BEST PLACE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH BLACK HIS­TORY

NOW Magazine - Best of Toronto - - City Scape -

IN­GLENOOK COM­MU­NITY SCHOOL 19 Sackville, 416-393-0560 Few lo­cal sites re­main that at­test to the rich his­tory of blacks in Toronto. Thank­fully, some are still stand­ing. St. Lawrence Hall was for a time the cen­tre of the anti-slav­ery move­ment in Canada. Os­goode Hall, where in 1861 the case of John An­der­son es­tab­lished a clear prece­dent against al­low­ing for­mer slaves to be ex­tra­dited to the U.S., holds a spe­cial place in black his­tory, as does the Broad­view home of Wil­liam Pey­ton Hub­bard, a baker who was elected al­der­man in 14 con­sec­u­tive elec­tions. Yet In­glenook Com­mu­nity School in Cork­town, where the home of for­mer Ken­tucky slaves Thorn­ton and Lu­cie Black­burn once stood, takes the honours. Ex­ca­vated as part of a Toronto school board black his­tory project in 1985, the site re­minds us that 19th­cen­tury black Toron­to­ni­ans were able to find work, open their own busi­nesses and be­come prom­i­nent mem­bers of the com­mu­nity. Thorn­ton Black­burn waited ta­bles in the Os­goode Hall dining room, started the first cab com­pany in Up­per Canada and was rec­og­nized with his wife in 1999 by the Canadian gov­ern­ment as “Per­sons of Na­tional His­toric Sig­nif­i­cance” for their con­tri­bu­tion to Toronto’s growth. The cou­ple are buried in the Ne­crop­o­lis Ceme­tery among some of Toronto’s most prom­i­nent his­tor­i­cal fig­ures.

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