Weekend need to know: Black History Month events and programs

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February is Black History Month and there are several events and programs to honour the month in Toronto. Events range from art exhibits and festivals to documentaries and drag shows.

You can also listen to CityNews 680 daily to hear the series Black History Month on CityNews 680, highlighting some of the stories of Canadian Black history.

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There are also no scheduled subway closures this weekend to get to and from events. But scroll below for a list of new and ongoing road closures.

Here’s what to check out this weekend:

Top events

Black Women in Leadership

Black Women in Leadership is an exhibit that is on display now until August, and is one of the city’s featured Black History Month events.

The exhibit can be viewed at the City of Toronto Archives located at 255 Spadina Rd.

The project is a photography exhibition featuring portraits of 40 Black women leaders by four Toronto-based artists.

Organizers say the exhibit celebrates and highlights Black women leaders across various sectors who have led and continue to inspire change in their communities.

Photos for the exhibit were taken by Janice Reid, Jon Blak, Patricia Ellah and Leyla Jeyte.

The project is also in partnership with the Black Artists’ Networks in Dialogue Gallery and Cultural Centre.

Dis/Mantle art exhibit

Louisa Pipkin was a freedom seeker, who escaped enslavement in the United States and came to Canada where she worked as a laundress in the 1870s for the Austin family, the founders of the Dominion Bank of Canada and the homeowners of Spadina House, which is now a museum.

The Dis/Mantle art exhibit is meant to reimagine Spadina Museum using what organizers call an Afrofuturism narrative: where Pipkin is now the homeowner and the house is a safe haven for those seeking freedom through the Underground Railroad.

The group show includes soundscapes, ceramics and visual art from Canadian artists from the Afro Caribbean diaspora, including a portrait of Pipkin and a series of new portraits of members of the Black community by lead artist Gordon Shadrach.

There is also a special sit down conversation on Saturday at Spadina Museum with Shadrach and artists Christine Nnawuchi and Moraa Stump on their contributions to Dis/Mantle.

The art exhibit itself is running every Wednesday to Sunday until May 28.


KUUMBA is Toronto’s largest Black Futures Month celebration, now in its 28th year.

The program continues to support Black artists and Black culture through presenting dance, music, workshop and literary events that highlight contemporary artists and thought leaders from the Afro-diaspora in Canada.

A few of the program’s events are taking place this weekend at Harbourfront Centre.

Black Ice 

Black Ice is a documentary that examines the history of anti-Black racism in hockey.

Filmmakers say the documentary covers the segregated leagues of the 19th century to professional leagues today.

Black Ice also examines the role of Black players in Canadian hockey, from pre-NHL contributions to today’s game.

The film is showing on Friday at 8 p.m. at Harbourfront Centre Theatre.

Tickets are sold out for the showing, but people can still take a chance in a standby line to see the film. Just before the start of the event, unclaimed spots will be released to a standby line.

Latecomers may be admitted if there is capacity, at the discretion of the venue.

Still from Black Ice, 2022.

Hollywood Jade Presents: DIVA 

As part of the Harbourfront Centre’s KUUMBA programming, dancer and choreographer Hollywood Jade is putting on the drag show DIVA.

DIVA is a fully curated and choreographed show of drag artists, featuring performers who embody the classic diva they are impersonating.

The divas being impersonated include Lizzo, Whitney Houston, Prince and Tina Turner.

The show is happening Saturday from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Harbourfront Centre Theatre.

Hollywood Jade
Hollywood Jade | Photo credit: Fabian di Corcia

Road closures

Queen Street West watermain break
A break in a 150-year-old watermain on a section of Queen West forced the evacuation of some nearby residences on Thursday night.

As a result, the city has eastbound lanes on Queen Street West closed from Strachan Avenue to Walnut Avenue.

Westbound lanes are split, allowing east and west traffic.

Lanes are expected to remain reduced until Monday, as restoration of the sidewalk is required.

There are no reported injuries and all evacuated tenants relocated voluntarily.

Ongoing closures

  • Two eastbound lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard West between Stadium Road and Remembrance Drive (east intersection) are closed until Feb. 4 due to Enbridge work.
  • Two westbound lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard East between Jarvis Street and Parliament Street are closed to vehicles until Feb. 8. Two eastbound lanes along that stretch are closed to vehicle traffic from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily but are expected to reopen by noon Feb. 4. The lane restrictions are for Enbridge work.
  • University Avenue from Queen Street West to Armoury Street is reduced to a single lane in both directions due to Metrolinx work. The lane restrictions are expected to last up to four weeks.
  • Dufferin Street between Liberty Street and British Columbia Road is closed to vehicle and cyclist traffic for emergency sewer repairs. Sidewalks on both sides of Dufferin Street are open for pedestrians. Local traffic is being maintained.
  • Construction along Pape Avenue north of Danforth has been extended into February. Certain zones on and near Pape will have one lane closed between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., but the lane and direction will change depending on where construction drilling is taking place.
  • Military Trail is closed from Ellesmere Road to Highcastle Road for road rehabilitation and slope stabilization. The project completion date has been delayed to the summer.
  • Sheppard Avenue West is reduced to a single lane east of Bathurst Street for the installation of a new sanitary sewer line as part of the city’s basement flooding protection program. All work is scheduled to be complete by March.
  • Keele Street is reduced to a single lane about 100 metres north of Langstaff in Vaughan. Construction work is scheduled to finish in the spring.
  • East and Westbound Queen Street is reduced to one lane between Bay Street and Yonge Street for work on a hydro vault. Work is expected to be completed in March.
  • Northbound Yonge Street is reduced to one lane between Wellington and King Streets for TTC construction. The project is scheduled to continue into 2024.
  • Bloor Street is impacted by long-term construction, which is behind schedule, between Parliament and Sherbourne streets.

With files from Kyle Hocking and Jordan Kerr of CityNews

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