- 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
and Contact Person:
Ms. Rosemary Sadelier, President
Ontario Black History Society,
Ontario Heritage Society,
202-10 Adelaide Street East,
- 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
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.
and Contact: See the Buxton Settlement
- 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
Brown and his family were
active abolitionists and assisted the settlement of the Underground
Railroad refugees in Canada.
George Brown House
186 Beverley Street
- 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
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.
St. Lawrence Hall
157 King Street East,
- Osgoode Hall National
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.
130 Queen Street West,
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N5