February 2021 marks the 26th Anniversary of Black History Month in Canada, and Ottawa Public Library has chosen the theme “Canadian Black History in the Making” to focus on both the past and the present.  We are excited to announce a wide variety of virtual programs through February for a variety of age groups and interests.  Learn about the history of Black communities in Canada that have disappeared, attend a vegan Creole cooking class, visit with Black authors, hear members of today’s local Black community, learn how to breakdance, and more – join us for these free virtual events!  Some require registration, some are drop in. Click on the events to see details. More events will be announced. Watch for them!

Kicking off the month is an Assembly on February 2, in English and in French, a gathering of community through the art of stories for children.

Fitting with our theme “Canadian Black History in the Making”, on February 8 we are hosting an inspiring evening with a panel of youth voices from the community who will talk about their courageous leadership projects and the challenges they had to overcome.  

We have two performances by Omari Newton, “Tracking Black Canada”, on February 10 and 11, combining video, music, Slam Poetry, Hip Hop, stand up comedy to focus on the often-forgotten histories of early Black communities across our country — one performance for elementary schools, and the second for teens and young adults.

We invite children to get active at home on Saturday afternoon, February 27, by joining a virtual Streetdancing Class with local dance company Bboyizm, one in English and one in French.

Join Biba Tinga of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Canada on February 16 as she shares her first voice story that leads her to Canada. 

On February 23, join multitalented musician and chef, Spaïcy Bazile, for a cooking class in French of delicious Vegan Creole dishes.

Meet Black authors:  

On February 18, join us for an engaging discussion in French between authors Didier Leclair and Guy Bélizaire on the literature of Black Francophone authors in Canada over the past 25 years.
Meet YA authors Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite in English on February 4 and Diana Bélice in French on February 9.   

OPL staff’s Online Storytimes during the month of February will feature books related to Black authors and characters. Some branches will have themed Take Home Storytime bundles for you to pick up on your drop-in visit to the branch.

Find reading lists developed by OPL’s Content Services here. There are separate lists for Adult, YA and Children’s titles, and in both English and French. Learn and enjoy!