Black History Month launched at city hall Feb. 1 with music, poetry and dance in front of a standing-room only crowd gathered in council chambers.
The celebration, emceed by Vision Vancouver park board commissioner Constance Barnes, included the reading of an official proclamation by Mayor Gregor Robertson, which was presented to Nalda Callendar, executive director of the National Congress of Black Women Foundation, to mark the group’s 20th anniversary.
The event also included readings from the recently released Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry, including one by the book’s co-editor Kevan Anthony Cameron, aka “Scruffmouth.”
Canada Post also unveiled two new stamps at the event to mark Black History Month, including one honouring Montreal-born jazz pianist Oliver Jones and another recognizing Vancouver’s first lifeguard, Joe Fortes.
In celebration of Black History Month, the city also partnered with the Vancouver International Film Festival to present movie screenings and performances, including the premiere of Salty Dog Blues Feb. 7 at 7 p.m., and Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae, Feb. 11 at the Vancouver International Film Centre, 1181 Seymour St. For a full schedule of screenings, visit viff.org.
As well, the sixth annual Pan-African Slam takes place Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. at Calabash Bistro, 426 Carrall St. If the poetry readings we heard at city hall are any indication, this evening of poetry and music promises to be a good one.
Meanwhile on Feb. 16, the Roundhouse Community Centre presents, Black History Month: Hold Onto Your Tongue from noon to 4 p.m. Hold Onto Your Tongue is an annual community event in celebration of International Mother Language Day. Everyone is welcome to take part and experience music, storytelling, art, exhibits and food that celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity.
For more information and a list of city events, times and tickets visit vancouver.ca/news and search for “Black History Month.”
The CIBC Lunar Fest lights up the Vancouver Art Gallery Feb. 15 to 17 with lanterns, dancing and music.
This free event celebrates the start of the Lunar New Year, which in 2013 marks the Year of the Snake. New this year is Dumpling Fest, featuring dumplings from various Asian countries. For more information, visit lunarfest.org/2013.
The Year of the Snake will also be celebrated at Granville Island, where a procession takes place Feb. 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The procession will wind its way throughout the public market and Net Loft, and weather permitting, Creekhouse and Railspur Alley.
One of the most popular of this city’s Lunar New Year events has to be the annual parade, which this year takes place at 11 a.m. Feb. 17.
This is the 40th anniversary of the parade, which this year is longer than ever and includes more than 3,000 participants, so it’s expected to take at least two and a half hours. Watch for lion dancers, martial arts performances, marching bands and more.
For more information and a route map, visit cbavancouver.ca.