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February is African Heritage Month

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB

African Chinese Heritage Month

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

- Nelson Mandela

February is African Heritage Month at the Toronto District School Board.  African Heritage Month is an opportunity for the experiences, contributions and achievements of African Canadians to be affirmed.

Throughout February, a number of activities are taking place system-wide starting with an opening celebration on Wednesday, 1 February from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm at 5050 Yonge Street, on the main floor. The keynote speaker will be the Honorable Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter. This year’s theme is “Celebrating 150 years of African Heritage.” The month will focus on the contributions peoples of African descent have made to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and the Rites of Passage Process.


Honouring the legacy of first Toronto elected official of African heritage

 

African Heritage Month 2017 may have ended on March 1st, but the historical contributions of Torontonians of African Heritage continue to be felt in our city year after year, all year long. One such individual was 19th century Toronto City Councillor, William Peyton Hubbard.


 

Born in Toronto in 1842 to parents who escaped slavery in the American South, Hubbard would go on to become Toronto’s first black City Council member. In 1894, he became the first non-white person elected to public office in any major Canadian city, running successfully for a seat as alderman on Toronto City Council in Ward 4 (an affluent area between University Avenue and Bathurst Street, from St. Clair Avenue to the Lakeshore). Hubbard would continue hold a seat on City Council through an astounding 14 further elections, and sent on the serve as acting mayor. He was instrumental in the creation of Toronto Hydro, built a lasting legacy around improving the city’s waterworks, and also served as justice of the peace for York County.

 


Hubbard made his home in the Broadview-Danforth neighbourhood, where he lived until his death from a stroke at the age of 93, in 1935. In 2004, a plaque was installed by Heritage Toronto to mark the location of Hubbard’s home on Broadview Avenue. Ten years later, members of the Riverdale community voted online to help choose a new name for the park that sits nearby at Gerrard and Broadview, in front of the old Don Jail. William Peyton Hubbard’s name was selected, and this past October the space was officially redesignated by the City of Toronto, in his honour, as Hubbard Park. Available in the Toronto Archives, the William P. Hubbard fonds contain a collection of Hubbard’s correspondence as well as scrapbooks, news clippings, and other documents created by or related to William P. Hubbard.


 

Jennifer Story is the local Trustee for the Ward 15 community that surrounds Hubbard Park. She believes it is important for all students to learn about and celebrate the history of their own city and the people who built it. “The vision, hard work and civic engagement of people like William Peyton Hubbard is what has made Toronto the vibrant, liveable city it is today. Hubbard Park is a reminder that Toronto’s diversity has always been its strength.”

 

·         Learn more about WP Hubbard

·         Learn more about Black History in Toronto and in Ontario


 


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