BLM Canada's co-founder says it'll be a place for "radical imaginative events and initiatives."
Black Lives Matter Canada is getting a brand new hub in downtown Toronto, a 10,000 square-foot space dedicated to Black art, activism and community events.
The Wildseed Centre for Art and Activism, named in honour of Wild Seed by Octavia E. Bulter, will open early next year at 24 Cecil St. near College Street and Spadina Avenue, BLM Canada's co-founder Sandy Hudson told Narcity in an interview.
"There's a lot of interesting Black history that's connected to this neighbourhood and activism history that's connected to this neighbourhood," said Hudson. "It is around where a lot of the first Black churches started by formerly enslaved people were started in Toronto, including the first Baptist church in Toronto and the Grant [African Methodist Episcopal] Church."
"It's just in this hub of this legacy of Black activism, and we are so thrilled to be able to join that legacy and to continue that legacy," said Hudson.
What kinds of events will take place at the new centre?
The hub will serve as a multipurpose space for a variety of events, including meetings, community cookouts and gatherings for kids, said Hudson.
"We're hoping to make sure that there is a functional dance floor in there, that we can put in a sound booth for community members who maybe want to try starting up a podcast or a radio show or do some recording," she added.
Hudson said that the community kitchen will serve as a place where people can come together and learn from one another, and hopes to open up a large garden space on the property so people can grow their own food. She said that their interior designers and architects will create the space based on feedback from community members after hearing their ideas on the features they'd like to see.
Why is it important to have a space like this in Toronto?
"We want to make it easier for Black activists and Black artists in this city to be able to find accessible space that they can use that we can all use for our radical imaginative events and initiatives," said Hudson.
Having a dedicated community space has always been a goal for BLM Canada, where members can get together for creative arts and event planning. "We found ourselves running from different places all over the city to people's living rooms to student organizations to try to make things happen," said Hudson.
"There's so many community members who have been asking us for this for some time. We're just so grateful to be able to do this and to really support what [they] have been asking for. We're over the moon, super thrilled."