February is Black History Month in Canada

Black History Month provides us with the opportunity to celebrate and learn about the many achievements, investments, and contributions of Vancouver’s Black and African diasporic communities, even while these communities have endured historical and continuing inequality, oppression, and erasure. Click here to learn more about Black History Month in Vancouver. 

Across the country, Black entrepreneurs are making their presence felt. They’re driving innovations, delivering essential services in our communities, & much more. Show your support by shopping at local black-owned businesses in our communities.

We are fortunate enough to have two amazing Black-owned businesses in the West End:



1725 Davie Street

Named after Chef Sam Olayinka’s Nigerian grandmother, Arike (ah-ree-kay), is a hidden West End gem that takes local Pacific Northwest products and combines them with the herbs, spices and flavour combinations found in Nigeria. Creating a truly to unique culinary experience, Arike’s singular tasting menu, landed itself a recommendation in the Vancouver Michelin Guide. 

Loft Lounge 

1184 Denman Street

The Loft Lounge on Denman Street is the West End’s tropical oasis. The menu is full of Caribbean-inspired dishes like jerk chicken sandwiches, curry lamb, and Jamaican patties. Owner Richie Hussett missed his home cooking from the Caribbean – those wild & smooth hard to find flavours. So, one day he decided to open a Caribbean restaurant and show everyone in Vancouver what they’ve been missing – his amazing heritage & powerful Caribbean taste. 

These two West End restaurants are a must-try!


Precious Fruit by Pearl Low

1138 Davie Street

Pearl Low (they/them) is an Academy Award-winning, Queer Afro-Asian artist based in Vancouver. Pearl works in comics and animation and won an Oscar in 2020 for their work on the short film Hair Love.

Statement: “Black joy is so important to see because not only is it revolutionary, it is extraordinary, and beautiful. I wanted to paint a Black woman exuding joy, in all her glory, in front of a deconstructed sun, surrounded by oranges on branches. Oranges have many meanings, but the ones that resonate with me are Joy, Happiness and Prosperity. Through my lens, I hope to showcase a form of Black joy that is beautiful to me, and how even in a world that doesn’t support us, we still bloom and grow, like precious fruit.

View more of Pearl’s art by clicking here

Thank you, Miss Rosemary by Sade Alexis

830 Denman Street 

Sade Alexis is a Black Woman artist and writer, living, working and loving on the stolen lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ nations. She was born and raised on these lands, and understands them as the only home she has ever known, and in knowing this she sees it as her duty to fight alongside Indigenous land defenders who actively protect and love these lands. Sade’s work focuses on the ways in which Blackness can be understood and celebrated through art, in all of its complexities and intricacies. She uses her practice as a means of bringing Black experience into the historically colonial art world. Sade also uses her practice to understand what it means to be stolen people on stolen land, her work questions homelands and our ties to them, or lack thereof. She makes her art for working class Black folks, who often are excluded from and barred from art spaces. She is a recent BFA graduate from ECUAD, and is currently working as a freelance illustrator, and as an art instructor for neurodiverse kids.

Statement: “Thank you, Miss Rosemary” is created to honour and remember the work of Rosemary Brown. Miss Rosemary worked to uplift and celebrate the lives and experiences of Black women in this city. As one of the first politicians in this city to discuss the complexity of being both a Black person and a woman, she was one of the first to discuss intersectionality within the context of Vancouver.

This mural calls to attention the most important work that Miss Rosemary did, cultivating community and joy for Black women and femmes. This piece is about joy by using bright colours and playful patterns to depict carefreeness shared between Black women and femmes, it is about the community that joy can bring about. It is about the beauty of Black laughter, and the boisterousness of Black Womanhood. The floral elements call to the shared experience of being from the islands, as Alexis’ paternal family is from Trinidad, and Miss Rosemary’s homeland is Jamaica. Alexis utilizes hibiscus flowers to signify shared Caribbean culture and the shared experience of Caribbean diaspora within Vancouver.”


Joe Fortes

In 1885, Joseph Seraphim (Joe) Fortes, landed upon Vancouver’s shores and settled into a cabin in English Bay. There, Joe quickly became one of Vancouver’s most popular citizens, serving Vancouverites in a variety of ways first as a shoe shine, then as a bartender and later as Vancouver’s first official lifeguard. In 1897 the city began to pay him as a lifeguard, and he saved numerous lives. Click here to learn more about Joe Fortes.

Photographer unknown, 1910. VPL 83598.

Rosemary Brown

Politician, feminist, writer, educator, lecturer and mother, Rosemary Brown has contributed much to B.C. and Canada including being the 1st black woman elected to a Canadian Provincial Legislature (B.C) and running for the leadership of the Federal NDP Party in 1975.

In 1956, Ms. Brown helped in the founding of the British Columbia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (BCAACP). The BCAACP worked to open up housing and employment to Black people in British Columbia, and for the introduction of human rights legislation in the provincial parliament.

You can read more about this iconic historical figure here.