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Event Name Date, Time, Location Details Tickets, Price
Black History Month Kick-off

Saturday, January 28

Noon to 3:00 pm

Greater Victoria Public Library Main Branch. 735 Broughton Street

Celebrate the beginning of Black History Month with displays by BCBHAS, Victoria African Caribbean Cultural Society and the African Heritage Association. Members will be available to showcase their displays, talk about upcoming events and answer questions. 

“Just an Ordinary Lawyer” – Tayo Aluko

Thursday, Feb 2

8:00 pm

Metro Theatre

1411 Quadra Street

Intrepid Theatre presents

Just an Ordinary Lawyer: A play with songs; written & performed by Tayo Aluko

Tickets for the show are now on sale:

Tickets: $23 in advance/$25 at the door

Ticket Rocket 250-590-6291

Family-oriented Drum and Dance Workshop

Saturday, Feb 4

1:00 pm to 6:00 pm

The Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at  Oak Bay High School

2121 Cadboro Road

Featuring drum workshops and performances, African and Caribbean food, music and more!

Free, donations welcome. 

Drum and Dance Festival LIVE SHOW!

Saturday, Feb 4

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

The Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High School

2121 Cadboro Road

You won’t want to miss this live show featuring a variety of world-class African musicians, dancers and artists, including a special guest from Vancouver: Jacky Esombé.

The Live Show starts at 6:00 pm tickets are $25.00 available through

 VACCS Events Tickets

The Mystery of Grafton Tyler Brown: Race, Art and Landscape in 19th Century British Columbia. 

Saturday, Feb 4

3:00 pm to 4:30 pm

University of Victoria Legacy Gallery. 630 Yates Street

Afternoon presentation about BC’s first black professional artist; with UVIC History Department Chair John Lutz and writer and art historian, Robert Chandler.  Light refreshments provided.

Shady Creek Church Service

Sunday, Feb 5

10:00 am

Shady Creek Church

7162 West Saanich Road, Brentwood Bay

Karen Hoshal will be holding a Black History Service at the Shady Creek Church.  The service begins at 10:15 a.m.  All are welcomed to attend. Church offering
Ross Bay Cemetery Tour rain or shine

Sunday, Feb 12

2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Ross Bay Cemetery Meet in front of Oregano’s at the Fairfield Shopping Centre.

1516 Fairfield Rd.

** Please arrive 10 minutes before the tour start time.

A guided tour of the graves of the black pioneers and others, including Sir James Douglas. Hosted by John Adams of the Old Cemeteries Society and Valin Marshall of the BC Black History Awareness Society.


$2.00 for Old Cemetery Society  & BCBHAS Members

Film screening and panel discussion about racism in the fashion industry.

Saturday, Feb 18

3:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Ecole Victor-Brodeur

673 Head Street, Esquimalt Rd.

Screening and panel discussion of “The Colour of Beauty”, a compelling short documentary that examines racism in the fashion industry.

A light dinner will be served.


VACCS Events Tickets

Heritage Day with displays, Guest Speaker and exciting performance by the “Mbira Spirit”!

Sunday, Feb 19

2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Cook Street Activity Centre

380 Cook Street

Displays, information, artefacts and an opportunity to meet and talk with members of the Society and representatives from the Victoria Genealogical Society, Old Cemeteries Society, Saanich Pioneers Society, the Victoria African-Caribbean Cultural Society (VACCS) and African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island  (AHAVI)

 Featured Speaker: Karen Hoshal: a descendant of the Alexander Pioneer Family, shares stories about her ancestors and other B.C. Black Pioneers. 

Performance by Mbira Spirit—country classics, blues, reggae, folk, gospel, spiritual and traditional with an African Twist! 

By Donation
Film Screening and Discussion “For Jackson: A Time Capsule” from his 2 grandmothers.

Saturday, Feb 25

2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

1040 Moss Street.

Leila Sujir wrote and directed the film "FOR JACKSON:  A TIME CAPSULE.  This moving portrait incorporates interviews, family footage and archival materials to recount history through two grandmothers, Rosemary Brown (1930-2003) and Ruth Horricks-Sujir (born 1925). The documentary is intended as a time capsule for Jackson, their 7-year-old grandson.

Rosemary Brown was the first Black woman elected to public office in Canada (in the BC legislature, starting in 1972) and later served as Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. She received the Order of Canada and the Order of Jamaica.

Admission by donation. 

**Limited seating

Black History Month GALA and Community Recognition Awards  

Saturday, Feb 25

6:00 pm to 12:30 am

Cedar Hill Recreation Centre Auditorium.  3220 Cedar Hill Road

Dress to impress and enjoy entertainment, light dining, awards ceremony and dancing; celebrating community accomplishments. 

Early-bird tickets until Jan 15, 2017: $15.00

Regular price is $25.00

VACCS Events Tickets

Belfry Theatre: Spoken Word, Jazz, Blues and Passion!

This event is sponsored by the Greater Victoria Public Library, Belfry Theatre and BCBHAS.

Monday, Feb 27

7:00 pm

Belfry Theatre

1291 Gladstone Ave.

Ann-Bernice Thomas, Victoria’s

2016 Youth Poet Laureate uses her voice to rally social change with themes of immigration, identity, feminism, sexual education, mental health, and racism.

Maureen Washington and trio passionately delivering soulful jazz and blues; she has won several awards including 2014 Black Canadian Award's Best Jazz and Soul Artist and 2011 & 2013 & 2014 Monday Magazine’s Jazz and Blues Artist of the Year.  

By Donation 
“Performing Race” by three local artists

Friday, March 10

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

University of Victoria Legacy Gallery

630 Yates Street

Three local artists, Charles Campbell, Kemi Craig and Ann-Bernice Thomas respond to the story of Grafton Tyler Brown, BC’s first black professional artist. Light refreshments provided. Free





Climate Change, Racism & the UN Conference in Paris. What is their Connection?

Presentation and conversation with Beth Cruise, UN Delegate

Sunday, April 16th at 2:00 pm 

Victoria Central Library - Community Meeting Room 

735 Broughton Street 

Beth Cruise Poster




























 About Beth ...

After growing up as a teenager on B.C.’s west coast lighthouses, Beth went onto an MA at the University of Alberta.  She has been self-employed with an interesting array of jobs such as carpentry; designing, creating and installing huge theatrical art pieces for recreation facilities on the mainland; windsurfing instructor, wedding photographer, theatre improvisation teacher, production, direction and set design (eg. St. Luke’s, Fringe Festival, Langham Court).

For the past fifteen years, Beth has been Founder and Executive Director of the Canadian Earth Institute which offered sustainability discussion courses and natural building hands-on workshops.  She has her Permaculture Design Certification and is an avid gardener.

She has been an active member for twenty years, a certified Teacher, and a Journal Editor for the international organization, Sustaining All Life (SAL). SAL is dedicated to ending the destruction of the environment throughout the world, offering a system of ongoing mutual support in which people can free each other from the patterns that keep us damaging the earth.  With the majority of the people in the world being people of colour, ending racism is integral to the work of SAL.

Beth has attended conferences with SAL and its parent organization, Re-Evaluation Counseling (RC), in the Netherlands, France, Poland, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. RC is a world-wide organization on seven continents and in ninety-one countries.  In 2013, she organized an International Leaders Environment Conference in Vancouver BC with one hundred and twenty delegates and translation for twelve countries. 


This Learning Centre has been implemented to assist educators who are interested in promoting cross-cultural education both within and outside the formal school curriculum.  
The goals of the Learning Centre are:
• To increase community awareness of the historical, economic and social contributions of Blacks in B.C.; and
• To stimulate and enrich cognitive and emotional development of students by drawing on historical perspectives and everyday experiences; and
• To identify realities and dispel myths concerning Black pioneer settlers in B.C.; and
• To recognize the dimensions of cultural diversity and its impact on the community; and
• To expand student’s understanding of the role of Blacks as pioneer settlers through an appreciation of the historical images and important contributions they have made, and are making, in B.C.


Events and more ...

Plans are underway for Black History Month 2018! Check back for details about the entertainment, performers, displays, speakers and annual favorites.


TBA:  Installation of Commemmorative Plaque to honor Mifflin Wistar Gibbs at Irving Park in James Bay.  Gibbs, a Victoria pioneer and the first black person to hold elected office in B.C. was honored with a bronze plaque unveiled as part of BCBHAS Heritage Day on February 19, 2017.  The plaque commemorates Mifflin Gibbs as a person of national historic significance.    

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Grafton Tyler Brown was a cartographer, lithographer, and painter and is considered the first professional Black artist in the Pacific North West.  He lived and worked in B.C. from 1882 to 1885 and owned a studio in Victoria. 

Doug Hudlin is an Alexander Family descendant, founding member of our Society, love of baseball and a well-remembered and respected umpire.  Doug was inducted into the B.C. Baseball Umpires Association Hall of Fame in 2011 and will be inducted posthumously into the Canadiam Baseball Hall of Fame this summer. 

John Craven Jones is the younger brother of William Alan Jones, the Barkerville Dentist.  John Craven Jones was the 1st and only school teacher on Salt Spring Island for 10 years.  He taught 25 students in 2 separate schools.

Emma Stark is the oldest daughter of Syliva Stark.  She was just a child when the Starks arrived on Salt Spring Island.  She attended 1 of John Craven's schools.  She attended high school in Nanaimo and went on to obtain a teaching certificate and taught at Cedar School near Nanaimo.  She was the 1st female black teacher in the Province.


Welcome to the B.C. Black History Awareness Society  The society was formed in February 1994 to celebrate achievements of black pioneers in British Columbia.  Our goals now include promoting diversity and inclusion and providing opportunities to bring together diverse groups of people.

Rosie Jones and Joan Cook Memorial Bursary to provide financial assistance for students at Camosun College who have a heritage background.

Black Pioneers 1859 - 1870 invited by Sir James Douglas; they were not runaway slaves arriving by an underground railway but free men and women seeking a place where they could raise their families without fear, educate their children, practice their professions, enjoy the results of their hard work.

Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  For over 400 years, more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims of a tragic transatlantic slave trade, one of the darkest chapters in human history.

Black History Canada An annotated guide to online resources on the history of Canada's black communities

When you join Greater Victoria's BC Black History Awareness Society you join a community of people with an interest in history generally and B.C. Black History in particular. It's a great way to meet people, especially for those new to Vancouver Island. We provide educational and social activities and when you become activiely involved in our events there are opportunities to develop and gain knowledge in several areas.   

Annual Membership fees are $20/year for singles, $25/year for couples, $30/year for a family, and $50.00.year for Businesses.

You can download the membership form here.  If you need to download the free Acrobat Reader to read the PDF click here.

Make cheques payable to the BC Black History Awareness Society.

Mail form and cheque to: BC Black History Awareness Society - Membership 
389 Atkins Avenue
Victoria B.C. V9B 3A1

Contact the Society's President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.