Supporting local businesses and celebrating diversity. Black History Month is every month!

In February, we celebrate the Black History Month. This year’s theme, Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build, commemorates the vibrant past and present contributions and accomplishments of Black people in Canada, while also seeking to embody new opportunities for the future.

IGNITE is committed to fostering an environment that embraces diversity and inclusivity and is free from all forms of discrimination and injustice. We achieve this through engaging conferences, speaking up for causes we believe in and offering scholarships.

We have a group of scholarships named Equity Scholarships, which includes the Black Excellence Scholarship. IGNITE awards five exceptional students within the Black and African community at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber. If you haven’t applied yet, there’s still time – applications are open until Feb. 29, 2024.

To honour and support Black History Month, we’ve picked a list of Black-owned businesses right here in Toronto. It’s a great way to show some local love and support the Black community in our city.

A Different Booklist

Situated in one of the culturally richest neighbourhoods in Toronto, the Annex, this award-winning black-owned bookstore stands out for more than just its book selection.

A Different Booklist is a gem that goes beyond selling books. The store holds film nights, open mics, book launches and much more. They offer a diverse selection of books by local authors and an extensive collection of African and Caribbean literature.

If you want to check out the bookstore and join in on their events, make sure to stay tuned to their website for upcoming events!

Hair Granted Beauty Supply Inc.

Right next to the Humber College North Campus, you’ll find Canada’s largest Black-owned beauty supply store.

Hair Granted Beauty Supply Inc., owned by Bahamas native Zhorrah Grant, is a go-to destination for a vast range of beauty products including hair wigs, makeup, nails – the list goes on. This beauty supply retailer is not only run but also powered by Black people.

If you are into cosmetics and looking for some great deals, don’t miss out on their Black History Month Sale – check their website for more details!

Mary’s Brigadeiro

Calling all chocolate lovers in Toronto! Get ready to embark on a sweet adventure with Mary’s Brigadeiro Handcrafted Chocolate. Originating from Brazil, Mary brings the traditional Brazilian Brigadeiro to the streets of Toronto, along with her mission to spread happiness, joy and fun.

Mary’s sweet journey began in 2014 when she moved to Canada, and in 2015, she founded Mary’s Brigadeiro. Today, the store has become one of the top chocolate destinations in Toronto.

Ready to try this traditional dessert that is rooted in Brazil’s culture? Mary’s Brigadeiro welcomes you to visit their store or check out their menu on their website.

Kids Swag

Kim West, the founder of Kids Swag and a mother of two, remembers her first pregnancy when she noticed the lack of children’s books with Black characters. She started searching online and sharing her findings with friends on Facebook; this became the inspiration for founding Kids Swag.

This kids’ store is focused on Black representation and raising confident kids who appreciate the difference. The name is a fun twist, as they describe themselves as the destination for swag to inspire swag (self-confidence). Kids Swag is inspired by Black girls and boys from around the world.

Visit their website to discover more about their story and explore accessories and toys that embody mindful representation.

Black woman painting on Black Excellence Conference.
Photo credits: IGNITE

Are you a Humber or UofGH student who is part of the Black community? You still have time to apply for the IGNITE Black Excellence Scholarship!

By the end of the month, we will be granting five students a $1000 scholarship. The selection criteria include academic standing, demonstration of leadership and community involvement and financial need.

IGNITE is committed to promoting a learning environment that is free from discrimination and that celebrates diversity.

Feature image courtesy of IGNITE

Are you looking to try some black-owned restaurants? Check our list!

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