The Black presence in Toronto dates all the way back to 1799, when 15 Blacks were enumerated in the town of York (Toronto’s original name). By 1837 there were about 50 families of refugees in Toronto, many of them engaged in trades such as shoemaking and blacksmithing.

Today more than half of Canada's Black population lives in the metropolitan area of Toronto, representing 7% of the city’s total population in 2001 and its third largest visible minority. More than half of the Blacks in Toronto are foreign born and of those about three-quarters are from the Caribbean, mainly Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

The most visible celebration of the Black community in Toronto is the Caribana festival, which was created in 1967 as a community heritage project for Canada's Centennial year. The festival now also includes the music, dance, food and costumes of Jamaica, Guyana, the Bahamas, and other Black cultures represented in Toronto.

Me and the City That’s Never Happened Before
About the Black experience in inner city Toronto. From the website for "Canadian Poetry Press."

Celebrate Black History Month with Toronto's historic museums
A listing of Black History Month events in Toronto. From the City of Toronto's Culture Division.

The Underground Railroad: Next Stop Toronto
Read excerpts from this book at

Chronicling a City's Past
Lists some of the noteworthy Black Canadians buried in Toronto's historic Necropolis cemetery. From the Imperial Oil Review.

Thornton and Lucie Blackburn House
About the enterprising Blackburn family, formerly-enslaved Americans who fled to Canada in the 19th century. From Lost River Walks.

Thornton and Lucie Blackburn
Read about Thornton and Lucie Blackburn in this article from the website.