Nova Scotia

Black organizations hold Grand Emancipation Parade in downtown Halifax

More than 100 people filled downtown streets to celebrate Halifax's inaugural modern-day Grand Emancipation Parade.

Music, poetry, drumming and speeches were part of event Saturday

The event started with a march from Lower Water Street to Grand Parade. It ended with a picnic at the Halifax Common. (Aly Thomson/CBC)

Music, speeches and poetry filled downtown Halifax Saturday afternoon as part of the city's inaugural modern-day Grand Emancipation Parade. 

People from Black organizations from across Nova Scotia took part in the event, some waving flags from their home countries. 

After gathering in the downtown, people moved to the Halifax Common for a picnic next to the Emera Oval.

Funmi Joseph is one of the founding members of the United African Canadian Women’s Association. (Aly Thomson/CBC)

Emancipation Day commemorates enactment of the Abolition Act which came into effect Aug. 1, 1834. It freed more than 800,000 people of African descent in Canada and throughout the British Empire.

It was officially celebrated for the first time in Canada on Aug. 1 of this year. But groups have been encouraged to hold commemorative events throughout the month. 

Funmi Joseph is one of the co-founders of the United African Canadian Women's Association that organized the event with the help of African Nova Scotian Affairs. 

"The theme is understanding our past and uplifting our future," she said. "So, it's recognition of what's happened and then to celebrate and honour the memories of those [in the past], and here, too."

Participants in the parade make their way to the Halifax Common. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

Joseph plans for this parade to become an annual event. 

"We are here and we are not going anywhere," said Joseph.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.


With files from Aly Thomson