Allen Alexandre MACC Executive Director

Canada’s largest Afro-Canadian cultural centre planned for Montreal

Minister Steven Guilbeault

Thursday 16 May 2024

Montreal, Quebec, May 16, 2024 — Members of Montreal’s Black communities will have access to a modern and dynamic new venue to showcase their artistic and cultural expression, thanks to an investment of nearly $16 million from the federal government.

Announced by Minister Steven Guilbeault, Parliamentary Secretary Sameer Zuberi, on behalf of Minister Kamal Khera, MP Emmanuel Dubourg, Borough Mayor for Plateau-Mont-Royal Luc Rabouin and the Montreal Afro-Canadian Cultural Centre (MACC) Executive Director Allen Alexandre, this project will benefit Montrealers by helping to enrich the city’s cultural diversity through the MACC presence here starting in 2026.

This investment will enable the MACC to pursue its mission of becoming a focal point and gathering place for the city’s Black communities, as well as a space for intercultural exchange for the general public in Montreal, Quebec and Canada. Indeed, the partnership model developed by the MACC represents an innovative initiative within Canada’s Black communities, fostering the sustainability of these communities’ cultural and artistic institutions, the strengthening of ties between various economic and social players within these communities, and the long-term growth of the local social economy.

In addition to providing residents with a new venue for the promotion of art and culture, today’s funding will bring a historic Montreal building back to life. The project includes renovation and expansion work that will convert the former École des beaux-arts de Montréal into a cultural facility for the benefit of the city’s Black communities.

A thriving economy needs strategic investments in green infrastructure to build a sustainable future for Canadians, with access to good jobs, while limiting impacts on the local environment.

The Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program aims to improve the places Canadians work, learn, play, live and come together by cutting pollution, reducing costs, and supporting thousands of good jobs.

Through green and other upgrades to existing public community buildings and new builds in underserved communities, the GICB program helps ensure community facilities are inclusive, accessible, and have a long service life, while also helping Canada move towards its net-zero objectives by 2050.

The Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI) is a federal grants and contributions initiative. SBCCI provides funding to help Black-led organizations build foundational infrastructure within Black communities.


“By investing in the Montreal Afro-Canadian Cultural Centre project, we are preserving our heritage and promoting inclusion and diversity while respecting the highest environmental standards. This initiative reflects our commitment to the future of our communities by offering an environmentally friendly space where the artistic and cultural expression of Black communities can flourish with pride.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“In a short time, the Montreal Afro-Canadian Cultural Centre has become a vital component of the life of its city, and of the growing network of Black-led organizations that are revitalizing the cultural fabric of our country. Preserving and celebrating the cultural and artistic heritage of Black communities is a key element of our support to the United Nations Decade for People of African Descent, and I am proud to help support the Centre and its essential work.”

The Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities


Canada’s largest Afro-Canadian cultural centre to see light of day in Montreal

Source: Global News

By Phil Carpenter  Global News

Thursday 16 May 2024

Click to play video: 'Canada’s largest Afro-Canadian cultural centre to see light of day in Montreal'
Watch: The first centre dedicated to showcasing Black culture and history from across the country will be built in Montreal. Politicians proudly announced the new multi-million dollar project on Thursday. As Global’s Phil Carpenter reports, the aim is build a much-needed hub for Afro-Canadian arts and history.

There was laughter and tears at a Montreal press conference Thursday, following news that a new cultural centre for Black communities across Canada is to be opened in the city.

“It is such a great and historical announcement,” observes Montreal city councillor, Ericka Alneus. “There will be a space where, through arts and culture, we will be able to tell the stories of Afro-Canadians.”

Officials say this will be the biggest centre dedicated to Afro-Canadian history and culture in the country. Some like Patricia Fourcand, president of the board governing the project, see it as Canada’s version of the National Museum of African American History & Culture in the United States.

“I’ve seen families travel days to be able to visit and feel empowered by this space,” Fourcand explains, referring to the U.S. museum. “I really hope well be able to do the same thing here in Canada.”

It is to be called Montreal’s Afro-Canadian Cultural Centre (MACC) and will be housed in the former School of Fine Arts building on Saint-Urbain Street near Sherbrooke Street. The complex will include spaces for performing and visual arts as well as a museum and a library.

Renovation and expansion work are needed, but when completed it will occupy 45,000 square feet and cost $32 million, nearly $16 million of which was granted by the Canadian government.

“The federal government is here to support this initiative that was launched by members of the board and members of the community, who decided to get together three years ago for this initiative,” says Canada’s environment and climate change minister Steven Guilbeault, in whose riding the centre will be located.

Allen Alexandre, MACC founding executive director who spearheaded the project, says he had a dream about having a centre like this in the country, and figured Montreal would be the ideal place for such a venture.

“In a city that has the highest concentration of Black Canadians in the country, since 2021, it was an aberration to not actually have the space that was telling the story of that community,” he told Global News.

He believes it’s time for Black Canadians to tell their own story, and that now there is an opportunity for an initiative of this kind given the current mindset in the broader community.

“I think, in a certain way, this is also in the memory of George Floyd, that collective awakening about our communities and the need to make sure that our communities’ stories are being represented and told in a just way,” he observes.

Alexandre adds that the plan is to liaise with other Black community organizations across the country for programming. The centre is scheduled to be opened in 2026.