Each February, we are proud to recognize Black History Month by official proclamation.
Black History Month provides us with the opportunity to celebrate and learn about the many achievements, investments, and contributions of Vancouver’s Black and African diasporic communities, even while these communities have endured historical and continuing inequality, oppression, and erasure.
The City of Vancouver recognizes that it has played a role in perpetuating discrimination against Black and African diaspora communities and is committed to addressing anti-Black racism in all its forms. We must make a consistent effort to acknowledge, empower, and value the perspectives and experiences of all individuals in the Black community every day.
What's happeningBlack History Month 2024
Support Black-owned businesses
For this year's Black History Month, we are shining a spotlight on Black-owned businesses in Vancouver.
Watch our new video series highlighting Black entrepreneurs External website, opens in new tab and spend with intention.
Illumination of City Hall and Burrard Bridge
On February 1, City Hall and Burrard Bridge will be illuminated black, red, green, and gold in honour of Black History Month.
Map of Black-owned businesses
The Black Business Association of BC maintains a database of Black-owned businesses. It showcases restaurants, stores, and a variety of different businesses all founded by Black entrepreneurs.
Black history in Vancouver
BC has a rich Black history dating back to Canada’s colonial origins. In 1858, nearly 800 free Black people left the oppressive racial conditions of San Francisco for a new life on Vancouver Island. These pioneers enriched the socio-economic life in their community, overcoming intense discrimination and adversity. From the 1920s to the 1960s, Vancouver’s Black Community clustered in the East End, with its nucleus at a site known as Hogan’s Alley, and became a thriving Black community and cultural hub.
In 1967, the decision to expand the highway system through Vancouver resulted in the expropriation of land and buildings in this area to make way for the construction of the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts, resulting in the loss of homes and businesses. The Black Community was uprooted from this area and an identifiable Black neighbourhood has not re-emerged in Vancouver.
Black History Month was recognized by the Government of Canada in the House of Commons in 1995. The motion was introduced by the Honourable Jean Augustine, the first Black Canadian woman elected to parliament. Vancouver City Council passed a motion in 2011, designating Black History Month one of its official celebrations. Every February, we celebrate the history, contributions, and culture of Black Canadians.
- Hogan's Alley External website, opens in new tab
- Hogan's Alley Society External website, opens in new tab
- The Canadian Encyclopedia – Black History in Canada External website, opens in new tab
- BC's Black Pioneers: Their Industry and Character Influenced the Vision of Canada External website, opens in new tab
- To understand BC’s Black history, connect past and present External website, opens in new tab
- The New African Diaspora in Vancouver: Migration, Exclusion and Belonging, by Gillian Creese External website, opens in new tab
- Secret Vancouver: Return to Hogan’s Alley (video) External website, opens in new tab
- BC’s Black Pioneer Women, the Tyee External website, opens in new tab
- Massy Books: Black History Month book list External website, opens in new tab
- Black Business Global: Black-owned business directory External website, opens in new tab
Issue date: January 29, 2024
This year, Canada Post’s 2024 Black History Month stamp commemorates the achievements and legacy of educator, lawyer, and abolitionist Mary Ann Shadd.
As the founder of The Provincial Freeman newspaper, Mary Ann Shadd (1823 to 1893) was the first Black woman to edit and publish a newspaper in North America.
- Canada Post's article about Mary Ann Shadd External website, opens in new tab
- Canada Post's tribute video to Mary Ann Shadd External website, opens in new tab