Wednesday, 10 February 2010
A Black History Month exhibition about the people by the people missed by the people's mainstream media
It wasn't for a lack of trying on the part of Tourism Toronto, the Ontario Science Centre and me (Stephen Weir) that there was a dearth of mainstream media at a special launch of a Black History Month exhibition on Tuesday morning.
Wire Releases. Press Releases. Faxes. Tweets. Facebook postings. Personal Phone calls.The word went out but only the Caribbean Canadian media (Caribbean Camera, Pride, Share, Indo-Caribbean World and CHYRfm), a Chinese Daily newspaper and a Russian / Canadian web TV service came out to take part in the media preview of opening of the special exhibition, "Northern Lights: African- Canadian Stories" curated by Toronto historian Dr. Sheldon Taylor.
What was going on? Tourism Toronto and the Ontario Science Centre are presenting this month a salute to Toronto's rich Black heritage via an exhibition at the Ontario Science Centre. Over 55 artifacts and photos will be on display tracing the region's earliest African-Canadian families back 10 generations.
David Whitaker, President and CEO and Tourism Toronto opened the preview. Speaking to a small group of family members of the Crowley, Newby and Downes families (early African-Canadian Toronto families) and a handful of reporters, Whitaker talked about how Toronto has become a destination for Black travel - various black based US professional conferences will be held in Toronto over the next three years.
This particular exhibition, modest in scope, will not attract tourists to Toronto (it couldn't attract ANY interest from the Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, CBC, CTVm CFRB, News 680. Well it is a really long list of people who didn't consider the show opening newsworthy). What it does do is show that Tourism Toronto is willing to support Toronto's black community with funding and marketing/PR support.
The exhibition is located in the Proctor & Gamble Great Hall within the Ontario Science Centre. Visitors flocking to see the popular Body Worlds 3 touring exhibition will pass right past the "Northern Lights: African- Canadian Stories" - so the show will get more eyes now that the show is open than the mainstream media got during the Tuesday launch.
CUTLINE: Two cameras capture the opening of a new Black History Month exhibition. From left to right: Arthur Downes (standing in front of a picture of himself taken when he was a young man), Science Centre head Lesley Lewis, Curator Dr. Sheldon Taylor, David Whitaker (CEO Tourism Toronto), David Oglivie (chair of Tourism Toronto board)
Award winning reporter Ron Fanfair covered the opening of the "Northern Lights: African- Canadian Stories"exhibtion.