Numerous events highlight African and Caribbean heritage during Black History Month in Guelph

GUELPH – The theme for Black History Month 2020 is “Groundbreaker. Pioneer. Trailblazer”, celebrating the worldwide contributions made by people of African and Caribbean descent.

February provides a month-long opportunity to learn more about these achievements, with events presented by the Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS).

Lantern Ale Re-IGNITED is at Royal City Brewing Company on Jan. 22.

Step out, listen to the music of DJ Emmitt and enjoy some food with a drink of Lantern Ale – a distinct artisanal brew in honour of Black History Month.

This event will feature the launch of the 2020 Black history month calendar.

Drop in from 7pm to 9pm at Royal City Brewing Company, 199 Victoria Rd S Unit C8. Free admission.

A Guelph Tribute to the Music of MOTOWN will be held at Royal City Church on Feb. 1.

As an irresistible force of social and cultural change, Berry Gordy’s legendary Motown made its mark not just on the music industry, but society at large.

Motown artists brought people together in a racially divided country and segregated society, and around the world, touching all people of all ages and races.

The tribute will feature performances by D’Eve Archer, Rufus John, Savannah Taylor, Tannis Slimmon, Jessy Bell Smith, Nicolette Hoang, Alanna Gurr, Jenny Mitchell, Transstar, Bry Webb and Steph Yates.

This talented group of musicians will be backed by the house band featuring Nick Zubeck (guitar), Tyler Wagler (bass), Thomas Hammerton (keyboards)Amadeo Ventura (percussion), Nathan Lawr (drums), Dan Gooch (trumpet), Brent Rowan (sax) and Karen Ng (sax).

Doors open at 7pm; show starts at 8pm. Tickets in advance: $25 adult, $15 student. At the door: $30 adult, $20 student. Royal City Church, 50 Quebec Street, Guelph.

To purchase tickets online:

The International African Inventors Museum (IAIM) has an exhibit at Heritage Hall on Feb. 8.

IAIM teaches people about the important contributions that Africans have made throughout history.

It is a mobile museum which features a range of African inventions.

Drop in from 10am to 6pm. Free admission. Suggested donation $10 per person. Heritage Hall, 83 Essex Street, Guelph.

In Remembrance of Me is an art exhibition at Boarding House Gallery Feb. 11-29.

It is a mixed media art installation by University of Guelph students documenting the history of the Guelph Black Heritage Society and the renovation and transformation of Heritage Hall.

“AFTERSHOCK” featuring youth art will be displayed at Capacity 3.

The opening night reception will take place Feb. 13, from 7pm to 10pm.

Admission is free.

Boarding House Gallery is at 6 Dublin Street South, Guelph.

There will be an art exhibition at Laurie McGaw Gallery on Feb. 15.

McGaw is well known for her vibrant portraits of such renowned figures as jazz artists Oscar Peterson and Gene Di Novi and film director Norman Jewison.

She is also known for award-winning illustrated books.

Her portraiture work has been featured on four collector’s coins that she has designed for the Royal Canadian Mint.

Drop in from 1pm to 4pm. Admission is free at the  Laurie McGaw Gallery, 28C Douglas Street, Guelph.

Fourth Friday at the Guelph Civic Museum, to be held on Feb. 28, will feature musical performances by Sasha Henry and Aaron Ridge.

Henry is a choir director with a passion for musical theatre, leading shows such as Dreamgirls, Hairspray, Beauty and the Beast and Mamma Mia.

She is also a resident singer for SundéSocial a monthly live music event.

Toronto-born R&B artist Ridge uses elements from a variety of musical styles and genres.

These include both classic and modern R&B, gospel, and a bit of folk.

His lyrics are catchy and his sound is smooth and effortless.

The event starts at 7pm. Admission is free at the Guelph Civic Museum, 52 Norfolk Street, Guelph.

For more information, email

Proceeds from Black History Month events will support GBHS programming and the “Freedom Project”, which promotes universal accessibility to the Heritage Hall.

Donations of labour and materials will be accepted to help offset construction costs.

The Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) is a registered charity. Tax receipts will be issued for donations.

Established in 2011, the mission of the Guelph Black Heritage Society is to restore and maintain Heritage Hall.

It was originally known as the British Methodist Episcopal (BME) Church, built in 1880 by former fugitive slaves who arrived in the area via the Underground Railroad.

The building is a cultural, historical and social community centre promoting Guelph and Wellington County’s distinctive place in Southwestern Ontario’s rich Black heritage.