Emancipation Day – Ontario Black History mini-tour

There are many Black History sites around Ontario: I found only four participating in HistoricPlacesDay, however.

Some other Black History sites have received national designation, e.g. London’s Beth-Emmanuel Methodist Episcopal Church, Black immigrant Enerals Griffin’s modest 1827 home near Ancaster, the Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church near Barrie, and the African Methodist Episcopal Cemetery at Otterville in Elgin County.

Local municipalities have moved to commemorate and protect other parts of Ontario’s Black History, e.g. Guelph’s British Methodist Episcopal Church was designated a Guelph Heritage Structure in 2013.  Waterloo noted on the plaque for the log school house which it designated as a heritage landmark in 2012  that the schoolhouse was “later used as a residence for an ex-slave  [Levi Carroll] and his family…associated with the early presence of the Underground Railroad in the Region of Waterloo as well as the early Black settlers to this area.”

But many, many more deserve recognition, for example Collingwood’s Heritage Community Church, or the Black History Museum which started out in Collingwood but moved to rural Clarksburg after the town refused to install tourism signage which “didn’t fit the [municipality’s] image” according to museum director Carolynn Wilson.

And what of more recent Black immigration and settlement?  On August 1, 2020 Parks Canada designated the West Indian Domestic Scheme, 1955-1967 as having national historic significance.

What other stories need to be marked so they won’t be forgotten in our communities? the sites of “wellness checks” that ended fatally? the route of the biggest Black Lives Matter march in Canada? the physical location of a theatre company formed to bring the Black voice to Canada’s cultural forefront?

I hope you can add suggestions to this VisitList.

Kae Elgie president@acontario.ca

 

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St. Catharines, Ontario to Amherstburg, Ontario

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