February 1, 2023 - February 24, 2023

For over 25 years, February has been referred to as Black History Month in Canada, following a motion introduced by the Honourable Jean Augustine – the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament. It is the month in which we celebrate the contributions that Black historical figures have made to our society. Names like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. – and more recently, Viola Desmond – are well ingrained in our minds. Celebrating the past has always been the focal point of Black History Month.

The Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) will be celebrating our 3rd Annual Black HERITAGE Month in February 2023.  This month will commemorate past and present accomplishments within the Black community and set sights on our bright future ahead.  While we will continue to acknowledge the resilience and bravery of those who came before us, we must recognize that Black history and experiences are much more than the narrative of enslavement.  The GBHS calls on the community to honour our past, celebrate today, and look toward the future.

The GBHS will also be observing Black Vacation Week during February 2023. Black Vacation Week is an initiative launched by Kween at The Kween Company in efforts to create time and space for Black individuals during Black Heritage Month (BHM). Black Vacation Week runs the last Monday of the month until the end of February. Recognizing the depth of planning events, hosting and the amount of work that is done over BHM, it is often that Black people do not get the time off or time needed to connect with their community.

While Black Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and recognize the achievements of Blackness here on Turtle Island, for years it has come with the expectation for Black people to educate, work and give time on top of their regular day-to-day lives. And celebrating Black heritage isn’t just one month – but all year long.  Black Vacation Week is to encourage our Black community to take time for themselves: to heal, to travel, to eat, to dance, to spend time with one another, and to just be. Black Heritage Month can still exist in all entities, but this initiative allows for us to strive for braver space for our people during this month.

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

  • Flag Raising, Open House & Heritage Hall Tours – Wednesday February 1, 2023
  • “Our Stories. Our History. Our Heritage.” Exhibit Opening at Wellington County Museum and Archives – Saturday February 4, 2023
  • “Songs of Sunya” Immersive Theatre Experience. In-person at Heritage Hall and online – Thursday February 9, 2023
  • Canvas ‘n Cocktails. In-person at Heritage Hall – Thursday February 16, 2023
  • Fourth Friday Concert featuring Shane Philips at Guelph Civic Museum Friday – February 24, 2023


 Event Descriptions:

Flag Raising & Open House – Wednesday February 1, 2023 @ 11am, Heritage Hall (in-person)
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.

The African Nova Scotia flag was introduced in February 2021 and created by artist Wendie L. Wilson.  The flags colours of red, gold and green are used by people of African descent across the world. Red symbolising the sacrifice African Nova Scotian people have endured, gold represents cultural richness and green for fertility, growth and future generations.  The symbol at the flags centre is Wilson’s own interpretation of the African Adinkra symbol “Sankofa” meaning “go back and fetch it”. The Sankofa bird represents the spirit of the African Nova Scotians, a resilient people who have never forgotten their history and continue to build on lessons learned in the past to create a new future.


Our Stories. Our History. Our Heritage. Exhibit Opening– Saturday February 4, 2023 @ 1:30pm to 3:00 pm, Wellington County Museum and Archives, 536 Wellington County Road 18, Fergus (in-person)

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 on out and check out the exhibit and enjoy refreshments.


“Songs of Sunya” Table Read – Thursday February 9, 2023 @6:30 pm (in-person and online)

Join us for an immersive theatre experience as 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!!

The Sunya is a fantasy realm created by Adam H.C. Myrie, born out of his passion for the multiplicity of cultures and civilizations that inhabited the content of Africa. Taking inspiration from different civilizations in different time periods, ranging from a stone age history to the magnificent palaces of the middle ages, the stories of this world tell the many tales that make up the history of an ancient people and their many tribes.

The Sunya is an ancient land with thousands of years of history. It is a diverse land with high, majestic mountains, scorching deserts, and seemingly endless swaying grasslands. Its people are passionate, spiritual, and courageous. Over the many millenia, the Sunsha, the people that make up the many clans and tribes of the Sunya, struggle against the elements and themselves to grow, develop, and build a relationship with their gods and their ancestors. Walk with them through these stories as they tell us of their many great heroes, who saw themselves through the kinds of trials and tribulations that create legends.

Adam H.C. Myrie is an award winning writer with decades of experience writing for the stage, print, and online publications. Adam draws from his love of African history, medieval poetry, and the great writings of antiquity as inspiration for his work.  Adam is also a performer of traditional African storytelling, recounting the great deeds of ancient heroes and sharing ancient knowledge through the retelling of stories passed down countless generations. Adam is a founding member of the Historical African Martial Arts Association, and regularly produces articles on African history. A lover of history and martial arts, he has taught workshops on the martial traditions of North Africa, including Modern Tahtib, El Matreg, and North African Saber both in Canada and the  United States.

Free admission.  Suggested donation $10 per person or a donation for the Chalmers Centre.

To register:


Canvas ‘n Cocktails – Thursday February 16, 2023 @6:30 pm (in-person)

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 combine art and wellness, putting our emotions into motion.  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.  This guided movement meditation will work through self-love, compassionate healing and community energy connection.  This will be a slow form movement and breath meditation ending with stillness and connection to earth and body.

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).

Alana Decker, art name A. Decker, is a proud Black female Canadian, residing in Cambridge, Ontario. Born from British and Jamaican parents. She is a wife and mother of 4 children artists.  She’s always had a love for art and fashion but was truly inspired to showcase her talent to the world during the beginning of theCOVID-19 pandemic. Alana realized how therapeutic painting and drawing felt and it has now become a daily routine. Her work is inspired by her heritage, her perception of beauty, strength, love, happiness and music. Alana loves combining art with quotes, every piece she’s created has meaning.  Alana always says “Art brings me happiness, what doesn’t make sense with spoken words, forms clarity when my paint brush touches the canvas.”

Free admission.  Suggested donation $20 per person.

To register:


Fourth Friday at the Guelph Museum – Friday February 24, 2023 @ 7pm, Guelph Museum

Featuring a musical performance by Shane Philips. Philips’ career as an artist has spanned the last 30 years from his first cassette tape release in 1990 and then to six CD’s from 1996 to 2016. During this time Philips toured North America as a singer and performer playing original music while performing in a lead role as “Sammy Davis Jr.” in the musical “The Rat Pack” which toured Germany, Austria and Dubai. Fast forward to 2019, Philips later completed a “Harry Belafonte” musical tribute which toured Quebec.

Shane’s path as an artist traveling the world inspired him to use music for positive change devoting time and energy to activism promoting human rights, veteran affairs, social and environmental change. Early on in 2002 one of his songs was adopted by the York Regional School Board for an anti-drinking and driving campaign and then in 2011 Shane began his personal journey as a water activist walking not only once but twice from his hometown of Guelph Ontario to Queen’s Park in Toronto to highlight issues of equity when it came to local and global water rights. He eventually volunteered his time in the summer of 2021 “Ear to the Ground Water” campaign which connected communities all over Ontario through series of walks in solidarity for water protection and First Nations rights. Philips currently continues to produce and record new music while singing in renowned venues including The Reservoir Lounge.


Event starts at 7 pm.  Free admission, Guelph Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street, Guelph.


Lantern Ale at Royal City Brewing Company, 199 Victoria Road S, Guelph

Lantern Ale is back at Royal City Brewing Company!  Stop by Royal City Brewing Company and get your Lantern Ale – a distinct artisanal brew in honour of Black Heritage Month.  Lanterns, prior to and during the American Civil War, were used as beacons by ‘safe’ houses along the ‘Underground Railroad’ which was a network of people and paths that helped enslaved individuals escape to freedom and to the Queen’s Bush settlement just north of Guelph.  The lantern was not only a sign of a safe haven but a symbol of hard-won freedom.   Feel the love of the lantern and raise a glass to freedom with us. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the GBHS.


For more information, email info@guelphblackheritage.ca


Proceeds from Black HERITAGE Month events will go towards the Give a Cup Capital Campaign.  The mission of the Give A Cup Campaign is freedom.  Free us from our mortgage so that we will be able to allocate additional resources towards our on-going #ChangeStartsNow Education Initiative. The #ChangeStartsNow Education Initiative provides educational programming on Black history and culture as well as relevant resources on diversity, discrimination, and anti-racism.