1605 – Mathieu Da Costa is believed to be the first black in Canada
1709 – Louis XIV authorizes slavery in New France
May 10, 1776 – Black Corporations formed: The British offer land, freedom and rights in exchange for service during the American Revolution, 1775-1783
July 26-27, 1784 – Canada’s first race-riot in Nova Scotia
1790 – The Imperial Statute allows settlers to bring slaves to Upper Canada
1790s – The Black Loyalists leave for Africa due to discrimination.
June 19, 1793 – Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe’s anti-slave trade bill passes
1812-1815 – Blacks volunteer to fight for the British during the War of 1812.
1815-1860 – The Underground Railroad brings tens of thousands of blacks to refuge in Canada
August 28, 1833 – British Parliament abolishes slavery
February 26, 1851 – Formation of the Canadian Anti-Slavery Society
November 16, 1857 – William Neilson Hall becomes the first black to win the Victoria Cross
1866 – Mifflin Gibbs becomes the first black politician in Canada
July 5,1914 – A Canadian all-black battalion is formed, the No. 2 Construction Battalion
1939-1945 – Black Canadians serve in the Second World War
March 14, 1944 – Ontario passes Racial Discrimination Act
November 8, 1946 – Black woman, Viola Desmond, arrested for sitting in theatre’s “White Section”
September 25, 1963 – Leonard Braithwaite becomes the first black elected to a Canadian Parliament
October 1971 – Prime Minister Trudeau introduces Canada’s Multicultural Policy
1971 – African-Canadian sprinter, Harry Jerome, receives Order of Canada
August 6, 1995 – Donovan Bailey becomes “World’s Fastest Human”
September 27, 2005 – The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean becomes Canada’s first black governor general
November 15, 2017– Donovan Bailey and Viola Desmond inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame
November 19, 2018 – Viola Desmond $10 bill enters circulation
2020 – increased awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement
(This timeline has been adapted from: 1) Black History Canada. (2014). Black history timeline. Retrieved from http://www.blackhistorycanada.ca/timeline.php?id=1600. And 2) Canadian Encyclopedia. (2021). Timeline: Black history. Retrieved from: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/timeline/black-history See this website for more events and detail.)
February is recognized as Black History Month.
Black History Month originated in the United States. It started as Negro History Week in 1926 and later became Black History Month 50 years later in 1976.
In Canada, Black History Month was first recognized by the House of Commons in December 1995. This motion was brought forward by the Honourable Jean Augustine, the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to the House of Commons.
Black History Month was later recognized by Senate in March 2008 following a motion by Senator Donald Oliver, the first black man to be appointed to Canada’s Senate.
Government of Canada. 2009. About Black History Month. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/multiculturalism/black/background.asp.
This guide was originally created by Chuck Harris.