Contemporary Culture


Image: Oscar Peterson (courtesy Canada Post Corporation)

Image: Charles Officer, actor/filmmaker (John Price)

Image: Measha Brueggergosma, soprano (Cylla von Tiedmann)

Image: Afua Cooper, author (Ian Gibbons)

Image: k-os, hip-hop artist (Jamalski)

Image: Georges Laraque, former NHL player

Image: Michael “Pinball” Clemons

Multimedia Activity: What’s Your Story?

As she writes names into the historic “Book of Negroes” ledger, Aminata says: “It excited me to imagine that fifty years later, someone might find an ancestor in the Book of Negroes and say, ‘That was my grandmother.’”

The “Book of Negroes” has been used to trace the heritage of Black Canadians. Log on to Ancestry.ca to trace your own family history.

Contact The Historica-Dominion Institute and receive complimentary membership to Ancestry.ca for your school library or computer labs.

Before beginning your own research, consider the following important information about evaluating sources:

Now you are ready to map your own family’s history. Use some of the following tools to map the story of your ancestors:

These additional resources may be of interest in your research:

Pluralism and Diversity

A pluralistic and diverse society is one in which people from a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds co-exist. Canada has worked to develop such a society, but it did not happen overnight.

Resources on Black Canadian contributions.

Additional resources on Black Canadian involvement in the arts

In Groups

Think about what these words mean and in what ways they are reflected in Canada. Are there any specific examples that show Canada’s pluralism?

  1. Read the introduction to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In what ways does it protect the rights of minorities?
  2. In what respects do you think Canada need to increase its diversity? How could this be achieved?
  3. In what ways does pluralism and diversity give strength to Canada?
  4. Compare Canada of 1910 to the Canada of 2010. In terms of experiences for Black Canadians, how have things changed?

You can consider some of the following resources in your research:

Activity: Black History Month

“That this House take note of the important contribution of black Canadians to the settlement, growth and development of Canada, the diversity of the black community in Canada and its importance to the history of this country, and recognize February as black history month.”
Jean Augustine, MP, in the House of Commons, Dec. 14, 1995

Black History Month has been celebrated in Canada since 1996. In groups of four or five discuss the following questions:

  1. Is Black History Month needed? What are its benefits?
  2. Do you know of other countries that celebrate Black History Month?
  3. What types of activities would you say are best suited to celebrating this day? Create a list of five activities.
  4. Find a news article that deals with Black history or Black History Month and share it with the class.

Writing Activity

  1. Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper reminding readers of the importance of Black History Month. In your letter include two references to historical events or people to bolster the strength of the letter.
  2. Write a one-page event plan for a program celebrating Black History Month. Consider some of the following aspects:
    • Guest list
    • Possible performances
    • Keynote speakers
    • Location

More information on the celebration of Black History month in Canada.