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Celebrating Black Heritage Month: Guelph Black Heritage Society’s Vibrant Events

StoriesCelebrating Black Heritage Month: Guelph Black Heritage Society's Vibrant Events

For more than 25 years, Canadians have dedicated February to celebrating Black Heritage Month, initiated by Jean Augustine, the first Black woman elected to Parliament. This month serves as an opportunity to honor the contributions of Black historical figures to society. In Guelph, the celebration extends beyond Black History Month and is known as Black Heritage Month at the Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) since 2021.

Embracing a Rich Narrative

In a recent press release, GBHS emphasized the importance of recognizing Black history and experiences beyond the narrative of enslavement. Denise Francis, a GBHS volunteer, highlighted the need to acknowledge the long-standing presence of the Black community in Guelph and Wellington County since the 1800s.

Showcasing Contributions

During Black Heritage Month, GBHS aims to showcase the diverse ways in which Black individuals contribute to the local community. The focus is not only on the past but also on current achievements and a promising future. Francis expressed optimism, stating that with the remarkable accomplishments of young Black individuals, both today and tomorrow are looking promising.

Event Highlights

1. Guelph Farmers’ Market Booth

On Feb. 3 and 17, GBHS will have a booth at the Guelph Farmers’ Market, offering information about the society and an opportunity to purchase GBHS-themed items, including the exclusive Lantern Brew from Lost Aviator Coffee.

2. Say It Loud: Celebrating a History of Black Music

A concert at Royal City Church on Feb. 23 promises an incredible celebration of the rich history of Black music. The event will feature a diverse lineup of artists, paying tribute to the impact of Black artists on the music industry.

3. Heritage Hall Open House

On Feb. 24, GBHS invites the public to a Heritage Hall Open House. This free event provides insight into GBHS’s ongoing activities, exhibits, tours, and programming. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions, feedback, and learn how to support the GBHS.

4. Lantern Ale

The Royal City Brewing Company is serving its annual Lantern Ale throughout February, a distinct artisanal brew honoring Black Heritage Month. A portion of the proceeds from Lantern Ale will be donated to GBHS.

5. Black Vacation Week

From Feb. 26 to 29, GBHS observes Black Vacation Week, an initiative encouraging Black communities to take time for self-care, relaxation, and community connection.

Supporting the Heart & Soul Campaign

All proceeds from GBHS Black Heritage Month events contribute to the Heritage Hall Heart & Soul Campaign. This campaign aims to expand and revitalize GBHS resources and programming, fostering a space where art, culture, and inclusiveness converge.


As we celebrate Black Heritage Month, the Guelph Black Heritage Society invites everyone to not only participate in February events but to support their ongoing initiatives throughout the year. By investing in the Heritage Hall Heart & Soul Campaign, individuals, businesses, and government entities can contribute to sustaining a rich legacy of art, culture, and inclusiveness.

This month will commemorate past and present accomplishments within the black community and set sights on the bright future ahead.

The following events, programs and activities will be presented during Black HERITAGE Month:

Flag Raising, Open House & Heritage Hall Tours

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 1, 2023 @ 11 AM

Location: Heritage Hall, 83 Essex Street, Guelph

Join us as we raise the African Nova Scotia flag at Heritage Hall. After the flag raising there will be a dedication, blessing and tours of the Heritage Hall.

“Our Stories, Our history, Our heritage.” Exhibit Opening

Date & Time: Saturday, February 4, 2023 @ 1:30 PM – 3 PM

Location: Wellington County Museum and Archives, 536 Wellington County Road 18, Fergus

The exhibit highlights the story of the Guelph Black Heritage Society. Learn about the founders of the organization, our activities as well as Black culture and heritage in Wellington County. Come check out the exhibit and enjoy refreshments.

“Songs of Sunya” Table Read

Date & Time: Thursday, February 9, 2023 @ 6:30 PM

Location: online and in-person at Heritage Hall, 83 Essex Street, Guelph

An immersive theatre experience; community members perform scenes from Adam Myrie’s “Songs of Sunya”. The evening will include a dramatic table read from his upcoming novel, refreshments including Lantern Brew Coffee, Dream Makers tea, African Honey Cake, signed copies of the book and more! Admission is free (suggested donation $10 per person, or a donation to for the Chalmers Centre).

Canvas ‘n Cocktails

Date & Time: Thursday, February 16, 2023 @ 6:30 PM

Location: Heritage Hall, 83 Essex Street, Guelph

Want a fun night out that is new, exciting and good for the soul? Canvas ‘n Cocktails is a creative class for the artistic and the not so artistic. We will create a free-flowing art piece using positive affirmations for the first part of the evening with Dr. Shara Ally. The second part of the evening includes a feel and heal component using breath to connect body and space with Kween. The evening will be approximately 2 hours and we will have cocktails, snacks and prizes! For femxle identifying people. Licensed event (18 years and older). Admission is free (suggested donation $20 per person).

Fourth Friday Concert featuring Shane Philips

Date & Time: Friday, February 24, 2023 @ 7 PM

Location: Guelph Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street, Guelph

To commemorate Black HERITAGE Month, Guelph Museums has partnered with the Guelph Black Heritage Society for February’s Fourth Friday. Featuring a musical performance by Shane Philips, an internationally acclaimed musician with a whole lot of soul. Admission is free.


Q1: What is the significance of Lantern Ale?

Lantern Ale is a distinct artisanal brew served by the Royal City Brewing Company in honor of Black Heritage Month. A portion of the proceeds supports GBHS.

Q2: Why is Black Vacation Week significant?

Black Vacation Week aims to provide time and space for Black individuals to connect with their community, fostering a braver space during Black Heritage Month.

Q3: How do donations during Black Heritage Month contribute?

Donations during February, and throughout the year, support GBHS’s Heritage Hall Heart & Soul Campaign, sustaining the building and facilitating a diverse range of events and programs.


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