Ontario Black History Society

Type: Historical Society

Founded in 1978, this society preserves, promotes, and celebrates the history of African-Canadians in Ontario.




  • OBHS Book Collection
  • Mary Ann Shadd Collection
  • Leonard Braithwaite Collection
  • Oral History and Video Cassette Collection
  • Collection of Newspaper clippings on historical and contemporary personalities.

The Society has extensive slide, print and negative collection for use by researchers, students, educators, businesses, community organizations, and the general public.
Research time must be booked in advance. Due to limited space at the office, researchers must call (416) 867-9420 to confirm availability of space.
A research fee of $7 for the first hour and $3 for each additional hour is charged to non-members.


A reference library including biographies, news items, and special collections on historical and contemporary personalities.

Public Programming:


The Ontario Black History Society is able to provide Black history presentations in schools and other places during February and all year. Exhibits cover the contributions made by African descendants during a 400-year period in Canada. The following exhibits are available for rent:

  • A 3-panel mounted exhibit, 4×3 panels entitled Ontario Black Heritage (22 – 4 x 3″, 66 running feet panels).
  • The McCurdy Exhibit (22 – 4 x 3″, 66 running feet panels).
  • 4 x 3 – 6 Panel entitled Black History in Ontario (free standing).
  • A 3-panel Ontario Black History table top exhibit.

Educational Programming

  • A school information kit (teachers guide for classroom).
  • Books on contemporary Afro-Canadian writers.
  • Audio-visual presentations for schools, businesses and community groups.


The society offers bus tours entitled: “Discover Black History in Toronto” to explore areas of Toronto where people of African descent lived, worked, and made significant contributions to the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario, and Canada. Guides are provided, but groups must provide their own buses.

One-Hour Tour: Covers general Black history, politics, industry and inventions. Passengers disembark once. Cost: $150.00.

Two-Hour Tour: Covers all the areas of the one-hour tour, as well as community, organizations, church life, current businesses, and contemporary personalities. Passengers may disembark twice. Cost: $175.00.

Three-Hour Tour: Expands on the two-hour tour. Passengers may disembark from the bus at four sites for approximately 15 minutes each time. Some Toronto City attractions are included. Cost: $200.00.

Customized tours can also be arranged. There are also one hour walking tours of Black historical sites in Toronto. Tours are available all year round.

Special Events

Since 1978, the society has spearheaded the celebration of Black History Month in February.


A quarterly newsletter.

Volunteer/Internship/Placement Opportunities:

The OBHS currently has openings for the following volunteer positions:

Advocacy Committee Member

* to promote the inclusion in school curricula and the broader community of Black history materials
* to monitor and respond to issues and events in a manner that promotes Black history and heritage

Budget Committee Member

* to create financial projections for the OBHS

* to handle bookkeeping matters

Fundraising Committee Member

* to provide ideas and plans to increase funding for the OBHS
* to develop sponsorship opportunities to encourage more involvement of the corporate community as part of fundraising

Leaders of Tomorrow Committee Member

* to create and carry out leadership activities and events for and by African-Canadian youth to assist them in understanding the relevance of Black history to their life endeavours and pursuits
* to select appropriate candidates for scholarships when required

Oral History/Geneaology Committee Member

* to identify and capture the stories of Canadians of African origin using various means
* to prepare replies to community or academic requests for information

Membership/Outreach/Volunteers Committee Member

* to recruit new members and volunteers
* to determine the skills needed by the OBHS and to recruit those current or potential OBHS members who have those skills to carry them out
* to encourage organizations interested in Black history to collaborate with the OBHS

Museum/Library Committee Member

* to ascertain what and where there may be books or artifacts reflecting the experience of Canadians of African origin
* to determine where the planned OBHS centre for African-Canadian history and culture might be established
* to seek support for the creation of this centre and display of these holdings

Newsletter Committee Member

* to write about historical or contemporary events and issues
* to photograph or videotape OBHS events and other historical events

Programme Committee Member

* to plan and organize educational meetings and conferences
* to handle the details of the launching event for Feb as Black History Month – the “Brunch”

Research Committee Member

* to access OBHS and other materials while researching Black historical people, places and events
* to reply to community and/or academic requests for information

Address & Contact Information:

10 Adelaide Street East, Suite 402
Toronto, ON
M5C 1J3

Phone: 416- 867-9420
Email: admin@blackhistorysociety.ca
Website: http://www.blackhistorysociety.ca

Hours of Operation:

Monday-Friday: 9:00 am. – 5:00 pm

Key Words: migration, ethnicity