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Explore Canada’s Connection to the Underground Railroad

Getting out and exploring your community and beyond not only gives you a deeper connection to your surroundings but it also gives you an opportunity to reflect and be mindful of the challenges and opportunities of those who came before you.  With it being Black History Month, I thought it would be a good idea to learn more about places across the country you can visit, to deepen your understanding of Canada’s connection to the end of slavery and to the Underground Railroad.

Now this isn’t all about sunshine and rainbows, let's not forget that for many years Canadian colonizers enslaved many First Nations and African people. To learn a bit more about this time in our history check out the Colonial Canada Had Slavery For More Than 200 Years. And Yes, It Still Matters Today blog.

Fast forward to approximately 1793 when the Act to End Slavery was put in place and stated that “any enslaved person who reached Upper Canada became free upon arrival”. This was just the beginning, with small groups of African American slaves traveling to Upper Canada without any support. By the 1830’s the term “Underground Railroad” began to become more common with the growth of the railway in both United States and Canada. Although the Underground Railroad sounds like it has a connection to the railway it actually was a complex system of people who supported tens of thousands of African American slaves to safety, across the country. There are several places that you can still visit today that have deep and rich historical connections to the Underground Railroad. Get out and explore!

Here are 6 places you can visit to give you a deeper connection and understanding of Canada’s role in the Underground Railroad:

  1. John Freeman Walls Historic Site - Lakeshore, ON
  2. Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site - Dresden, ON
  3. Sandwich First Baptist Church - Windsor, ON
  4. Buxton National Historic Site - Chatham, ON
  5. Birchtown Nation Historic Site - Birchtown, NS
  6. Amherstburg Freedom Museum - Amherstburg, ON