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Black Heritage Society to host inaugural Emancipation Day Jamboree this summer (UPDATED)

Proceeds from this event will go towards the #ChangeStartsNow initiative
20170729 heritage ts 1
Verese Vassell-Bowen performs at the Guelph Black Heritage Society's Emancipation Day event Saturday, July 29, 2017. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday

Update: This event was previously scheduled for Downtown Guelph. It has since been relocated to Exhibition Park.

The Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) is hosting an inaugural Emancipation Day Jamboree at Exhibition Park on Aug. 1.

The GBHS celebrates Emancipation Day, to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people of African descent. In 2008, Ontario officially declared Aug. 1 Emancipation Day in the province. We take this time to reflect on the devastations that preceded us and celebrate the courage that allowed following generations to embrace a freedom that many others could only dream.

Come celebrate with us and enjoy drumming, dancing, live music, spoken word and cultural foods!

The Jamboree will start at 3 p.m. and will go to approximately 7p.m. Suggested donation of $10 per person. 

  • Learn Caribbean Dance Movements – Soca with Kween.
    Soca with Kween celebrates Caribbean and African Culture combining soca, dancehall, and afro music to help get your body moving. This is a fast-moving, fun-cardio, “spiritual” time to trace traditional dancehall steps bringing it into modern day soca while learning rhythmic moves. Bring your runners and YOUR RAG (a small rag or flag, nothing larger than a cloth napkin) and get ready to dance!  
  • Learn about Emancipation Day and Enjoy a Spoken Word Performance  
  • Get Caught up in the Rhythm with an African Drum Performance by Jeffrey Cummings, Gerima Harvey & Emmitt Leacock  
  • Dance to the music of DJ Ess 
  • Try a taste of the Caribbean with food from Big Jerk Smoke House.  
  • Cool down with ice pops and beverages from Laza Food & Beverage.
    Laza will donate $0.50 from each item sold on August 1st to GBHS!  
  • Event will be broadcast live on CFRU 93.3 community radio.

Safety Guidelines that must be followed to attend the Emancipation Day Jamboree: 

  • If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home.  
  • You MUST wear a mask. Please wear one that covers your nose and mouth.  
  • Maintain social distancing of 2 meters from each other.

Proceeds from Emancipation Day Jamboree will go towards the #ChangeStartsNow education initiative. #ChangeStartsNow will provide educational programming on Black history and culture as well as relevant resources on diversity, discrimination and anti-racism.

Established in 2011, the mission of the Guelph Black Heritage Society is to restore and maintain Heritage Hall, originally known as the British Methodist Episcopal (BME) Church, built in 1880 by former fugitive slaves who arrived in the area via the Underground Railroad. The building is a cultural, historical and social community centre serving to promote Guelph and Wellington County's distinctive place in Southwestern Ontario's rich Black heritage.

Email [email protected] for more information.



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