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BMO Donation to Expand Toronto's Blackhurst Cultural Centre Supporting Racial Equity and Inclusion
  • BMO's $750,000 contribution will help fund the expansion of Blackhurst's facilities and community programming.

TORONTO, Aug. 1, 2023 /CNW/ - BMO today announced a $750,000 donation to the Blackhurst Cultural Centre, in conjunction with the Centre's annual Emancipation Day walk in Toronto. As the lead partner of Blackhurst's capital campaign, BMO's donation will support construction of a new Cultural Centre celebrating and preserving Black history in Toronto's Mirvish Village. The donation also supports an operating and endowment fund to help the Centre deliver outreach programs such as youth arts programs and a business e-course in partnership with the Schulich School of Business.

"This new Centre will help support financial progress, racial equity, and inclusion for Black customers, colleagues, and the community," said Stanley Julien, Head, Special Accounts Management Unit, BMO. "Our Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, inspires our Zero Barriers to Inclusion strategy that's breaking down systemic barriers and enabling access to opportunities for all. We are excited for the benefits this Centre, and its programs, will bring for our community."

"The Blackhurst Cultural Centre is proud to have BMO as a partner in this new anthropological model of development, said Itah Sadu, Managing Director, Blackhurst Cultural Centre. "Blackhurst welcomes the community, government, and the corporate sector to lay a foundation for a permanent and sustainable cultural infrastructure in the historic Bloor and Bathurst neighbourhood. The ancestors who came through the Underground Railroad and settled in this neighbourhood must be cheering this new Canadian chapter."

For over 25 years, Blackhurst has operated as a Black-owned bookstore, A Different Booklist. In 2025, the Centre will move into one of the 24 conserved heritage buildings in the revitalized Mirvish Village, expanding to four floors to house the bookstore, Cultural Centre programming, and a drumming studio. Blackhurst has dedicated space to showcase revolving community-based vendors, artisans, and leading voices, all curated to engage with the community for learning, sharing, and celebrating the proud stories of African and Caribbean Canadians. 

This announcement builds on BMO's commitment to an inclusive society with zero barriers. The bank's support for Black Canadians and Americans includes:

  • Launch of BMO EMpower 2.0, pledged over $40 billion supporting organizations in communities across the United States focusing on advancing homeownership, growing small businesses, strengthening communities, and creating a more equitable society.
  • BMO committed $100 million to launch the Business Within Reach: BMO for Black Entrepreneurs lending program.
  • Zero Barriers to Inclusion 2025 commitment to increase BIPOC employee representation at all levels in Canada and the U.S., including increasing representation of People of Colour in senior leadership roles to 30 per cent or greater in Canada and U.S., respectively.
  • Creation of the Black and Latino Advisory Council (BLAC), focused on employee experience, advancement, and engagement of Black and Latino talent through dedicated taskforces and partnerships with BMO's Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).
  • Launch of BMORE, a workforce development program, with Chicago non-profit Cara to recruit individuals from underserved and diverse communities into financial services careers.
  • Establishment of BMO's Black & Bold series, a series of interviews that highlight trendsetting Black women entrepreneurs.

About BMO Financial Group
BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.25 trillion as of April 30, 2023. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to over 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future and inclusive society.

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: Media Contact: Hannah Webster, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996