Visit St. Catharines for Black history
From the last stop for the Underground Railroad to the Salem Chapel where Harriet Tubman worshipped, Black history is everywhere in St. Catharines and there are many opportunities to celebrate Black History Month this February.
People from across the country celebrate Black History Month every February and recognize the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians to making Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate, and prosperous nation it is today.
Black History Month in St. Catharines kicks off with a flag raising at City Hall on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 11:30 a.m. Historian Rochelle Bush will be a featured speaker at the launch event, which also includes a performance by Caribbean drummer Chris Fire.
Black History at the St. Catharines Museum
Learn more about and celebrate Black history and culture in St. Catharines with guided tours and more this month at The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre. Guided tours of Last Stop: In their Own Words, the museum’s Black History exhibit are available most Saturdays in February. The museum will be offering Black history programing as part of its PD Day activities Friday, February 16 and Family Day fun Monday, February 19. Don’t miss the museum’s Black History Month blog series every Sunday this month.
Learn about the Underground Railroad in St. Catharines
Harriet Tubman is among the great heroes of the 19 century. A legendary conductor of the Underground Railroad, Harriet led hundreds of enslaved Blacks to freedom. The Underground Railroad was a network of people in the United States who hid and guided enslaved Black people fleeing the slave states for freedom in Canada. St. Catharines was a final stop on the Underground Railroad. During the 1850s, Tubman called St. Catharines, Canada home and many of the people she led to freedom settled here as well.
February offers a perfect opportunity to explore Niagara and celebrate Black History Month by experiencing what life was like during the era of the Underground Railroad.
Niagara Bound Tours is running its Car Caravan Tours, a contactless guided outdoor tour exploring what happened to Freedom Seekers after completing their journey to Canada. The Car Caravan Tour offers a unique look into the migration of Black Americans as they escaped slavery in the mid-19th century and settled in Southern Ontario, Canada. Led by a fifth-generation Canadian descendant of a fugitive slave from Kentucky, tours take visitors to the amazing and beautiful historical sites in St. Catharines and Niagara to create memorable experiences capturing the essence of what Freedom Seekers faced while fleeing slave states through storytelling and presenting historical perspectives.
Black history is around every corner in St. Catharines
From the steps of the Salem Chapel, the Geneva Street church where Harriett Tubman worshipped, to where communities came together to celebrate abolition in Downtown St. Catharines to where thousands of Black Canadians and Americans would gather for Emancipation Day in Port Dalhousie, there are many significant Black history sites in St. Catharines.
Black Culture on display in St. Catharines
Recontextualizing Black History Through Art, an art exhibition featuring works by Jamelia Lucienbaker, Moon and Teju Oladipo presented in partnership by Future Black Female, BlackOwned 905, the St. Catharines Downtown Association and the City of St. Catharines, is on view for the month of February on the second floor of City Hall.
The Niagara Symphony Orchestra presents Soulful, a Jeans ‘n Classics celebration in honour of Black History Month at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre February 10-11. Featuring vocalist Gavin Hope, this show celebrates 50 years of R&B, Mowtown, Funk, Disco, and Pop by some of the finest African-American recording artist and performers, including Smokey Robinson, Outkast, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, Isaac Hayes, and Seal.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day Wednesday, February 14 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre with an evening of jazz featuring Kandace Springs, the talented Nashville singer-pianist who uses modern production to bend sound into new genre forms. The evening will open with local emerging jazz sensation Sammy Jackson.
The Film House will screen four episodes from Black Life: Untold Stories, an eight-part documentary series that reframes the rich and complex histories of Black experiences in Canada, dispelling commonly accepted myths and celebrating the many, and often unrecognized, contributions of Black Canadians who helped to shape the country. Screenings take place Thursday, February 15 and Thursday, February 29 and feature two episodes per date.
Future Black Female‘s 2nd annual Variety Show Saturday, February 17 at Robertson Hall promises an exhilarating evening packed with diverse ranges of performances to captivate every audience member. From electrifying music to side-splitting comedy to mesmerizing dance routines, this show is a curated blend of talents that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
As part of its Twilight Jazz Series: Celebrating Black History, the TD Niagara Jazz Festival presents Harrison Kennedy Sunday, February 25 at the Niagara Artists Centre. Harrison Kennedy is a Canadian electric blues, R&B and soul blues singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. The JUNO award winner is best known for being the lead vocalist on the Chairmen of the Board song, “Chairman of the Board,” and has had a varied solo career since the mid-1970s.
Also on February 25, Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts presents the only Canadian performance of the Blue Note Records 85th Anniversary Celebration starring the Blue Note Quintet (featuring Gerald Clayton, Joel Ross, Immanuel Wilkins, Kendrick Scott, and Matt Brewer) hits the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Don’t miss this show when the hottest young names in jazz join forces to perform classic tunes from the legendary label, as well as original compositions.
More events and activities to be added.