Black Excellence Canada opened its doors at the beginning of February in the Burlington Centre as a pop-up store, but the shop has goals and plans far beyond that of just being a temporary vendor.
Showcasing a range of products from over 30 different Black-owned businesses, Black Excellence Canada aims to be an affordable space for Black entrepreneurs to showcase their products. However, they do more than just that and have been picking up recognition for promoting Black entrepreneurship. Burlington Mayor Marianna Meed Ward recently visited the location, and The House of Commons awarded it a plaque of recognition.
The month of February, which is federally designated as Black History Month, has been themed for 2022 as “February and Forever”, with the aim of recognizing contributions made by Black Canadians. Black Excellence Canada and its vendors value giving back to the community.
Stella Pascall is one of the vendors whose products are featured at the Black Excellence Canada store. Her business, StellaByDesign, creates a variety of different pillowcases, facemasks and bedding with Afrocentric fabrics and designs. After the passing of her mother from diabetes in February 2020, Pascall wanted to help those around her.
“I wanted to give back to people,” said Pascall. “So, I thought why not do it through sewing?”
As the COVID-19 pandemic began to hit Canada, Pascall focused on creating cloth masks. She catered especially to seniors, a sector of the population being hit especially hard by the virus. She also donated masks to Black Lives Matter during the summer marches of 2020.
Pascall is a part of the larger movement towards community betterment that Black Excellence Canada represents. Originally planning to only stay for February, Black Excellence Canada is now looking to the future.
Pascall says that they aim to get a grant so they can continue their work, but their plans extend past the pandemic. Black Excellence Canada has plans to purchase a larger location to create a curation space for Black entrepreneurs.
Youth involvement is also reportedly going to play a large role in these plans. Pascall says the opinions of younger generations are important, not just for the business, but for the community as a whole.
“We have to pass the baton on to the next generation,” said Pascall. “They will continue the work for us and make things better.”