’s Journey to the Promised Land

While the earliest Black Pioneers of BC came to Victoria by ship from California, others came to Canada by a much more difficult and dangerous route called “The Underground Railroad”. Presented by the BC Black History Awareness Society. Register at or call 250-940-GVPL (4875) for more information.

Friday February 17  7 – 8pm GVPL Nellie McClung branch Black History Month: Pioneering Families of BC

Karen Hoshal, past president of the BC Black History Awareness Society and a descendant of the Alexander pioneer family, gives a visual and narrative account of BC’s black pioneers. Presented by the BC Black History Awareness Society. Register at or call 250-940-GVPL (4875) for more information. Registration begins December 5.

Saturday February 18 3-8 pm  Ecole Victor-Brodeur   Film Screening & panel discussion- racism in fashion.  Bilingual event. Light dinner served.  FREE but tickets needed.

Sunday February 19   1-4 pm   Cook Street Activity Centre BC Black History and Heritage Day.  By donation.

Displays, information, artefacts and an opportunity to meet and talk with members of the Society and representatives from the Victoria Genealogical Society, Old Cemeteries Society, Saanich Pioneers Society, the Victoria African-Caribbean Cultural Society (VACCS) and African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island (AHAVI)

Featured Speaker: Karen Hoshal: a descendant of the Alexander Pioneer Family, shares stories about her ancestors and other B.C. Black Pioneers.

Performance by Mbira Spirit—country classics, blues, reggae, folk, gospel, spiritual and traditional with an African Twist!

Saturday February 25 2-4 pm Art Gallery of Greater Victoria Film Screening & Discussion. By donation. Limited seating.

Leila Sujir wrote and directed the film “FOR JACKSON:  A TIME CAPSULE.  This moving portrait incorporates interviews, family footage and archival materials to recount history through two grandmothers, Rosemary Brown (1930-2003) and Ruth Horricks-Sujir (born 1925). The documentary is intended as a time capsule for Jackson, their 7-year-old grandson.

Rosemary Brown was the first Black woman elected to public office in Canada (in the BC legislature, starting in 1972) and later served as Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. She received the Order of Canada and the Order of Jamaica.

Saturday February 25 6 pm Cedar Hill Recreation Centre Black History Month Gala & Awards  (ticketed event)

Joins us as we will pay tribute to member of our community who have distinguish themselves in the public, private and community sector and or are models for our community

Black History Month is significant to Black-Canadian history in many ways. This month honors the legacy of Canadians, past and present. The month is also important for providing communities with insight into the experiences of black Canadians. We invite you to join in all celebrations of this important month.

A community night of food, music, celebrating community accomplishments

Monday February 27 7 pm Belfry Theatre An Evening of Spoken Word, Poetry, Blues & Jazz featuring Ann-Bernice Thomas and Maureen Washington.

Ann-Bernice Thomas, Victoria’s 2016 Youth Poet Laureate, uses her voice to rally social change with themes of immigration, identity, feminism, sexual education, mental health, and racism. She is pleased to have acted in an Anti-Bias Show, aimed to help bridge the gap between police, immigrants, and ethno-cultural community.

Maureen Washington always delivers a thrilling, energetic and soulful performance of jazz and blues with her trio. She has won several awards including being named 2014 Black Canadian Awards Best Jazz and Soul Artist. She is backed by Karel Roessingh – piano, Joey Smith – bass, Damian Graham – drums.

Admission by donation at the door.

Friday, March 10 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm University of Victoria Legacy Galleries. FREE.

Re-Imagining Race, Art and Landscape.  3 artists, 3 performances, 1 event. Charles Campbell, Kemi Craig and Ann-Bernice Thomas respond to the story of Grafton Tyler Brown, BC’s first black professional artist. Light refreshments provided.


About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.

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