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TD launches series of events to help raise awareness of - and celebrate - Black History Month

TORONTO, Jan. 25 /CNW/ - More than two-thirds of Canadians - 68 per cent - are unaware that February is Black History Month, according to a recent poll conducted by TD Bank Financial Group to gauge Canadians' awareness of the annual occasion. The survey also indicates that one in five people in Canada plan to celebrate the event this year.

"Awareness of black history will build as more people celebrate Black History Month," says Scott Mullin, Vice President, Government and Community Relations for TD. "So we're helping people celebrate this year - we're collaborating with arts and cultural community organizations in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas on a series of events entitled 'Then and Now' that range from film and art exhibits to concerts and plays featuring some of Canada's most renowned artists. It's an outstanding showcase of Black Canadian talent."

Making up 2.5% of the Canadian population, the black community is the third largest visible minority group in the country and grew by 18 per cent between 2001 and 2006. The majority of black Canadians - 345,000 - live in the Greater Toronto Area.

The TD poll also indicated that while Canadians tend to be aware of more recent milestones in Canada's black history, their knowledge of earlier milestones is limited. For example, 73 per cent were aware that Michaëlle Jean became Canada's first black Governor General in 2005 and 66 per cent knew of Donovan Bailey's gold medal at the 1996 Olympics.

However, only four per cent knew that Anderson Abbot became the first black physician in Canada in 1892 and only six per cent had heard of prominent black inventor Elijah McCoy, who received his first patent in 1872 for a steam engine lubricator and played a key role in modernizing the industrial world.

Events being sponsored by TD include:

<< - February 9: Celebrating the Black Experience in Cinema - a conversation with Norman Jewison and African Canadian film auteur Clement Virgo. Features a special film screening. Isabel Bader Theatre, Toronto - February 6-7 and 13-14: Kuumba Festival - Toronto's longest-running and largest Black History Month festival. Harbourfront Centre, Toronto - February 12: Ultimate Jam Session - mash, mix and stir it up with renowned musicians playing, singing and talking about their sources of inspiration and aspiration. This is part of the year-long Vital Africa series, which celebrates the influence of African arts and culture on the word. Art Gallery of Hamilton - February 17 and 20: Voices of the Diaspora - the Nathaniel Dett Chorale invokes the rich traditions of the Gullah peoples of South Carolina cross-rhythms including spirituals and work songs. Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto - March 3: The Sistahs Concert - a musical showcase featuring seven of Canada's most celebrated black female vocalists. Koerner Hall, Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto >>

To Learn More

For a complete list of Black History Month events supported by TD, visit

To learn more about black history, visit the Black History Canada Portal (, formed through a partnership between the Historica Foundation of Canada and TD.

For information on other TD initiatives promoting diversity, visit the TD Diversity website at

About TD Bank Financial Group

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group. TD Bank Financial Group is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves more than 18 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Insurance; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD Bank Financial Group also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 6 million online customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$557 billion in assets on October 31, 2009. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

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