Photo: Raising the Black Liberation Flag in Toronto to mark the start of Emancipation Month. 

Photo Credit: City of Toronto Photographer 

This August, we recognize and observe Emancipation Month in Toronto. On August 1, 1834 , the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 came into effect across the British Empire emancipating more than 800,000 enslaved Africans in British controlled regions across the globe, including Canada. In 2021, the House of Commons officially designated August 1st as Emancipation Day. In Toronto, we take the entire month of August to acknowledge the legacy and history of slavery in Canada. We do so while celebrating the rich contributions that people of African descent have made to our city and country. Despite the abolition of slavery nearly 200 years ago, we recognize that legacies born out slavery are still prevalent today. Anti-Black racism is entrenched in our institutions, policies, and practices. This month highlights the continued and sustained work that must be done to create a more equitable and inclusive society to undo centuries of anti-Black practices and policies that exist at various levels of our society. Emancipation month serves as a reminder of this nation’s troubling past and an opportunity to recommit to the creation of a better future.

Adapted from Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit update.