With support from the Desmond Family, the Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) has launched the Viola Desmond BIPOC Business Directory

This directory is intended for businesses that are BIPOC owned and operated in Wellington County and Waterloo Region. This is for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour to have a free platform to promote their businesses. We believe that facilitating a more equitable strategy in our community both during and after a pandemic is needed.

At the Guelph Black Heritage Society,  we recognized the huge gaps in representation of BIPOC owned and operated businesses within our community. We wanted to provide our people with a platform to amplify their business, who they are and where to reach them. 

This is part of our larger #ChangeStartsNow Initiative which aims to provide educational programming on Black history and culture as well as relevant resources on diversity, discrimination and anti-racism.

It is important to spotlight and promote our vibrant, creative and robust local BIPOC businesses. It is our goal as a GBHS community to build and strengthen the BIPOC platform.

“Do your little bit of good where you are,” Viola Desmond once said.
“It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

This is in honour of the late Viola Desmond who was a Canadian civil rights activist and businesswoman of Black Nova Scotian descent. In 1946, she challenged racial segregation at a cinema in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia by refusing to leave a whites-only area of the Roseland Theatre.

As an entrepreneur, Viola created the Desmond School of Beauty Culture, and expanded her business across the province including a line of products. Committed to her community, Desmond created the school in order to provide training that would support the growth of employment for young Black women.  The Viola Desmond Chair in Social Justice was established at Cape Breton University in 2010. In 2012, Canada Post issued a postage stamp bearing her image. Most notably, Desmond’s honours continued in 2018, when she was selected to appear on Canada’s $10 banknote. 

To learn more about Viola Desmond visit: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/viola-desmond