TTC Celebrates 11 Torontonians for Black History Month

It’s Black History Month and we’re proudly paying homage to 11 remarkable Torontonians. Our theme, “Building on Legacies: Celebrating Black Excellence in Toronto,” signifies our commitment to honouring those who have left an inedible mark on our city.

In collaboration with AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives, we’re thrilled to showcase the achievements of 11 astounding Black Torontonians. Among them are two former TTC employees who played a pivotal role in shaping the vibrant tapestry of Toronto.

Join us in recognizing and celebrating the legacies and contributions of these extraordinary individuals.

Dr. Beverly Salmon 

Civil rights activist who became the first Black female city councillor in Toronto and Ontario Human Rights Commissioner. She also co-founded the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and served as Vice Chair of the TTC Board. 

Art by: Indiigo Cocoa (Shashann M.T.) (@IndiigoArt
Designed and curated by: AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives

Visit the mural at St Andrew Station to learn more.


Dr. Itah Sadu 

Award-winning author, educator, community developer, owner of independent bookstore A Different Booklist, and the managing director of the Blackhurst Cultural Centre.

Art by: Indiigo Cocoa (Shashann M.T.) (@IndiigoArt)  
Designed and curated by: AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives

Visit the mural at Bathurst Station to learn more.

Charles Roach 

Co-founder of the Black Action Defence Committee (BADC) and Caribana, the festival currently known as Toronto Caribbean Carnival. The BADC’s efforts led to the creation of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

Art by: Samantha Dennis @SamanthaDenniis
Designed and curated by: AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives

Visit the mural at St Clair Station to learn more.

Walter Alexander Foster 

One of the first Black conductors at the Toronto Railway Company (a company which later became the TTC) and dedicated community volunteer.

Art by: Samantha Dennis @SamanthaDenniis
Designed and curated by: AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives

Visit Blackhurst Cultural Centre, 777 Bathurst St. to learn more.

Hon. George Carter, CM 

As one of Canada’s first Black lawyers and the first Black judge born in Canada, he was instrumental in establishing legal aid services in Ontario.

Art by: Gordon Rowe @RoweArt
Designed and curated by: AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives

Visit the mural at Osgoode Station to learn more.

Angela James, OC 

The first and only Black captain of Canada’s national women’s hockey team. She won four IIHF World Women’s Championship gold medals. In 2010, she was one of the first two women inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Art by: Gordon Rowe @RoweArt
Designed and curated by: AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives

Visit the mural at Pape Station to learn more.

Dr. Zanana Akande, MPP 

The first Black woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, former Minister of Community and Social Services, and the first Canadian-born Black woman awarded the Key to the City of Toronto.

Art by: Jovita Odegua Akahome @Jovita_Art
Designed and curated by: AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives

Visit the mural at Queens Park Station to learn more.

Dr. Dionne Brand, CM, FRSC 

Multi-award-winning author, academic leader in English and Poetry at colleges and universities across Canada, and the first Black Poet Laureate of Toronto.

Art by: Andrew Patterson @VisibleNoise
Designed and curated by: AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives

Visit the mural at Finch Station to learn more.

Dr. Roberta Timothy 

The first Black Health Lead at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, she developed North America’s first master’s program in Black health.

Art by: Camille Lauren Gordon @SuperArtGirl
Designed and curated by: AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives

Visit the mural at St George Station to learn more.

Professor Carl James 

Leader in educational development and strong advocate for Black and immigrant students. His research informs policy and practice across Canada.

Art by: Mya Salau @Myas.Art
Designed and curated by: AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives

Visit the mural at York University Station to learn more.

Irma James 

The first Black female TTC streetcar operator. She is a matriarch figure beloved by many Black activists in Toronto for decades.

Art by: Meighan Morson @Emelle_Arts
Designed and curated by: AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives

Visit Caribbean African Canadian (CAFCAN) Social Services, 995 Arrow Rd. to learn more.

About Astrosankofa Arts Initiatives

Astrosankofa Arts Initiatives explores the connection to the past, present, and future through the West African concept of sankofa. The practice of this is called “Sankofanology”. Sankofanology is at the heart of the work of the organization as it relates to Afrofuturism, which centres stories and practices towards the healing, growth, evolution and exponential potential of people of African descent. The organization is instrumental in highlighting creatives and providing opportunities for Black artists to share their pieces within various community settings.

Visit the Harriet Tubman Community Organization, 1761 Sheppard Ave. E. to learn more.

Ride and Find Guide

Download our Ride & Find Guide to discover the artists, artwork and landmarks celebrating Black legacies in Ontario. 

Artist Profiles

Indiigo Cocoa (Shashann M.T.) @IndiigoArt 

Portrait of Indiigo Cocoa

Shashann M.T., who is artistically known as Indiigo Cocoa, is a multi-disciplinary visual artist from Toronto, Canada. Her work is inspired by the richness of Black culture, self-love, music, self-care, Afrofuturism, social issues, and her environment.

Through her work, Shashann aims to evoke positive emotions and reflection. Her use of vibrant pigments creates a captivating atmosphere that reflects a relatable reality.


Samantha Dennis @SamanthaDenniis 

Portrait of Samantha Dennis

Samantha Dennis is a Toronto-based visual artist of Jamaican descent. Marrying abstraction and realism techniques, she creates vivid portraits showcasing Black bodies.

Not seeing enough representation in art, Samantha explores an interesting but amazing space of being a Black woman whilst viewing and painting other Black bodies and their experiences. Samantha received her BFA in Drawing and Painting from OCADU (Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto) in 2014.


Gordon Rowe @RoweArt 

Portrait of Gordon Rowe

Gordon Rowe is a Toronto-born freelance illustrator and designer. He has been drawing since he’s been able to pick up a pen.

Inspired by the cartoons and movies of his childhood, he spent his early years making comics and drawings for friends. Since then, he has broadened his artistic range to digital painting, acrylic painting, gouache painting, portraiture, and life drawing. These days, he has made illustration and art direction for album artwork and editorials his main focus and has worked with several high profile clients in the music industry. Some of his passions include hip hop culture, jazz, and film.


Jovita Odegua Akahome @Jovita_Art 

Portrait of Jovita Akahome

Jovita Odegua Akahome is a Canada-based visual artist. Her work focuses on exploring the relationship between culture and identity.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in visual arts and minor in history, from the University of Ottawa. Jovita’s Nigerian background is an important inspiration for the recurring theme of identity marks in most of her work.


Andrew Patterson @VisibleNoise 

Portrait of Andrew Patterson

Andrew Patterson is an artist and designer based in Toronto.

His work is largely focused on the topic of identity and challenges the traditional ways we define it under two stylistic approaches: portraiture and geometric abstraction.


Camille Lauren Gordon @SuperArtGirl 

Portrait of Camille Lauren Gordon

Camille Lauren is an illustrator, designer, and live painter at her company Art of Ciel.

She holds a Bachelors in Design from OCAD University, and she is currently a grad student in Humber College’s UX Design program. Camille has captivated audience members with her live painting and portrait sketching at private weddings across Ontario and overseas and at public events in the GTA. Blending insights from her subject’s story with imaginative symbolism, her illustrative approach brings personality to life visually in a fresh way.


Mya Salau @Myas.Art 

Portrait of Mya Salau

Mya Salau is a Toronto-based, self-taught visual artist. With a versatile approach, Mya explores various painting styles such as Modern Cartoon, Pop Art, Portraiture, Landscape, Realism painting, and Digital Art.

Embracing a palette of vibrant colors, Mya has been experimenting with methodologies, inspirational storytelling, and color theory to evoke diverse moods in her work.


Meighan Morson @Emelle_Arts 

Portrait of Meighan Morson

Meighan Morson is a digital Afrofuturistic painter who primarily works with the human figure.

Employing high contrast and light and form, she creates strong, otherworldly, and ethereal beings. She also writes poetry and short fiction.


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