Black Businesses Are Making Waves

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This spring we’ve been celebrating a number of milestones for the Black community in Toronto, and the good vibes have spread far and wide.
Black In Canada along with six other business leaders, and another two dozen City of Toronto Committee members, it is our pleasure to launch the first ever survey of Black-led businesses in Toronto.
Please understand, that this is so much more than a simple survey. This is the first time that our Black business organizations, and the City of Toronto have partnered to take a deeper, more in-depth look at how to better serve Black-led businesses through municipal services.
The moment for action and collaboration is ripe. This month alone, Black government leaders met for the first time in Canadian history to share ideas and discuss challenges faced by their communities across the country. Thank you to Michael Coteau, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, as well as Tony Ince, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, for their leadership.
You will also recall that award-winning journalist and activist, Desmond Cole, made waves across the city’s institutions with his viral Toronto Life feature on being Black in Canada. He was signed this month by Doubleday Canada, who has acquired world rights to Desmond Cole’s forthcoming book in 2017, THE SKIN I’M IN, which will explore race in Canada. He was also cited by John Tory for being a major influence in ending Police carding in the city.
And finally, it is also worth noting that the economic impact of Black-led business is substantial. This year marks the 47th annual Caribana Toronto Festival, a festival that has grown exponentially since its start in 1967 and is currently North America’s largest cultural festival. What was once a three-day event has now grown into three weeks of celebration, absorbing most of the city with its uplifting vibes and over one million tourists annually.
This festival alone is also responsible for over $400 million dollars of city revenue each year, and we have only been able to imagine the contribution that the rest of our business community has on our great city.
Until this survey …

About Our Survey

Our Black Business Survey can be taken online at
It was designed to take each respondent roughly 10 minutes to complete, and it is comprised of:

  • 20 multiple choice &
  • 5 open ended questions where we are excited to hear about these business owner’s experiences, in their own words.

Again all this information and the survey can be found at and the survey closes on June 26th with the final City of Toronto report to be released this fall.

Who’s Involved

Let me introduce you to the dynamic team behind this landmark initiative.

  • Pauline Christian, President of the Black Business & Professionals Association (the BBPA)
  • Roger Dundas, the President of
  • Barrington Coke, the President of the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA)
  • Jenny Gumbs, the President of Tropicana Community Services
  • and myself, Ricardo McRae, the Founder of Black In Canada

Our team is also grateful to City Councillor Michael Thompson, Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly for establishing this Committee, and to Chris Rickett, Nina Gesa and Janet Tsang from the City of Toronto for their unwavering commitment to working together on this research. They will help our municipal government understand how to better support and engage Black businesses in Toronto. We also thank them for their support in reporting our findings.

Knowledge Alone Won’t Take Us Where We Want To Go
–  Action is required.
Today we are asking all Black-led businesses to participate in this landmark survey.  We know you are out there doing great work every day.  And we want to make sure your contribution is counted so we can help  the City of Toronto support your business.

If you are a Black business owner yourself, or if you know of one, please join us in sharing this survey link and collecting as much information as we can in the few days we have left. (Survey closes on Friday June 26, 5:00pm)
Visit: for more information and to take the survey, or follow #TBBS on Twitter.

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