Celebrating Black History Month

Black History month blog header featuring a woman in front of a graphic background

Every February, we unite with communities across Canada to honour and celebrate the legacy and contributions of Black Canadians and their communities. The roots of Black History Month trace back to 1979 when the City of Toronto initiated it in Canada. Subsequently, Nova Scotia and Ontario embraced the tradition in the years thereafter, leading to its national recognition in 1995, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Jean Augustine, the first Black woman elected to the House of Commons.

While acknowledging the importance of recognizing Black history throughout the year, February serves as a dedicated focal point to spotlight the often-overlooked contributions and histories of Black individuals and communities in Canada and around the world. Dr. Augustine's motion emphasized the need to move beyond narratives of oppression, urging us to also celebrate the diverse stories and cultures that shape the vibrant tapestry of Black history.

At YMCA Calgary, we believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential pillars of creating vibrant and thriving communities where everyone can shine. We understand that our commitment to acknowledging Black history extends beyond just observation. We recognize the imperative to challenge and combat anti-Black racism throughout the entire year while celebrating Black stories and cultures.  

From educational initiatives to cultural celebrations, join us this month as we amplify the voices and stories that have contributed significantly to the rich mosaic of Canada's history through various events.

Attend a free event at a YMCA Calgary branch this February:  

Syd the Artiste Live Painting  

Join Sydonne Warren, renowned Calgary artist, in the atrium as she paints a masterpiece right before your eyes.

  • February 3: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM at Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton
  • February 19: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM at Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge

Hip Hop Dance Classes

Find your confidence and learn how to move your body in new ways with this lively hip hop class.

  • February 17: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM at Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge
  • February 17: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM at Saddletowne YMCA
  • February 24: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM at Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton 

Afro Jazz Dance Classes 

Afro-Jazz Style combines the modern form of dance with its original African ethnic roots. The dance focuses more on rhythm and improvisation.

  • February 15: 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM at Shawnessy YMCA
  • February 16: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM at Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge
  • February 25: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM at Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton
  • February 26: 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM at Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot
  • February 28: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM at Remington YMCA in Quarry Park
  • February 29: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM at Saddletowne YMCA
Afrobeat Dance Workshop

Join us for the Woezo Africa Afrobeat Dance Workshop!

  • February 17: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM at Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge

Teen Vibe Youth Events for Ages 12 and Up 


  • February 22: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM at Saddletowne YMCA
Attend an online event:

Learn about programs for Black people by Black people. This one-hour conversation will benefit everyone. Together, we will explore ways individuals live and work by the Ubuntu philosophy which is that each of us is part of a larger and significant society and that by connecting we can improve the world around us.

  • February 20: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Attend a community event around Calgary:

The DAILY Network | Celebration of Black History Month: Rooted in Resilience, Rising in Unity

February 2 at 6:00 PM

BCW Calgary | Black History Month Brunch

February 3 at 10:00 AM  

Calgary Black Chambers | 2nd Annual Black History Month Dinner  

February 9 at 5:30 PM

Ethnik Festival of Arts and Culture 2024

February 9 & 10

Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council | Celebrating Black History Month Event

February 6 at 2:00 PM

Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre | UNGANISHA Film Screening & Panel Discussion

February 24 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM

Calgary Library & Chinook Country Historical Society | Jon Cornish: Power and Privilege in an Intersectional Life

February 13 at 7:00 PM


Read Black authors

Black History Month

Children’s Books for Black History Month

Black History Month for School-Aged Kids

Birth to 5 – Books for Black History Month


Watch or screen films by Black Canadian film-makers

Top Black Canadian Filmmakers and where to watch their films

10 Great Films for Black History Month


Expand your knowledge

Black on the Prairies | CBC

Black History in Canada | The Canadian Encyclopedia

Black History Is About More Than Oppression | LaGarrett J. King

Black Studies programs you should know about | Toronto Star

Why the Black struggle in Canada has all but been erased. Two historians explain our blind spot. | Toronto Star