July 26, 2022

Join the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton and the Oakville Museum at Erchless Estate on August 1st, 2022, 1:00-4:00 pm, for the Emancipation Day celebration picnic.

Enjoy Chef Romaine Newell crafted meal if you have pre-registered in advance. The 200 available spots sold out within hours of opening!

Even if you did not get a meal reservation, come by to participate in various educational and cultural family-friendly programs, including crafts and face painting. Bring your picnic blanket and listen to live music by the lake featuring Jazz gospel singer John Campbell and CCAH Steelpan Band.

The day celebrates 188 years since the British Government established the Slavery Abolition Act and freed over 800,000 enslaved Africans on August 1st, 1834.

Oakville became the home to many new citizens as it was a small yet important terminal of the Underground Railroad.

The Underground Railroad was used to describe the hidden transportation of African-American slaves into Canada. In 1793, the Upper Canada legislature granted an act that any enslaved person was immediately declared free upon arrival. Due to this act, over 30,000 individuals came to Canada through the Underground Railroad. This continued up until the American Civil War came to an end in 1865.

Hundreds of escaped enslaved people came to this area, including the Maryland-born James Wesley Hill, also known as “Canada Jim.” After crossing into Oakville in a box, Hill settled on a strawberry farm. He then went on to provide work for multiple enslaved people, which led to a flourishing strawberry industry in Oakville.

When the Civil War ended, so did the need for the Underground Railroad. The 1860s and 1870s saw many formerly enslaved people continue to other towns in Canada, and some returned to the United States. Those that remained in Oakville would often celebrate the end of slavery and honour their journey to freedom on Emancipation Day in George’s Square every year.

The festivities will be held at the Oakville Museum on Navy Street. Join the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton down by the lake to celebrate. Bring your friends and family for a day of fun.