Celebrate Black History Month in Ottawa

Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2020

 Going forward, Guided by the past. Feet forward, head turned backward, the Sankofa bird reflects on the past to build a successful future.

Official Black History Month 2020 poster, Heritage Canada. 

During the month of February, learn about and celebrate Black History through storytelling, culture, food and art both on and off-campus.

Black History Month events hosted by the University of Ottawa Students’ Union

What: A variety of events to recognize and celebrate black culture while promoting student development on campus. Celebrate change-makers, artists, entrepreneurs, culture, food, history and more.

When: 12 events through February

Where: Various locations on and off-campus

Tickets and information


Breaking the Ice Black History Month Exhibits

What: Exhibits by the NHL Mobile Museum of Black Hockey History, the Ottawa Senators, Canadian Heritage, Ontario Black History Society and the International African Inventors Museum to celebrate the contributions of black people in Canada.

When: Tuesday, February 4 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Where: Aberdeen Pavilion, 1000 Exhibition Way

Tickets and information



OKAN Concert

What: Taking their name from the word for heart or soul in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, OKAN fuses Afro-Cuban roots with jazz, folk and global rhythms in songs about immigration, bravery and love.

When: Saturday, February 8 at 8:30 p.m.

Where: National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin Street

Tickets and information

Children's Stories of the Diaspora

What: A reading of children’s stories by black authors.

When: Sunday, February 9 at 2 p.m.  

Where: Ottawa Public Library, 101 Centrepointe Drive

Tickets and information


The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power with Desmond Cole

What: The launch of a bracing, provocative and perspective-shifting book from one of Canada's most celebrated and uncompromising writers, Desmond Cole. The conversation will be hosted by CBC’s Idil Mussa.

When: Tuesday, February 11 at 7 p.m.

Where: Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street

Tickets and information


Mental Health of Black Communities in the National Capital Region

What: Raising awareness about mental health among black communities with Dr. Myrna Lashley, McGill professor, Jacques Frémont, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, Greg Fergus, Member of Parliament for Hull-Aylmer and Rawlson King, Councillor of Rideau-Rockcliffe.

When: Thursday, 13 February at 2 p.m.

Where: University of Ottawa Social Sciences Building (FSS), 120 University Private

Registration and information


2020 Black History Month - African Day on The Hill

What: Celebrate African heritage, culture, food, music, fashion, dancing and storytelling.

When: Saturday, February 15 at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Sir John A MacDonald Building, 144 Wellington Street

Tickets and information


The Black Canadian Experience in Ontario: 1834—1914 Exhibition

What: In collaboration with the Ontario Black History Society, this exhibit presents the dramatic story of an important community which has played a significant role in the pronvince's history and remains a vital force in Ontario society today.

When: February 17 to 29

Where: University of Ottawa University Centre, 85 University Private

Tickets and information

Celebrating the U.N. Decade of People of African Descent

What: A multicultural event where different African and the Caribbean communities showcase traditions from their home countries, celebrate with music, dancing, food and more.

When: Sunday, February 23 at 6 p.m.

Where: Ottawa Church of God, 1820 Carling Avenue

Tickets and information


Empowering Our Future

What: The Afro-Caribbean Mentorship Program has partnered with the Royal Bank of Canada, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa to host its second annual Black History Month event. Celebrate Afro-Caribbean Black history, while honouring individuels who are making outstanding contributions to Canada.

When: Friday, 28 February at 5 p.m.

Where: Dominion-Chalmers United Church, 355 Cooper Street

Tickets and information


AfroRoots Dance Festival

What: Various dance workshops and seminars rooted in African Culture.   

When: Saturday, February 29 at 10 a.m.

Where: The Cultural Arts Studio, 149 King George Street

Tickets and information


Do you know of other events happening in the city? Let us know!

Sources: University of Ottawa, Black History Ottawa, University of Ottawa Students’ Union.

Please note: Events that were sold out prior to publication were omitted from the article.

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