A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
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BREAKING THE ICE: The Mary Ann Shadd Story
Related Parks Canada Sites

  1. Buxton Settlement National Historic Site

    The Buxton settlement initially called the Elgin settlement, which through its retention of land-use pattern and built resources speaks to the successful realization of the block refugee settlement tin Canada. The settlement continues today, not only as a vibrant community descended from the Underground Railroad refugees, but also as a living memorial to its founders and the courage of the Underground Railroad refugees who took their life in their hands and chose Canada as their home.

    It was founded in 1849 by Irish Presbyterian minister, Reverend William King who had acquired enslaved African Americans from his former wife's family plantation in Louisiana and wrestled with the morality of slave ownership. In the end, King decided not only to free his slaves but to try to ensure that they might retain their freedom. He eventually brought 15 former slaves to Canada, having purchased a 9,000 acre tract of land capable of supporting many more than the original group.

    The community prospered throughout the 19th century and many resources from its earliest period still survive including a museum with artifacts relating to King and the Elgin settlers. That so much has survived is testament to the care taken by descendants of the original settlers and their recognition of the importance of the Elgin Settlement as the most completely realized of the several attempts at planned, utopian communities of Underground Railroad refugees.

      Address and Contact Person:
      Ms. Rosemary Sadelier, President
      Ontario Black History Society,
      Ontario Heritage Society,
      202-10 Adelaide Street East,
      Toronto, Ontario
      M5C 1J3


  2. The Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church National Historic Site

    This evocative stone chapel erected in 1848 is descended from a very early black Methodist congregation established in 1826. The church is the building type perhaps most representative of the Underground Railroad community and values, and stands out as a religious icon throughout the Black community in Ontario.

    The Nazrey AME Church is distinctive architecturally, as an early and excellent example of the many small refugee churches found throughout Ontario, and historically, through its important association with the renowned Bishop Willis Nazrey, the first leader of the British Methodist Episcopal (BME) Church, a denomination expressive of their allegiance to their new homeland.

    The Nazrey Church is typical of small Methodist chapels, designed as "speaking boxes" or open auditory halls with minimal decoration. With its three-bay side elevations, central entry door, pointed windows and front gable roof, it follows a pattern found throughout North America. The stone of which it is constructed was a more expensive material and represents the commitment to the future and a willingness on the part of the congregation to sacrifice in the immediate future in order to build the most durable and beautiful structure possible.

      Address and Contact: See the Buxton Settlement


  3. George Brown House National Historic Site

    George Brown's substantial Toronto home commemorates the achievements of this Father of Confederation. George Brown built this home in 1876 and he live here until his murder in 1880. The Scottish born Brown settled in Toronto in 1843 and soon founded the Globe newspaper. Elected to Parliament in 1851, the liberal reformer rose to head the "Clear Grit" Liberal Party.

    He was instrumental in shaping a coalition government which achieved Confederation for Canada in 1867.

    Brown and his family were active abolitionists and assisted the settlement of the Underground Railroad refugees in Canada.

      Address: George Brown House
      186 Beverley Street
      Toronto, Ontario
      M5T 1Y8


  4. St. Lawrence Hall National Historic Site

    Designed by William Thomas in the Renaissance tradition, this Hall was built by the city of Toronto in 1850. For many years it was Toronto's chief social and cultural centre. With its handsome Corinthian facade and graceful cupola, it ranks amongst the finest of 19th century Canadian Public Buildings.

    Its assembly room was used for lectures, concerts, balls and receptions. Here such noted Canadians as Sir John A. MacDonald, George Brown and Thomas D'Arcy McGee addressed Toronto audiences.
    In the 1850s it was one of the main sites for anti-slavery meetings. After a long period of disuse and neglect, it was restored in 1967 as a centennial project.

      Address: St. Lawrence Hall
      157 King Street East,
      Toronto, Ontario
      M5C 1G9


  5. Osgoode Hall National Historic Site

    Osgoode Hall is one among Canada's architectural and historical treasures. Named for the first Chief Justice of Upper Canada, it originally consisted of the present east wing built by 1832 for the province's Law Society. Construction of the neoclassical Italianate building began as its headquarters. The front was extended in the 1840s and again in the 1850s to house the province's superior courts. New wings were added between 1832 and 1846. Its interiors, wonderfully restored, are among the finest spaces in the century. The superior courts and the Law Society continue to share Osgoode Hall.

      Address: Osgoode Hall
      130 Queen Street West,
      Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N5


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